The goal of the Craigflower Good Neighbours Project is to engage our community in solutions to significant local conservation issues and to promote community appreciation of healthy natural habitats. HAT staff will visit many interested landowners in key areas to provide personalized landscape prescriptions on topics like soil erosion, pests, forest health, water quality, composting, and invasive species. By helping property owners pursue sustainable land uses HAT can foster volunteer stewardship around the most rare and sensitive natural areas.
HAT will be offering workshops and free confidential property visits to help residents of this important Victoria watershed steward nature. Discover:
- how to use attractive and low-maintenance native plants to attract birds and butterflies;
- how to care for natural habitats on your land;
- ways to outsmart deer, rats, squirrels, and geese;
- alternatives to synthetic fertilizers and pesticides;
- and much more.
Contact HAT biologist Todd Carnahan to schedule your free visit today. 250 893 6099
2011 Bilston Watershed Good Neighbours project
Update Sept 2011: 50 private land care visits completed around Bilston Creek! Visited landowners can expect follow up email prescriptions and snail mail materials this spring.
This year HAT's ongoing Good Neighbours Project focused on the watersheds draining to the Witty's Lagoon and Albert Head areas in the Western Communities.
Locals know that Metchosin is full of Garry oak meadows, older Douglas-fir forests, trout streams, and the incredible Witty's Lagoon Regional Park bordering the Juan de Fuca Strait. HAT and our local partner groups offered free family events at Witty's Beach and other amazing places in the Bilston Creek area this summer. We visited landowners who wanted to learn more about their land and how to protect some of Canada's rarest and endangered ecosystems.
Do you live in the area shown on the map below? You may be eligible for a free and confidential land care visits with HAT biologist Todd Carnahan.
Thank you to our funders: Van City, Habitat Conservation Trust Fund and BC Gaming
This year's events included:
March 11 - Invasive plant workshop for Westmont Elementary School. Students are adopting Ruby Creek that flows into Witty's Lagoon.
March 18 - Species at Risk in Metchosin presentation by HAT biologists Todd Carnahan and Kristiina Ovaska. Metchosin Municipal Hall. Snakes! Turtles! Blue Slugs!
April 16 - HAT booth at Westshore Mall with the Bilston Watershed Habitat Protection Association.
April 16 & 17 - Swan Lake Native Plant Sale Saturday and Sunday - free Native Plant Guide
April 17 - Gardening with Nature (10am -12 | Guided Walk) featuring HAT biologist Todd Carnahan and CRD Parks interpreter Heather Chatwin at Witty's Lagoon - recieve a free copy of Gardening with Native Plants! to register: 250 995 2428
April 17 - Witty's Beach Clean Up (1:30 to 3pm) Meet at end of Witty's Beach Rd. Contact person: Todd (250) 893 6099.
April 21 - Earth Day at City Centre Park in Langford! Off the Grid Music and Art Festival
April 30 - Metchosin Bioblitz! Metchosin residents will conduct a 24 hour search for life in their neighbourhoods. Featuring local experts on birds, bugs, bats, and blackberries! Presentations starting at 7pm in the Municipal Hall summarizing their findings. Visit the HAT table at the Community House for hot tips on where to find turtles and other species in Metchosin parks.
Tuesday, July 5 - Marine Day at Witty’s Lagoon Regional Park
Sunday, July 17 - A Taste of Wonderful Witty’s at Witty’s Lagoon Regional Park
Saturday, July 23 - Firehall Creek enhancement at Luxton Fairgrounds
August 27th - Havenwood Park Restoration
Twenty-five habitat stewards volunteered their time on August 27th to learn about the Park's habitats and how to care for them. Local neighbours are working towards a "Friends of Havenwood Park" group to provide ongoing assistance to this park's furry and feathered friends. HAT staff, Colwood Parks staff, and locals removed invasive and noxious invasive species and explored the beauty of the park, which is protected by a HAT conservation covenant.
