The Steward Newsletter – Summer 2008

Summer 2008
#6 – 55 Station St, Duncan BC, V9L 1M2; Phone: 250-746-0227 Email:; Website:
Our research student helps migratory waterfowl!
We are planning to hold a public meeting for anyone who is interested in protecting waterfowl habitat. Please contact us !
Monika Pakstas Madeline Southern Erin Ward
Monika Pakstas has completed a report, which has unearthed and compiled research and documents relating to Somenos Marsh, Quamichan Lake, Cowichan Estuary and Chemainus Estuary. These are extremely important places for migratory bird overwintering, feeding and resting.
This summer we worked on the Stewardship Support Project like bees on their hive. Our team of 3 helped support land stewards by identifying ecologically sensitive sites on privately owned lands as well as current, imminent and potential environmental issues or threats. By doing site visits and providing information about conservation tools we assisted and encouraged locals to conserve/restore ecologically important places in the Cowichan Valley. We kept as busy as orchard bees – buzzing through the fields and fields of wonderful ways we can improve the health of our community’s waterways and landscapes.
PEOPLE LOVE GARRY OAK WALKS The Somenos Garry Oak Protected Area has a long, rich history of First Nation traditional uses and also has many rare and endangered species. This summer we organized walks led by local experts. If you want to learn more about these fascinating landscapes contact us at the office!
The three busy bees would like to give John Scull our deepest thanks for all his good humor and guidance this summer.
The Steward
Summer 2008
Underwater Gardening: Cowichan Bay
Rows of eelgrass are spreading the seeds of change…
Eelgrass planted with 1m spacing
Taken during transplant by: Jamie Smith Coastal Photography Studio
Among the richest and most productive of all biotic communities, eelgrass provides a diversity of habitats for marine life:
On June 27th and 28th a strong team of over 50 volunteers, coordinated by the Cowichan Land Trust, helped transplant 2000 eelgrass shoots in Cowichan Bay. SeaChange Marine Conservation • 80% of commercially important fish Society and Precisions Identification led the depend on eelgrass during part of their biological methods and taught helpers how to attach lifecycle anchors made out of iron onto the eelgrass shoots at • Pacific herring and smelts deposit their Hecate Park boat launch. Anchors will hold the eggs on eelgrass blades eelgrass roots in place underground and give them a • Birds, fish, crabs, snails and several other chance to establish and spread by seed and rhizomes. organisms depend on eelgrass for food On Saturday, many volunteers stayed longer than and shelter they had originally signed up for, enjoying the personal satisfaction of knowing they are Eelgrass helps to slow coastline erosion contributing to bringing back a vital marine ecosystem. For more info: Funders: BC Conservation Foundation, Pacific Salmon Foundation and CVRD
The Steward
Summer 2008
AGM Notice:
When: SEPTEMBER 17th , 7pm Where: Cowichan Land Trust Office: 55 Station St, Duncan
Our community outreach during this summer has unveiled some of the barriers that locals face when they try to protect nature. The main barriers that we identified are lack of: technical expertise, time, funding, support from organizations / municipalities and neighborhood coordination. In order to help break down these barriers, we are now focusing on starting, revitalizing and supporting environmental stewardship groups. In order to support community environmental stewardship groups, we will be contacting various groups and individuals who want to start groups and begin identifying their concerns and visions. We will be providing workshops to facilitate dialogue, coordination, technical skills, resources, and planning. We also hope to help create a common understanding of the human and biological community. Workshops will be provided based on the needs of groups. If you already are, or want to be in a stewardship group and would like support please contact the office at: 250-746-0227. Please stay tuned to for workshop announcements.
In Memory of Charles Poole… A Debt of Gratitude
By John Scull
Charles Poole was a Director of the Cowichan Land Trust from 1996 until he resigned, for health reasons, in 2007. He passed away this March. As I consider the loss of my friend and associate, my principle emotion is gratitude, for his friendship, humour, integrity, and good will, and for his tremendous contribution to our organization and to conservation in the Cowichan region. His deep understanding of business and accounting resulted in the Land Trust acquiring a reputation for integrity and financial responsibility with our supporters, local government, and other conservancies and land trusts. He took a lead role as the Land Trust representative on the committee to purchase the Cowichan Garry Oak Preserve, assisted with the purchase of the Holland Creek Trail Corridor, and took an active role in all our conservation activities and projects. Charles is an example to all of us, showing the importance of contributing our skills and our time to the community. Through his work at the Land Trust he has left a lasting legacy in the community and in the hearts of those of us who were privileged to work with him.
Come learn the skills required to evaluate, measure and monitor your local potential fish-bearing streams! The workshop runs from 9am-4pm each day, with instructor Dave Clough. Lunch provided. More info available at Participants are asked to donate $60 at the time of registration and they can purchase the Streamkeepers Manual for a discount price of $20. Sponsor for this program: PCAF
The Steward
Summer 2008
A Message from the President
At the beginning of May our Board of Directors started creating a Five Year Plan for the Land Trust.
Nature Cowichan Network
Our new logo shows that the Cowichan Land Trust is a partner in the Nature Cowichan Network, an informal cooperative organization created by the Cowichan Valley Naturalists’ Society. The first activity of the Nature Cowichan Network has been the creation of a web portal at We encourage our members to consult the website often to learn about local natureenjoyment and conservation activities. Thanks to ourVolunteers!
This plan is built on the following Mission Statement that your Board adopted shortly after the last Annual General Meeting: We help to take care of the land and water in the Cowichan Valley for the benefit of all life in the future. We do this by acquiring land, entering into conservation agreements, and by providing education and support to individuals and other groups who are caring for the land. Our Five Year Vision: To become recognized within five years as a key partner in the acquisition of land to enhance the quality of the human and natural environment in the Cowichan Valley.
An attractive fundraising card has been created to be distributed to visitors through the local hospitality industry. It is hoped that Nature Cowichan will become an effective fundraising tool for local conservation groups. Our members and others are invited to contribute suggestions, information for the guides, events, and digital pictures for the slide show. To make suggestions or ask questions, email Stewardship Support Project Funders: Vancouver Foundation, Pacific Salmon
Foundation, BC Transmission Corporation, Habitat Conservation Trust Fund
Creekside Landowners Restoring Fish Habitat
The Cowichan Land Trust has visited 25 landholders so far this summer (for the Stewardship Support Project) and met some amazing stewards who we truly respect for their contribution to protecting valuable ecological features. Sometimes the properties are so wildly beautiful we go into a state of awe and need to be pinched. Other times, people’s dreams for improving their neighborhood’s environmental health leave us wishing we had a magic wand: Poof- your invasive species are gone- presto! Porter Creek offers one situation where we hope to wave a ‘funded wand’ to assist locals in creating a side-channel for fish habitat near the mouth of the creek. The area has a natural cover of creek side vegetation to drool over and despite their busy lives, the property owners are continuing a restoration project that has included a management plan in 1996, salmonid habitat assessment and restoration plan in 1999, side channel design in 2000 and a vegetation prescription in 2005. They are eco-heroes!