Current Stewardship Projects
The Salt Spring Island Conservancy’s Habitat Stewardship Project
Since 2004, we have received federal funding under the Habitat Stewardship Program to protect wildlife habitat on Salt Spring Island. This work is urgent because Salt Spring Island is in the Coastal Douglas Fir biogeoclimatic zone--the rarest ecosystem in the province with the highest number of rare and endangered plants and wildlife. Over 50 provincially and federally listed species at risk are known to occur on Salt Spring Island.
As part of our project, we
Highlights of our current work:
Mt. Tuam Special Management Area Resource Team
The Mt. Tuam Special Management Area Resource Team is a group of landowners and stakeholders that are working together in a collaborative effort to manage and protect the unique ecological values on Mt. Tuam through the creation of a Special Management Area (SMA). An SMA is an area defined by ecological boundaries rather than property lines to allow efficient and appropriate ecologically based management. Click here for more information on what the Team is working on, where the SMA boundaries are, and why this is such an important area on Salt Spring Island.
Hydrological Restoration in the Alvin Indridson Nature Reserve – October 2011
The Alvin Indridson Nature Reserve is SSIC’s newest and largest Nature Reserve, acquired in April 2011. In October 2011, the Conservancy conducted extensive hydrological restoration throughout the reserve. In consultation with ecosystem restoration specialists, we restored a significant amount of disturbed habitat back to its natural state, including removal of culverts and restoring compacted soils to allow the forest to proceed through its succession to a mature forest. Culvert removal will help to reconnect the wetlands and restore the natural flow of the water courses on the property. Loosening the compacted soils will allow Red Alder trees to grow more easily and improve water infiltration on the land. Alders are nitrogen fixers, enriching the soil and preparing it for a healthy succession into a mature forest where other species such as Douglas Fir and Western Hemlock will eventually dominate. Initial trails have been installed within the Nature Reserve as well.
Barn Owl Nest Box Program
The western population of Barn Owls in Canada is federally listed as Special Concern. Lack of suitable nesting sites can often be a limiting factor in the breeding success of Barn Owls. With the help of volunteer, Paul Linton, we have built and installed barn owl boxes in barns on the island to provide nests for the owl.
Western Bluebird Nest Box Program
Our Western Bluebird Nestbox Program is carried out by dedicated volunteers and staff biologists. They have been building, installing, and monitoring Western Bluebird boxes on Salt Spring Island, in an effort to re-establish this once common songbird.
We are involved in counting and identifying new populations of rare and endangered plant species on Salt Spring Island, including Yellow Montane Violet, Coastal Scouler’s Catchfly, and Gray's Desert-Parsley. A new location was discovered for the endangered White Meconella on Salt Spring Island, which had never been seen before on the island.
With the help of countless volunteers and committed landowners we have identified 23 locations for the Sharp-tailed Snakes on Salt Spring Island. We have also completed several habitat enhancement projects, including removing broom and other invasive plants, replanting native plants, and building rock walls and overwintering sites for the snakes.
Western Painted Turtles
The Pacific Coast population of Western Painted Turtles in Canada is federally listed as endangered. We began monitoring Western Painted Turtle populations and nesting sites in 2008. With the generous help of many volunteers and landowners we have identified several populations of turtles and a many nesting sites. We continue to monitor their populations so that we can assess the status of these turtles on the island.
As amphibians decline worldwide, it is important for us to monitor the species in our own backyards. We have four long-term monitoring boards sites for salamanders and frogs that we monitor each year.
Butterflies and Other Insects
We are monitoring rare butterfly species, including the Dun Skipper and Zerene Fritillary as well as other insects. As some species need very specialized habitat, we also work with landowners to help them restore and enhance butterfly habitat in areas where these rare species are known to occur.