Havenwood Park is a 16.5 hectare (40 acre) parcel of land located in Colwood, British Columbia. The park has complex topography, comprised of moderately to steeply sloped hillsides with an elevation range of 100m to 165m above sea level. It contains bedrock outcrop Garry Oak ecosystems, wetland/riparian habitat, permanent/ephemeral watercourses and a mixed cover of second growth coniferous and deciduous trees.
Sunday, September 11th - Metchosin Day - Community Celebrations! HAT is hosted by the Metchosin Environmental Advisory Committee at the Municipal Hall site.
Saturday, Sept 17th - Super Dog Day at Witty's Lagoon Regional Park
Sunday, Sept 18th - native plant workshop at Down to Earth Nursery, Happy Valley Road 11:30 am. Freee plant guide
Sunday Sept 18th - Visit the HAT booth at Luxton Fairgrounds between the midway and the 4x4 truck challenge
2010 Cordova Shore Good Neighbours project
Last summer HAT’s award-winning Good Neighbours Project went to the beach! We helped over 40 residents in the Island View area care for the rare and beautiful habitats of the Cordova Shore through free family events and confidential land care visits.
Land Care Visits
Landowners on the east side of the Saanich Peninsula, particularly those within five kilometres of Island View Beach, TIXEN Spit, or Tetayut ("Shady") Creek, were eligible to receive a habitat information package, plus a free and confidential visit by our staff biologist. We helped residents identify and solve many common land management problems including invasive weeds, erosion, drainage, and pest issues. Residents living in or near sensitive natural habitats appreciated our simple and effective suggestions for protecting the natural values of their land and local parks.
More Information about Cordova Shore/TIXEN
Although the Cordova Shore is small in size and isolated from other protected areas, its threatened ecosystems are home to many rare and endangered species. There are currently six federally-listed endangered species and several other at-risk species living within the park boundaries. Several of these endangered plants and animals are of significant historical and traditional value to the Tsawout First Nations Band. The Tsawout reserve is adjacent to the park, and suffers the same species loss and watershed contamination as the surrounding area. The Sandhill/Tetayut ("Shady") Creek, which flows across Central Saanich, also drains into the Cordova Shore threatened estuary.
The CRD has recently announced a park expansion of 10 hectares, however the amount of protected natural area remains small and is particularly vulnerable to land-use changes, such as water contamination, invasive weeds, and soil erosion. As a result, the future of many species within the park, the reserve, and the surrounding area will depend on the land use decisions of nearby private property owners. HAT’s engagement in conversation with landowners this summer is in hopes of helping neighbours to improve property management for all of the area’s sensitive natural habitats.
For event details, your habitat info package, a land care visit, or to volunteer for conservation activities:
Thanks to our funders who made the 2010 Good Neighbours project possible:
EcoAction (Environment Canada); the Province of BC; Walmart-Evergreen Green Grant; RBC Foundation Blue Water Project; and Shell Environment Fund.
2009 ~ Millstream Watershed Good Neighbours Project
Millstream Watershed Good Neighbours 2009. This project enhanced and protected one of Greater Victoria’s most important watersheds, and developed better community understanding of the green infrastructure benefits provided by healthy natural ecosystems. Habitat Acquisition Trust used our proven landowner contact methodology, public events, and targeted re-vegetation to increase community stewardship of Millstream Creek.Key funders of this project include EcoAction and the Habitat Conservation Trust Fund.Project partners include Capital Regional District, Township of View Royal, Department of Fisheries and Oceans, and Goldstream Hatchery.
2008 ~ Knockan Hill Good Neighbours Project
2007 ~ Rithet’s Bog Good Neighbours Project
In 2007 our award-winning Good Neighbours Project focuses on Rithet’s Bog Conservation Area and the surrounding neighbourhood. Over 500 Broadmead residents and local businesses will learn about this biodiversity wetspot! HAT is working with Saanich Parks and the Rithet’s Bog Conservation Society to pursue habitat restoration goals for this unique wetland.
