Stewardship and Conservation of Priority Wildlife and Wetland/Upland Habitat on Salt Spring Island 2012-2013

Final Project Report: Stewardship and Conservation of Priority Wildlife and Wetland/Upland Habitat on Salt Spring Island 2012-2013

Goals and Objectives

The purpose of this project is to protect, conserve, restore and enhance wetland and/or upland habitat in priority conservation areas on Salt Spring Island.  This project will increase landowner awareness and provide recommendations for protecting or enhancing wetland and upland habitat for migratory game birds.  Increased stewardship agreements and activities are expected for priority properties, including invasive species removal and planting of native species. This project will assist in the transfer of ecologically important wetland and Crown Land habitat into Ecological Reserves within Cusheon Lake watershed.

The goals of this project are:

1) Increase awareness among private landowners and public of conservation options for priority wetlands, upland habitat, and migratory game birds and waterfowl species.

2) Increase protected habitat through Stewardship Agreements, and protect and enhance priority wetland and upland habitat within the Cusheon Lake Watershed.

4) Restore additional wetland/riparian and upland habitat within the 129 ha Alvin Indridson nature Reserve.

5) Develop management recommendations to protect or enhance wetland and upland habitat for migratory bird species and waterfowl within SSIC’s Nature Reserves and up to 2 priority covenanted lands.

6) Ensure compliance on existing SSIC covenanted lands as all of the properties contain either shoreline, wetland, or upland migratory game bird habitat.

7) Monitor effectiveness of restoration techniques.

8) Maintain relationships with priority landowners engaged in long-term protection of their land and provide them with recommendations and wildlife information.

Activities

Winter 2013: Provide motivational information to up to 10 landowners on conservation options for protecting wetland and/or upland habitat for waterfowl and migratory game birds.

April-November 2012: In collaboration with Cusheon Lake Stewardship Committee, increase number of landowners aware of and participating in stewardship activities to enhance or maintain priority habitat on their properties. Restore shoreline habitat on up to 7 properties within the watershed by removing invasive species such as Purple Loosestrife. In collaboration with SSI Parks and Recreation Commission and Middlle Years Shared Ecological Education Centre, plant up to 350 native trees in the Alvin Indridson Nature Reserve to expedite natural forest succession. Map wetlands, waterfowl, and Species At Risk
occurrences on the properties to build a case for conservation of the land, and explore potential partnerships for acquisition.

April 2012-March 2013: Protect up to 25 acres of priority wetland and/or upland habitat with signed Stewardship Agreements. Collaborate with other partner organizations at regional and national levels to prioritize conservation priorities areas and properties. Assess invasive species (broom and Gorse) presence within Maxwell Lake watershed, and the cost to control. Install and map Wood Duck boxes in up to 2 SSIC Nature Reserves or high priority conservation lands to enhance duck breeding habitat on priority wetlands. Monitor restoration work completed in 2011-12 (with funding from Wildlife Habitat Canada) of natural site hydrology. Install educational signage regarding waterfowl hunting and appropriate recreational activities in 1 SSIC Nature Reserve.

July-November 2012: Monitor the effectiveness of hydrological restoration in 129 hecatres Alvin Indridson Nature Reserve.

Specific Habitat Products/Results Supported by WHC’s Contributions

Project activities will result in the conservation, restoration, protection, and enhancement of wetlands and upland habitat for waterfowl and migratory game bird species on focal properties. In total, 32 acres of wetland habitat will benefit from this project, as well as 883 acres of upland habitat, all of which used for waterfowl migration and breeding.  Project activities will benefit the 26 known species of waterfowl and migratory game birds on these properties.

Benefits to Waterfowl, Wetlands-Associated Species, and/or Other Wildlife

By contributing to wildlife habitat conservation in general, our project also supports habitat conservation for migratory game birds found on many of our target properties. By working on landscape level conservation, our project benefits numerous wildlife species indirectly. Several target properties are important breeding and foraging grounds for migratory game birds such as Band-tailed Pigeon, Sooty Grouse, Ruffed Grouse, California Quail, and Canada Goose.

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 SS Parks and Recreation Commission in their management of protected areas and parks. There are several direct influences including, recommendations for wetland conservation and stewardship activities provided for management of priority covenant lands.

Indirect Influences

  • recommendations provided to Cusheon Lake Stewardship Committee, SS Parks and Recreation Commission, and BC Parks on management of sensitive
    ecosystems including wetland and upland habitat.
  • data and recommendations provided to BC Parks to support the transfer of ecologically significant lakeshore and upland habitat in Cusheon Lake Watershed
    from Crown Land to Ecological Reserve to increase protection of watershed ecosystem services and functions such as water quality, erosion control, and
    infiltration, and to maintain significant quality habitat for waterfowl and migratory game bird species.

Project Location

This project will be conducted on Salt Spring Island, within the Capital Regional District. Each of SSIC’s Nature Reserves, covenanted lands and target properties within our proposed project activities all have diverse habitats including either shoreline, wetland, and/or upland habitat for waterfowl and/or migratory game bird species.

Project Contact

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