Species at Risk

Bobolink Bird

The Credit River Watershed is home to at least 44 Species At Risk (SAR) (see below).  These are species whose populations are declining to a point that they are in danger of becoming extinct or disappearing from Canada or Ontario.  SAR can be classified into four main categories of increasing sensitivity: Special Concern, Threatened, Endangered, or Extirpated. Species listed as “Special Concern” are species that are sensitive to disturbances and could be at risk of becoming threatened or endangered. “Threatened” species are species at risk of becoming endangered if limiting factors are not reversed. “Endangered” species are species facing imminent extinction or extirpation. “Extirpated” species are species that no longer exist in the wild in Ontario and/or Canada but do exist in the wild elsewhere. Habitat loss, pollution, and invasive species are some of the primary reasons species become “at risk”.

In Ontario, there are two main authorities who decide species rankings. At the provincial level, COSSARO (Committee on the Status of Species at Risk in Ontario) assesses and classifies Species At Risk in the province. At the national level, COSEWIC (Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada) decides the species classifications for species that live anywhere in Canada. These bodies are made up of professionals who have scientific expertise in species at risk. They use clearly defined and consistent criteria for assessing species and they incorporate the best scientific, aboriginal, and community knowledge to decide how a species should be ranked. After being assessed by one of the two bodies discussed above, SAR are then placed on the species at risk listings for Canada and/or Ontario. The Species at Risk Act registry (SARA) is the national listing, and Species At Risk in Ontario (SARO) is the provincial listing. Species on these lists, with the exception of those considered Special Concern, are protected by legislation.

The good news is that together, we can act to protect and recover many of these species and safeguard Ontario’s biodiversity.

Species at Risk Spotlight

A showcase of some Species at Risk in the Credit River watershed.

American Ginseng

Blanding’s Turtle



Eastern Ribbon Snake

Hart’s-tongue Fern

Jefferson Salamander

Louisiana Waterthrush


Redside Dace

Snapping Turtle

Western Chorus Frog

Number of Species at Risk

Species at Risk (SC/END/THR/EXT) in the Credit River watershed
Group Number of species
Birds 24
Butterflies 2
Dragonflies 1
Fish 4
Frogs 1
Mammals 1
Plants 5
Salamanders 1
Snakes 2
Turtles 3
Total 44

Send Us Your Observations

If you would like to report a SAR sighting please contact the Natural Heritage Information Centre.

CVC is also currently tracking certain plants and animals to determine if they have the potential to be locally or regionally rare, in addition to those with provincial or federal status. Visit our Species of Conservation Concern page for more information on this project and on how to submit your observations.

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In accordance with scientific standards, appropriate acknowledgment of CVC should be made in any publications or other disclosures concerning data or information made available by CVC.