N.W.T. has plan to protect threatened hairy braya plant

There is a new strategy to make sure a rare northern plant doesn't become extinct. The hairy braya is only found on the Cape Bathurst peninsula, a remote area northwest of Paulatuk, N.W.T.

The rare plant is only found on the remote Cape Bathurst peninsula of N.W.T.

The hairy braya grows in a remote area of the Northwest Territories that remained ice-free during the last ice age. (James G. Harris/N.W.T. Species at Risk)

There is a new strategy to make sure a rare northern plant doesn't become extinct.

The hairy braya is only found on the Cape Bathurst peninsula, a remote area northwest of Paulatuk, N.W.T. The 250 square kilometre range of the plant is on land owned privately by the Inuvaluit. 

The government of the Northwest Territories estimates there are 15-20,000 plants left. They say it is threatened by erosion and salt spray from coastal storms.

The closest communities to Cape Bathurst, where the hairy braya is found, are Paulatuk, Tuktoyatkuk, and Sachs Harbour, N.W.T. (Google)

"The most obvious threat to hairy braya is habitat loss due to rapid erosion of the coastline," the report states, adding that the peninsula is losing up to 10 metres of coastline per year.  

The recovery plan calls for seeds to be put away in a seed bank and for the plant population to be surveyed every 10 years. It doesn't rule out transplanting the hairy braya or modifying its habitat in the future. 

Scientists admit they need to understand more about the plant in order to make sure it survives. 

They say the hairy braya is of scientific interest because of its rarity and habitat. It grows in an area that remained ice-free during the last ice age.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.