Wildwood Watershed Landowners Learn Frog-Friendly Creek Stewardship

Wildwood Watershed Landowners Learn Frog-Friendly Creek Stewardship

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By Paige Erickson-McGee & Wendy Tyrrell

On November 30, 2018, HAT hosted the workshop Creating Frog Friendly Spaces with Native Plants aimed toward landowners with creeks or wetland areas on their properties. HAT was thrilled to have 22 registered workshop participants, including 10 Habitat Stewards in the Wildwood Creek Watershed. The workshop was held on a HAT Conservation Covenant property in Metchosin where the landowner is also a Habitat Steward with the Good Neighbours Program.

The expert on site was Kristen Miskelly, local Restoration Specialist and botanist with Saanich Native Plants Nursery and Consulting. The 5-hour workshop included plant identification of common riparian invasive plants, such as creeping buttercup and yellow archangel or lamium. This particular site had a moderate infestation of Lamium galeobdolon in Cripple Creek running along Rocky Point Road.

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Kristen Miskelly presented to the group on restoration techniques that can be adopted and utilized by private landowners that have riparian features on their properties. Emphasis was placed on understanding the site, the hydrology regime and looking at plant species that lend to enhancing amphibian and wildlife habitat by providing valuable food sources, cover opportunities and nutrient balance to the site and soil.

Paige led the second half of the workshop and talked about the wildlife that we would expect to see in a riparian setting such as Cripple Creek. She talked about all of the amphibian species that we have in our local area, and their particular habitat requirements, such as food sources, nesting habitats and cover needs. Paige showed images of all of our local salamanders and the tree and red-legged frogs using brochures and HAT’s Wildlife Stewardship Guides.

Paige was successful in finding a Western Red-backed Salamander taking cover in one of the larger sword ferns along Cripple Creek (photo below). Because the site was very wet and susceptible to damage from trampling, the workshop was held near the creek, to reduce impact. Kristen and Paige did not take the participants around to the site - rather used observation and dialogue to engage participants and enhance learning and experience.

groupfrog3 salamanderThe lamium was carefully removed from the creek site guided by Kristen Miskelly, approximately 8m3 was removed from the creek and disposed of at the Hartland Landfill, as per regional regulations. In addition, the volunteers and stewards planted 100 native riparian plants including trees, shrubs, and groundcovers along the creek to enhance plant, food and habitat diversity for amphibian species along Cripple Creek. The volunteers also made and placed deer fencing for over half of the plants to deter deer browse.

Wendy led the second half of the workshop which was focused on getting plants in the ground. We had over 100 plants including sword fern, red-osier dogwood, salmonberry and Pacific water parsley. Wendy reviewed the species that were going to be installed, and the best location along the creek depending on moisture needs for each species. Some were happy to have ‘wet feet’ - or be planted right along the edge of the creek or even in the water (water specific site in which they planted). This also helped to ensure that the plantings were randomized, and that clumping was avoided overall.

groupfrog3 mhowA small team of participants took on the challenge of making deer fencing, led by one of HAT’s core volunteers - Margaret How. Margaret (photo right) showed them how to measure and cut the wire, and attach the stakes as they are put in. By finishing time, all of the plants were in the ground and those needing protection had nice fencing around them.

Looking into the future, we have scheduled plans of monitoring of planting area annually, including any resprouting of L. galeobdolon population during covenant monitoring. We are very appreciative of our funders including District of Metchosin, Metchosin Foundation, BC Gaming, Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation, EcoAction Community Fund, and Sitka Foundation.

Photo below: Wendy Tyrrell and Jordana Herron

 

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