The Garry Oak Ecosystems Recovery Team (GOERT) was formed in 1999 to coordinate efforts to protect and restore endangered Garry oak and associated ecosystems and the species at risk that inhabit them.
GOERT’s Recovery Implementation Groups (RIGs) are working to complete the science-based information necessary for ecosystem and species recovery, minimize ongoing site and species losses, and motivate public and private protection and stewardship activities.
Eventually, we hope that plants and animals now at risk in Garry oak and associated ecosystems will be out of danger and their long-term survival ensured.
To that end, we are:
Only a concerted, long-term effort to conserve what is left of Garry oak and associated ecosystems in Canada can halt the ever-increasing threat to their species at risk. The recovery program has so far been guided by GOERT’s Recovery Strategy for Garry Oak and Associated Ecosystems and their Associated Species at Risk in Canada, 2001–2006. We are in the process of revising the recovery strategy for the next five years.
Under the GOERT strategy, the Recovery Team is responsible for species-level planning for at least 84 species at risk. Currently, there are approximately 20 species that have recovery strategies completed. These strategies call for action plans to be completed over the next several years, which will help ensure that recovery actions are well coordinated and carried out. There are more status reports and recovery strategies under development.
Our recovery strategy uses a unique, ecosystem-based approach to protecting individual species at risk. Recovery planning in Canada has historically taken a species-by-species approach, but national initiatives now recognize the importance of incorporating a wider scope in some circumstances. The ecosystem-based approach makes sense in this case, as so many species at risk occur in the same geographical area in Garry oak and associated ecosystems.
In addition to our overall recovery strategy, we have produced three multi-species recovery strategies for species at risk in Garry oak woodlands, maritime meadows, and vernal pools. These are the first terrestrial multi-species strategies to be finalized and approved under the Species at Risk Act.
GOERT’s official Recovery Team coordinates the work of seven Recovery Implementation Groups (RIGs), several Steering Committees and the Staff to implement the Recovery Program. The following six approaches guide our work:
Develop standardized plant community classification, and determine and map the historical and current extent of Garry oak and associated ecosystems. See Inventory, Mapping and Plant Communities RIG
Secure high priority sites towards the establishment of a network of protected areas that represent the full diversity of Garry oak and associated ecosystems throughout their geographic range in Canada that are of sufficient size and appropriately situated to sustain essential ecosystem characteristics over the long term. See Conservation Planning and Site Protection RIG.
Facilitate the establishment of landscape linkages and buffers and promote the restoration and management of protected areas, landscape linkages, buffers, and the general landscape to sustain essential ecosystem characteristics over the long term. See Restoration and Management RIG.
Complete assessments and initial planning and initiate actions towards sustaining and expanding populations of species at risk in Garry oak and associated ecosystems that are designated Endangered, Threatened, or are of management concern. See Plants at Risk, Invertebrates at Risk, and Vertebrates at Risk RIGs.
Expand basic and applied research relevant to conserving and restoring Garry oak and associated ecosystems. See Research RIG.