The 2007 Project also features:
- water quality testing and catch basin research by Camosun students;
- Streamkeepers Training for local highschool students (photo below);
- Bog tours for park visitors and free nature slide shows for strata groups;
- Boy scouts building bird boxes, removing invasive plants;
- Neighbours painting yellow fish on storm drains to protect salmon;
- Free naturescaping prescriptions and flowering shrubs for landowners;
- Help for local businesses to reduce toxic effluents in grey water.
Did you know that years ago farmers put wide “bog shoes” on draught horses to plow the Rithet’s muck? Check out our Rithet’s Bog booklet (PDF) with bog history, wetland species, land care tips, and important contact information.
Streamkeepers instructor Susan Low checks a minnow trap with highschool students as bog visitors stare in awe.
The Rithet’s Bog Conservation Society found in 2003 that the Bog’s water quality could support salmon, but the Gabo Creek tunnel under the Pat Bay highway prevents their return to this former spawning habitat. Despite the lost habitat, Rithet’s Bog provides critical summer flows that help support salmon fry in the Colquitz River.
2005 ~ The Sharp-tailed Snake Project (ongoing)
Sharpies are a Species At Risk, which means that this rare and secretive snake may disappear from Canada due to habitat loss. Working with the Sharp-tailed Snake Recovery Team and herpetologist Christian Engelstoft, HAT contacts landowners on Pender Island and Southern Vancouver Island around some of the eight known populations of this tiny reptile. Our goal is to discover and protect their habitat by working with landowners to monitor potential snake habitat. It worked! Participating landowners in Metchosin, the Highlands, and South Pender Island have recently found resident sharp-tailed snakes through our monitoring project. HAT is now contacting residents in areas where Sharpies may live based on airphoto analysis of suitable habitat. Mayne, Pender, and Saturna Islands, as well as parts of the Highlands contain these areas of interest. Download the Sharpie Booklet (PDF) for more information.
Think you’ve seen one? Learn how to positively identify a Sharpie.
Here Herpetologist Christian Engelstoft places a cover object in potential habitat for a resident landowner to monitor for Sharpies. This method avoids disturbance of natural habitat features like rotten logs and rocks.
2006 Matson Conservation Area
In 2005 HAT brought the Good Neighbours Project to the Matson Conservation Area in Esquimalt. Complementing our work in 2003 at High Rock Cairn Park, this year's outreach focused on urban habitat protection and Garry oak ecosystems. The fun began in May when HAT launched the Matson Speakers Series featuring recognized experts like Bug researcher Claudia Copley from the Royal BC Museum and Songhees Land Manager Cheryl Bryce speaking on traditional native land use. Local West Bay residents were joined on summer excursions through the woods and helping to restore endangered wildflower meadows with the Friends of Matson Lands.
- Colquitz River Linear Park
- Durrell Creek (tributary of Colquitz)
- Mill Hill Regional Park, a 50-hectare preserve of Garry oak meadow in Langford.
- Uplands Municipal Park, a popular deep soil Garry oak ecosystem in north Oak Bay;
- Swan Lake ~ Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary in Saanich, featuring marshy lowlands and rocky Garry oak meadows;
- Highrock Cairn Park, Esquimalt's largest area of intact Garry oak ecosystem.
- Esquimalt Lagoon, a federal migratory bird sanctuary in the City of Colwood;
- Oak Haven Municipal Park, a Garry oak rocky outcrop in the District of Central Saanich, where HAT now holds a conservation covenant;
- Mount Douglas Park, a large forested municipal park in the District of Saanich that contains Garry Oak rock outcrop habitat and mature Douglas-fir forests that shelter a creek to the beach.
- The Tod Creek watershed was our first Good Neighbours Project. HAT helped to form the Friends of Tod Creek, a group of landowners committed to protecting their home habitats.