The Steward Newsletter – Summer 2007

A Message from the President
Hard to believe it has been almost a year since I agreed to take on the role of President of
the Cowichan Community Land Trust (CCLT). This year has seen a few changes to the CCLT Board – we have a new past-president, Jim Ayers, who thankfully is still involved in covenant work; we have lost our long-time treasurer, Charles Poole, whose health has not allowed him to take on this responsibility for us any longer; and we have gained a new and energetic board member, Cindy Carleton. CCLT has been working hard this past year. You may have seen CCLT mentioned in the local papers recently because we were honored with the Silver Award from the Habitat Conservation Trust Fund for the work CCLT staff, members and the community have done to re-establish sub-tidal eelgrass meadows in Cowichan Bay. For now, that project has wrapped up. But stay tuned; the interest is out there to continue eelgrass restoration in our local marine waters. Speaking of Cowichan Bay and newspapers, earlier this month a News Leader headline read “National Marine Park in the works”. According to the article, public feedback has redrawn the original proposed reserve boundary to include Cowichan Bay and Maple Bay in the National Marine Conservation Area Reserve (NMCA) proposed for the Southern Strait of Georgia. As part of the Tzouhalem Project several years ago, CCLT met with Bill Henwood of Parks Canada to ask that Sansum Narrows be included in the NMCA. The potential addition of Cowichan and Maple Bays would mean Sansum Narrows would receive marine conservation status, and all our hard work on eelgrass in Cowichan Bay could be afforded additional protection. In this Issue
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Message from the President Volunteer Appreciation Green Day Stewardship Support Upcoming AGM New Eelgrass sign
We are just beginning our next project – Stewardship Support and we have also welcomed the Friends of Quamichan Lake as our newest committee. Well, my experience this year has been a full one, and I have enjoyed it immensely. Ann and the CCLT Board are wonderful people to work with. I look forward to meeting more of our members in the coming months while helping with Stewardship Support. Best regards, Tracy Fleming
Green Day!
By Alexis Baker
the Business Outreach Representative I will be organizing events and fundraisers throughout the summer for the Cowichan Community Land Trust Society. Green Day is a fundraising event that creates awareness and support for land conservation in the Cowichan Valley and can be held at your convenience. To participate, each business or office will choose a day where employees donate money to wear green on their chosen ‘Green Day.’ Clients or customers will be asked if they would like to make a donation to support the CCLT with all proceeds going to protecting the Cowichan Valley. Supporting businesses will receive a window decal that shows you are a local Green Day supporter. A link for your business is also available through our Nature Cowichan website at where our Green Day business directory will promote your business and recognize your commitment to protecting the natural beauty of the Cowichan Valley. I would like to acknowledge the Canada Summer Jobs Program through Human Resources Development Canada for sponsoring me to work for a great cause this summer.
CCLT Volunteers and Members:
‘WE Appreciate YOU’ Day…
Join us at Hecate Park in Cowichan Bay Saturday, August 18th at Noon and let us buy you lunch!
To show you how much we appreciate you we are celebrating our Volunteers and all the good work that we can accomplish with your help. This will also give everyone a chance to see the newly installed Eelgrass sign that recognizes the great community effort that went into making the project such a success.
Please bring along a plate, glass and utensils and a folding chair for your comfort… and R.S.V.P. to 746-0227.
Hope to see you there!
Stewardship Support Project
By Amanda Dodd
Approximately 90 percent of the land base in the Cowichan Valley is privately owned and is
currently under significant development pressure or impacted by recent developments. This makes land stewardship essential for the preservation and protection of natural habitat in the Cowichan Valley. The Stewardship Support Project is a two-year environmental program that will allow us to support landholders interested in conserving and protecting ecologically sensitive areas on their land. Land Stewards will be contacted and supported with networking opportunities and be encouraged to create or join a stewardship group around a local natural feature, like a stream or natural area, and to continue their voluntary commitment to the natural areas on their land. Landholders who are new to land stewardship will be encouraged to commit to a voluntary Stewardship Agreement. Many local ecologists volunteer their time and expertise to assist us in helping landholders with concerns about the natural areas on their property. Land Stewards can also take advantage of our resources and can receive a site visit to their land to help with issues that affect them and the health of natural areas. If you are interested in learning more about the Stewardship Support Project give our office a call, or you can stop by for a visit.
Check out the New Eelgrass Sign!
By Ann Archibald
Eelgrass project recently wrapped up with a new addition to Hecate Park. A new Eelgrass Interpretive sign has now been installed at the boat launch location in Cowichan Bay where most of the eelgrass volunteers worked during our transplanting events. Hecate Park has also been undergoing some changes with a newer design, benches and viewing areas that our Eelgrass sign fits into very well. Over 6,000 eelgrass shoots have been planted in the Cowichan estuary and so far the transplants are growing. Some of the good indications for the return of eelgrass are three ‘natural’ beds of eelgrass found near the transplanted sites. These small beds are no more than a foot across but may show that this area is ‘naturally’ recovering now that there are adjacent transplants. Some challenges to the eelgrass habitat remain with the large amount of sediment brought into the estuary from the Cowichan River system. While the eelgrass plant and its rhizomatous growth pattern is well adapted to the sediment settling that makes up estuarine conditions, it is unclear at this point whether the sediment conditions in the Cowichan estuary is limiting to the transplants. During the early spring monitoring we found that the eelgrass 3
transplants were deeply covered by sediment but thankfully were not covered above the leaf sheath, which would impact their growth. Human activity is also a challenge around the eelgrass transplant sites. We are currently trying to raise funds for another transplant in the North shore area where activity is limited. Hopefully we can restore that area to the ‘lush eelgrass meadows’ remembered by many. Thanks to the CVRD staff and Area D Director, Mike Tansley, for their support. Thanks also to our project funders and our community volunteers. Board Members President: Vice President: Secretary: Tracy Fleming Jim Moir John Scull
Join us at our upcoming
Wednesday, September 19th 7:00 pm
at the Freshwater Eco-Center 1080 Wharncliffe Rd., Duncan
Directors at Large Cindy Carleton, Roger Hart
The support of our members, volunteers, and funders is essential to our work to keep the Cowichan Valley beautiful. Thank you!
Cowichan Community Land Trust Society
#6 – 55 Station St., Duncan, BC V9L 1M2
2007/08 Membership Application
Name:___________________________________________________________________________ Address:_______________________________________________________________________________ Postal Code:_____________Telephone:________________ E-Mail:_______________________________ Rates: ? $20/yr Adults and families ? $5/yr for people under 19 ??$100.00/yr for businesses
Application is hereby made for membership in the Cowichan Community Land Trust Society. If admitted, I/we state that we support the objectives of the Society and agree to be governed by the present and future Constitution and bylaws of the Society.