Conservation, Enhancement and Stewardship of Priority Wetland and Upland Habitat on Salt Spring Island 2014-15

Video: Blackburn Lake wetlands restoration project.

Goals and Objectives

This project addresses the priorities of the North American Waterfowl Management Plan (NAWMP) through protecting, conserving, enhancing, and managing priority wetland and upland habitat for over 45 species of waterfowl, migratory game birds, and wetland-associated bird species on Salt Spring Island.

Building on 3 successful years of wetland conservation projects funded by WHC, we will work with landowners towards legal protection of priority habitats through donation or acquisition of land, and establishment of conservation covenants and Stewardship Agreements. We also will engage landowners and volunteers in stewardship activities on priority habitats, enhance habitat through actions such as invasive species removal and habitat restoration, manage important habitats already owned or covenanted by SSIC, and increase landowners’ skills and awareness of wetland restoration through articles and a public workshop. Staff will work with multi-jurisdictional partners (e.g. Nature Conservancy of Canada, Islands Trust Fund, Ducks Unlimited Canada, and local land trusts) to share effective management strategies and practices for wetland and upland habitats on Salt Spring.            

The goals of this project are:

1) Long-term protection of priority wildlife and wetland/upland habitat on Salt Spring Island.

2) Restore and enhance waterfowl and wildlife habitat through active restoration on up to 2 SSIC Nature Reserves.

3) Protect up to 25 acres of priority wetland and/or upland habitat with Stewardship Agreements.

4) Increase number of landowners in the watershed aware of, and participating in, stewardship activities to conserve and enhance habitat on their properties.

5) Collect additional data on waterfowl and rare species on properties surrounding Ford Lake.  

6) Raise public awareness of wetland habitats, waterfowl, and game birds.

 

Specific Habitat Products/Results Supported by WHC’s Contributions

– Enhancement of wetland and/or upland habitat in up to 3 key locations

– Restoration of lake shoreline habitat (primarily loosestrife eradication) on up to 7 properties

– Delivery of signed Stewardship Agreements on up to 10 properties with wetland and/or upland habitat

– Ensure compliance of conservation covenants on up to 14 properties with wetland, shoreline, and/or upland habitat

– Increase public awareness of importance of wetlands, stewardship and/or wetland-associated species through local media and newsletter articles and restoration workshop

– Increase effectiveness in habitat conservation and management strategies and practices at a local, regional and national level with partner organizations

 

Relevance to Habitat Planning, Decision Making and/or Management

SSIC participates in and reports to Recovery Teams for several Species at Risk on Salt Spring, involves different levels of government where applicable in project activities, provides recommendations and data to local Islands Trust, BC Parks, and SSI Parks and Recreation Commission in their management of protected areas and parks.

Direct Influences:

  • Increased land protected through Stewardship Agreements with private landowners.
  • Increased land protected through acquisition of fee simple title or conservation covenant.
  • Increased wetland and upland habitat restored and enhanced through stewardship activities such as invasive species removal and native tree planting.
  • Recommendations for wetland conservation and stewardship activities provided for management of up to 7 Nature Reserves (through updating or creating up to 2 Management Plans as needed) and up to 14 priority covenant lands (through implementing habitat enhancement on up to 2 sites as needed).
  • Consultations and review provided by partner organizations and experts (DU, Polster Environmental Services Ltd.) will solidify restoration work on Blackburn Lake Nature Reserve, and ensure restoration techniques based on sound scientific recommendations.

Indirect Influences:

  • Data provided to DU on waterfowl and wildlife species on their Ford Lake property will support management of sensitive ecosystems including wetland and upland habitat.
  • Partner organizations’ participation in workshop to share wetland and upland habitat management strategies and practices will build stronger relationships and efficacy within the field of wetland conservation.
  • Workshop and articles will increase landowner engagement in wetland restoration and stewardship issues.

 

Project Location

Most of Salt Spring is in the Coastal Douglas-fir biogeoclimatic zone (CDFmm), which is an area of high species richness with a conservation status of ‘Imperiled’ as it is the rarest ecosystem in BC. The higher elevation land on Salt Spring is within the Coastal Western Hemlock very dry maritime (CWHxm1) zone, which has a similar conservation status.

With over 75% of the land privately owned on Salt Spring Island, development pressure on the land base is intense. Each of SSIC’s Nature Reserves and covenanted lands and the targeted private properties have diverse habitats, which include shoreline, wetlands and/or upland habitat for waterfowl or migratory game bird species.

 

Project Contact

For more information on this project, please contact Christine Torgrimson, Manager, Executive Director, Salt Spring Island Conservancy, Salt Spring Island, BC.