Updates to conservation statuses in progress in Canada

Just a couple of comments:
Dusky Dancer is wrongly categorized, there are at least 2 locations for them in the Hamilton area, same with Blue-tipped dancer, there are at least 2 known locations outside SW Ontario (at least I know of them, and I assume others do)

Great Blue Skimmer is more likely a vagrant than an established population (ie is the one spot in the Windsor area considered a breeding location ?), I’m not sure of the value of obscuring any vagrant as where they have been seen in the past is of no predictive value as to where they will be in the future

One minor comment, you note a category of ‘well documented in other places’, the same holds true for basically everything you recommend to keep obscured, so it seems a bit of having it both ways (not that I disagree with the ones to keep obscured)

Agree on Southern Spreadwing - anything identified as this in Ontario is likely misidentified, assuming it is even a separate species

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Thanks Mike,

On reflection, I think this sounds quite workable. One request I would make, though, is for any decisions around modifying the obscuration status be posted somewhere public. I can imagine submitting a few requests, and I’d like to avoid wasting your time (and mine).

Perhaps the process could be modified to include a preliminary step: “check this place to see if your species has already been considered, and note that decisions are unlikely to be reversed without compelling new information”? The wording could be better, but I think the idea makes sense.

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Dusky Dancer is wrongly categorized, there are at least 2 locations for them in the Hamilton area, same with Blue-tipped dancer, there are at least 2 known locations outside SW Ontario (at least I know of them, and I assume others do)

Yeah… I just didn’t see the need to spend dividing things into tons of really specific categories that don’t ultimately change anything. Ultimate point is that they are more widespread along rivers than a basic count of sites would indicate.

Great Blue Skimmer is more likely a vagrant than an established population (ie is the one spot in the Windsor area considered a breeding location ?), I’m not sure of the value of obscuring any vagrant as where they have been seen in the past is of no predictive value as to where they will be in the future

Thought there was a breeding population but am probably wrong. Ultimately I’m not too concerned about being completely accurate in every respect with this kind of thing… NHIC will pick up on whatever errors I’ve made.

One minor comment, you note a category of ‘well documented in other places’, the same holds true for basically everything you recommend to keep obscured, so it seems a bit of having it both ways (not that I disagree with the ones to keep obscured)

Yeah… hard to concisely spell out what I’m trying to say here. It’s more that I don’t think there is any reason to hide any newly discovered Spatterdock Darner sites. Whereas it could be justified for Rapids Clubtail, even though several sites are already well known.

So, I just encountered a species set to geoprivacy=private in Ontario. I hadn’t realized that was an option: it completely removes observations from the map, instead of obscuring them. I thought it was a bug: https://forum.inaturalist.org/t/hognose-snake-observations-not-showing-in-ontario/4154

Looking at the list of observations in Ontario which are private, it looks like there are only about a dozen species this applies to (the ones on the bottom of the list are observations which were misidentified at one point as one of the others). I understand needing to do more than just obscure the bat observations, since it might be possible to find bat caves by searching within a 10 km x 20 km area, and American Ginseng is probably the most well-known plant poaching/collection target, but I think the rest of these species should be reviewed to see whether they should merely be obscured rather than private, especially the two most commonly observed: Eastern Fox Snake and Eastern Hognose Snake. Thoughts?

The other plants are also collection risks, and some reptiles are at high risk of collection for the pet trade. I suspect all of these, except the mis-ids at the bottom, are appropriately private.

However, it would be nice to have this explicitly stated somewhere, so the issue doesn’t come up every time someone new notices this and thinks it’s a bug, or over-zealous curation.

You all have a problem with jack in the pulpit and red elderberry being collected? Those are both super abundant in Vermont and I literally have random jack in the pulpit popping up in my yard. Should I be propagating and selling it? Maybe I could start a JITP farm. Isn’t elderberry in the landscape trade?

But… it’s a small list and appears the species were selected due to actual risk rather than localized rarity so… I don’t have an issue with it.

Someone misidentified 1 Jack-in-the-pulpit as American Ginseng, and hasn’t withdrawn their ID, so the observation is private. Same with 1 Red-berried Elder. Neither species is obscured, in general (just look at the hundreds of other observations in Ontario).

For the snakes, do they have some permanent location like a hibernaculum which might be threatened by having obscured locations instead of private?

Ooooh. That makes sense. Thanks.

It does seem a bit pointless to be obscuring those two species when the Ontario Herp Atlas (https://ontarionature.org/oraa/maps/) is providing locations to a greater degree of accuracy than the obscuring algorithm here (10 km x 10 km in herp atlas, something around 12 x 20 km on iNat.) Note that two extremely vulnerable species (Spotted and Wood Turtle) are not included there.

Similarly, the Ontario government website shows more detailed locations for some species than obscured observations give you. e.g.
https://files.ontario.ca/environment-and-energy/species-at-risk/mnr_sar_sma_whi_lad_sli_map_en.pdf
https://files.ontario.ca/environment-and-energy/species-at-risk/mnr_sar_eas_pra_fri_orc_map_en.pdf