Species Profile

Hairy Braya

Scientific Name: Braya pilosa
Taxonomy Group: Vascular Plants
Range: Northwest Territories
Last COSEWIC Assessment: May 2013
Last COSEWIC Designation: Endangered
SARA Status: No schedule, No Status

Individuals of this species may be protected under Schedule 1 under another name; for more information see Schedule 1, the A-Z Species List, or if applicable, the Related Species table below.


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Quick Links: | Description | Habitat | Biology | Threats | Protection | National Recovery Program | Documents

Image of Hairy Braya

Description

Hairy Braya (Braya pilosa) is a long-lived perennial mustard with one to many stems 4.0-12 cm long, erect to ascending to almost prostrate and moderately to densely hairy. It is distinguished from other Braya species by its large flowers and globose (nearly spherical) fruits with very long persistent styles. Hairy Braya is a narrow endemic of arctic Canada that likely played a crucial role in the evolution of other Braya species. (Updated 2017/07/28)

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Distribution and Population

Hairy Braya is only known to occur on Cape Bathurst in the Northwest Territories of Canada. There are 13 populations on the northern portion of Cape Bathurst and on the nearby Baillie Islands. Hairy Braya is restricted to an area that remained ice-free during the Pleistocene and it has apparently been unable to move into surrounding glaciated areas over the millennia since the ice receded. (Updated 2017/07/28)

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Habitat

Hairy Braya grows on bluffs and dry uplands on patches of bare, calcium-rich sandy or silty soils. It typically grows with Arctic Willow, Entire-leaved Mountain-avens, and various grass species including Richardson’s Fescue, Arctic Wheatgrass, Arctic Bluegrass, and Alkali Grass.These habitats appear to be quite limited on Cape Bathurst. Patches of suitable habitat are often separated by large areas of wet tundra, or by eroded cliffs or salinized soils. Coastal areas southwest of Cape Bathurst are rapidly eroding, and a decrease in arctic sea ice is likely hastening the erosion of Hairy Braya habitat along the coast. (Updated 2017/07/28)

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Biology

Hairy Braya was lost to science from 1850 to 2004. As a result, very little is known about the biology of the species. However, the large, fragrant flowers suggest that the plant is insect-pollinated, and seeds germinate readily. There is some genetic and morphological evidence that two related species, Smooth Braya and Greenland Braya may have arisen from Hairy Braya, and it is possible that hybridization between these species, both of which overlap in distribution with Hairy Braya, may be ongoing. (Updated 2017/07/28)

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Threats

The most obvious threat to Hairy Braya is a loss of habitat due to rapid erosion and saline wash of coastline habitat resulting from storm surges and permafrost melting. These events appear to be increasing in frequency and severity as a consequence of a substantial reduction in ice cover on the Beaufort Sea over the past few decades. These impacts of anthropogenic climate change are expected to continue into the foreseeable future, and therefore it is unlikely that coastal erosion rates will decrease. (Updated 2017/07/28)

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Protection

Federal Protection

Provincial and Territorial Protection

To know if this species is protected by provincial or territorial laws, consult the provinces' and territories' websites.

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Documents

PLEASE NOTE: Not all COSEWIC reports are currently available on the SARA Public Registry. Most of the reports not yet available are status reports for species assessed by COSEWIC prior to May 2002. Other COSEWIC reports not yet available may include those species assessed as Extinct, Data Deficient or Not at Risk. In the meantime, they are available on request from the COSEWIC Secretariat.

6 record(s) found.

COSEWIC Status Reports

  • COSEWIC Assessment and Status Report on the Hairy Braya Braya pilosa in Canada (2013)

    Hairy Braya (Braya pilosa) is a long-lived perennial mustard with one to many stems 4.0-12 cm long, erect to ascending to almost prostrate and moderately to densely hairy. It is distinguished from other Braya species by its large flowers and globose (nearly spherical) fruits with very long persistent styles. Hairy Braya is a narrow endemic of arctic Canada that likely played a crucial role in the evolution of other Braya species.

Response Statements

  • Response Statement - Hairy Braya (2013)

    This plant is restricted globally to a very small area in the Northwest Territories. It is endangered by the loss of habitat through very rapid coastal erosion and saline wash resulting from storm surges, and by permafrost melting. These events appear to be increasing in frequency and severity as a consequence of a significant reduction in sea ice cover on the Beaufort Sea and changes in weather patterns. These indirect impacts of climate change are expected to continue into the foreseeable future.

Orders

  • Order Acknowledging Receipt of the Assessments Done Pursuant to Subsection 23(1) of the Act (2017)

    His Excellency the Governor General in Council, on the recommendation of the Minister of the Environment, acknowledges receipt, on the making of this Order, of the assessments done pursuant to subsection 23(1) of the Species at Risk Act by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) with respect to the species set out in the annexed schedule.
  • Order Amending Schedule 1 to the Species at Risk Act (2017)

    Biodiversity is rapidly declining worldwide as species become extinct. Today’s extinction rate is estimated to be between 1 000 and 10 000 times higher than the natural rate. Biodiversity is positively related to ecosystem productivity, health and resiliency (i.e. the ability of an ecosystem to respond to changes or disturbances). Given the interdependency of species, a loss of biodiversity can lead to decreases in ecosystem function and services (e.g. natural processes such as pest control, pollination, coastal wave attenuation, temperature regulation and carbon fixing). These services are important to the health of Canadians, and also have important ties to Canada’s economy. Small changes within an ecosystem resulting in the loss of individuals and species can therefore result in adverse, irreversible and broad-ranging effects.

COSEWIC Annual Reports

  • COSEWIC Annual Report – 2012-2013 (2013)

    Under Canada’s Species at Risk Act (SARA), the foremost function of COSEWIC is to “assess the status of each wildlife species considered by COSEWIC to be at risk and, as part of the assessment, identify existing and potential threats to the species”. COSEWIC held two Wildlife Species Assessment Meetings in this reporting year (October, 2012 to September 2013) from November 25 to November 30, 2012 and from April 28 to May 3, 2013. During the current reporting period, COSEWIC assessed the status or reviewed the classification of 73 wildlife species. The wildlife species assessment results for the 2012-2013 reporting period include the following: Extinct: 0 Extirpated: 2 Endangered: 28 Threatened: 19 Special Concern: 19 Data Deficient: 4 Not at Risk: 1 Total: 73 Of the 73 wildlife species examined, COSEWIC reviewed the classification of 50 species that had been previously assessed. The review of classification for 26 of those species resulted in a confirmation of the same status as the previous assessment.

Consultation Documents

  • Consultation on Amending the List of Species under the Species at Risk Act: Terrestrial Species – December 2013 (2013)

    The Government of Canada is committed to preventing the disappearance of wildlife species at risk from our lands. As part of its strategy for realizing that commitment, on June 5, 2003, the Government of Canada proclaimed the Species at Risk Act (SARA). Attached to the Act is Schedule 1, the list of the species provided for under SARA, also called the List of Wildlife Species at Risk. Endangered or Threatened species on Schedule 1 benefit from the protection of prohibitions and recovery planning under SARA. Special Concern species benefit from its management planning. Schedule 1 has grown from the original 233 to 518 wildlife species at risk. Please submit your comments by March 23, 2014, for terrestrial species undergoing normal consultations and by October 23, 2014, for terrestrial species undergoing extended consultations. Consultation paths.