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Monitoring Vancouver Island Estuaries

Monitoring Vancouver Island Estuaries
 Thanks to Karen Barry from the  VICLMP program for sending us this project update! The Vancouver Island Conservation Land Management Program* has initiated a long term monitoring program to assess the health of estuaries and salt marshes on the east coast of Vancouver Island with support from HCTF and other partners. The goal of this monitoring program is to ensure that conservation lands provide high quality, accessible habitat for fish and wildlife, and to identify conservation concerns resulting from threats such as sea level rise, invasive species, or other human-induced changes. By implementing a standardized monitoring program, we can ensure investments made towards protection of sensitive estuaries are secured for the long-term. To determine the resiliency of coastal estuaries to sea level rise, we are installing Surface Elevation Tables (SET) platforms in several estuaries this summer, including Quatse River, Cluxewe River, Salmon River, Englishman River, Nanaimo River and Cowichan River estuaries. These devices allow us to see how salt marshes and estuaries are changing over time, by measuring changes in elevation of the substrate. The SET consists of an aluminum platform that is permanently installed in the estuary and anchored to prevent any movement. To take measurements, a specialized reader...
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Transformed School Grounds Enhance Environmental Learning

Transformed School Grounds Enhance Environmental Learning
  Nestled in the heart of the Fraser Valley lies the small rural community of Dewdney. Three years ago, declining enrollment threatened the future of the community’s only school, but today, Dewdney Elementary has become a shining example of how re-creating outdoor space can strengthen student learning and bring together a community. Led by the vision of their Principal, Mrs. McLeod, and the implementation of the Community Outdoor Recreation and Environmental Education (CORE) program, this small school has been hugely successful in incorporating environmental education, stewardship and restoration into everyday learning. The school transformed a soggy field of grass into a naturalized area full of opportunities for play, growth and learning. Students participated in the design and construction of various features, including a “mud kitchen” and garden boxes for growing food. They also planted and cared for fruit trees, edible berry bushes and other native plants. A wooden tree-cookie pathway leads the young learners through the landscape, past apple trees and strawberry plantings into a free play area with loose natural materials for making whatever the students can imagine come to life. Not without modern conveniences, the site also boasts rainwater harvesting, biofiltration swales, and a power-generating windmill for a...
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New App Encourages Hunters to Become Citizen Scientists

New App Encourages Hunters to Become Citizen Scientists
A new interactive tool is allowing British Columbians to help wildlife biologists monitor moose populations and inform conservation efforts. The B.C. Moose Tracker app, available through iTunes , lets users upload information on the number, sex and location of moose they encounter in the wild directly to an online database. The data will the help the Province monitor moose populations by alerting staff to emerging issues.   The app also includes a digital version of 2016-2018 Hunting and Trapping Regulations Synopsis, a searchable, interactive summary of hunting regulations throughout British Columbia. The app supports the Province's ongoing efforts to strengthen its moose management strategy through the modernization of licensing, inventory and research methods. B.C. Moose Tracker was developed in consultation with the B.C. Wildlife Federation and with the financial support of the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation. "Hunters hold a tremendous amount of knowledge about what's happening out on the landscape,"said Ross Peck, Chair of the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation. "They have long supported - and participated in- important conservation initiatives, and this app provides a new means for them to contribute to the sustainable management of wildlife in B.C." To download the new BC Moose Tracker app, click here .   ...
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Rock Breaking Begins at Seymour Slide Site

Rock Breaking Begins at Seymour Slide Site
The Seymour Salmonid Society and its partners are pleased to announce that work has begun to restore fish migration around the rockslide debris that has blocked the Seymour River for over 20 months. On December 7, 2014, an estimated 50 000 cubic meters of rock fell into the lower canyon of the Seymour River following a catastrophic slope failure. The slide debris blocked the river and caused upstream water levels to rise by almost 10 meters. Acoustic and radio tagging studies have confirmed that the blockage has prevented both adult and juvenile salmon from accessing their primary spawning habitats upstream, creating serious concerns about the survival of salmonids on the Seymour. The river is home to unique runs of wild summer and winter steelhead, currently listed by the Province as a conservation concern. Coho, chinook, chum and pink salmon also use the river as spawning and rearing habitat.     Shaun Hollingsworth, President of the Seymour Salmonid Society, emphasized the effects the blockage will have on the river’s fish populations if left unmitigated: “If these fish remain cut off from their spawning habitats, the Seymour’s wild steelhead and coho populations will likely be reduced to mere remnants within five years....
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Mural Highlights Burrard Restoration Project

Mural Highlights Burrard Restoration Project
Students from North Vancouver elementary schools are helping create a giant stream mural at Mosquito Creek , one of four estuaries restored with funding from the Burrard Inlet Restoration Program . The mural, created by artist Ron den Daas, is a colourful reminder that the streams and estuaries along the Inlet were once prime salmonid habitat.   While salmonids remain an important part of Vancouver’s identity, the growth of the city caused many of its salmonid streams to disappear . Those remaining have been heavily degraded by urban and industrial development.     Mosquito Creek estuary was reduced to less than 1% of its historical size, and that remaining sliver was devoid of suitable habitat for salmon or trout. In a recent article in the North Shore News , the Squamish Nation’s environmental co-ordinator, Randall Lewis, shares his memories of a much more vibrant ecosystem, and references elders’ stories of birds so numerous they “blocked out the sun”. While it’s unrealistic to expect we can rewind these highly altered habitats back to their undeveloped state, the restoration work that’s taken place at Mosquito Creek and other estuaries on the Inlet is a start, offering hope and inspiration to biologists, artists,...
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