Connecting people with nature in Ontario's Mississippi Valley

COSEWIC Assessment report and Ontario Recovery Strategy for Rapids Clubtail 


pdf of 2016 Recovery Strategy

OR go directly to Environment Canada site

Rapids Clubtail (Gomphus quadricolor) is an endangered species of dragonfly, found in Canada only in Ontario,  on the Mississippi and Humber rivers.

Still from videorecording June 18

Gomphus quadricolor, Almonte. Still from videorecording, June 18, 2015. P. Donaldson

Habitat for this endangered species includes the Mississippi River in the Municipality of Mississippi Mills at Almonte, Pakenham and Blakeney. These are the protected sites under the Endangered Species Act, but recovery plans cite possibility of the insects existence at other locations on the river.

Further details of status report and recovery plans which have been initiated in the past can be found in the following two documents available here as pdf’s. Note that these are currently the most up-to-date documents available from Ontario agencies monitoring species at risk, that we are aware of,  but new information may be made available by MNRF or others at any time. When this information become available we will post it here asap.

COSEWIC Assessment and Status Report on the Rapids Clubtail (Gomphus quadricolor) in Canada, 2008

Rapids Clubtail (Gomphus quadricolor) in Ontario. Ontario Recovery Strategy Series, September 2010, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources 


pdf of 2016 Recovery Strategy

OR go directly to Environment Canada site



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Biodiversity and the status of pollinators are closely linked, as we heard in our October talk by Dr. James Coupland.

MVFN has several printed copies of Status of Pollinators in North America a publication recommended by Dr. Coupland for additional information. Several print copies were provided by Dr. Coupland to MVFN, and these are available for loan. Copies of this document can also be downloaded at the link below or a pdf of this document is also available here.


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A group of local people, including some MVFN members (and maybe you too!)  have a lot of questions about the decision of  Lanark County to begin a herbicide spraying program. The County has posted notice that it will begin or has begun spraying county roads (not all roads and not all municipalities within the County have yet been scheduled for spraying) with the herbicide ‘Clearview’ (active ingredient Aminopyralid) in order to stop the spread of the invasive plant, the wild parsnip.

The group is investigating the justification for spraying and the protocol of the ‘trial’ program, with a view to asking the County and local municipal councils within the County to look for alternatives to such a broad-stroked killing of plants and to encourage local governments to better educate the public about wild parsnip.

One problem with this practice is that all virtually all plants are likely to be affected with the exception of grasses. This includes milkweed which has become a common sight in ditches in the area. Milkweed was recently removed from the noxious plant list in Ontario and is the sole food plant of the larvae of the Monarch butterfly, which is a species listed of special concern on the Species at Risk list risk in Ontario. Also at risk are the many other invasive and native ‘weeds’ which are food and nectar sources for many insects during the summer.

To address human health concerns of the herbicide the Leeds, Grenville & Lanark District Health Unit has posted a notice of a meeting tomorrow night in Perth: see the meeting details below.  If you can go to this meeting and relay your comments back via MVFN it would be appreciated. Ask them how many cases of wild parsnip they have treated. How much has the county spent on education?  If you have comments and questions for your local council or municipal staff about this practice, which may be taking place in your municipality now or in the coming years, we encourage you to please contact them.

NOTICE OF PUBLIC MEETING: The Leeds, Grenville & Lanark District Health Unit is hosting a public meeting on Wednesday, July 8 at 6 p.m. to discuss the public health perspective of the controlled spraying of Clearview in Lanark County. The meeting will be chaired by Medical Officer of Health Dr. Paula Stewart at the Lanark County Administration Building in Perth (99 Christie Lake Rd.). The purpose of the meeting is for the health unit to respond to some public concerns regarding the weed-spraying program. It will consist of a welcome and introductions, a review of the purpose of the meeting and an overview of the public health perspective on the importance of controlling noxious weeds and the Public Health Officer report on the health impacts of the herbicide. It will also include an overview of the Health Canada and Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change role, including approval of product with restrictions and MOECC response to any environmental concerns raised by community. For more information, visit

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NOTE: Recently a Facebook page has been established by Mississippi Mills community members: Find Rapids Clubtails of Mississippi Mills on Facebook

A rare and endangered species in the province, the Rapids Clubtail dragonfly (Gomphus quadricolor), was observed in the Mississippi River at Almonte falls June 15, 2015  and this and sightings of the species at Blakeney by a group of 4 MVFN members on June 13, 2015 were reported today to the Ontario Natural Heritage Information Centre which tracks species at risk such as this endangered species. This species had been reported in these locations historically in the past, but there were no recent ones until these reports from yesterday in Almonte and Saturday in Blakeney.  Reminder: it is illegal to net, catch or otherwise harass these endangered species.

A more detailed account of this endangered species locally will be posted soon.

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Rapids Clubtail dragonfly at Almonte falls, 2015

Pauline Donaldson


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Message from Ontario Nature


click on logo for Ontario Nature website

Ontario Nature’s attempt to overturn Endangered Species Act exemptions for major industries fails:

Ontario Nature and Wildlands League sued the Ontario government over a regulation which exempts a wide range of resource extraction and other industrial activities from the requirements of the province’s Endangered Species Act (ESA). We were represented by Ecojustice lawyers. The grounds for the suit were first, whether the Minister of Natural Resources failed to assess the negative impact of his proposed regulation on all of the species that it would put in harm’s way; and second, whether the regulation was contrary to the ESA’s main purpose of protecting and recovering species at risk.

On May 29, 2015 Ontario’s Divisional Court upheld the provincial regulation that exempts many major industries — including forestry, energy transmission, housing, oil and gas pipelines, mineral exploration and mine development, transit, wastewater management companies — from the ESA and allows them to kill species at-risk and destroy their habitat.

This is a very disappointing decision. The survival of Ontario’s most vulnerable wildlife is now weighed against competing industrial interests, which may tip the scale towards extinction. Every single endangered and threatened species in the province is deprived of the full protection of the law. When it was introduced in 2007, the Endangered Species Act was considered the gold standard law for species protection in North America. Unfortunately, recent years have seen the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry shirk its duties to protect at-risk wildlife.

Some of Ontario’s 155 at-risk species threatened by the regulation include the American eel, Blanding’s turtle, lakeside daisy, eastern hog-nosed snake, Acadian flycatcher and the iconic woodland caribou.

While this is a setback, Ontario Nature remains committed to protecting endangered species.

  • Working with farmers through the ALUS Program to advance our common interest in stewardship for grassland species at risk, like the bobolink.
  • Promoting natural heritage systems planning at the municipal and regional level, including through the 2015 coordinate review of the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan, Greenbelt Plan, Niagara Escarpment Plan and Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe.
  • Working with our Youth Council to protect pollinators – several of which are at risk – and calling for restrictions on toxic pesticides, especially neonicotinoids.
  • Advocating for new protected areas and sustainable management in the boreal forest, home to the threatened woodland caribou and many other species at risk.
  • Protecting rare and vulnerable habitats for endangered species on and in areas around our 24 nature reserves.
  • With the help of thousands of volunteers, compiling data on endangered reptiles and amphibians to inform conservation and recovery plans.

We are reviewing the decision with Wildlands League and Ecojustice and considering our options.


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