The Matson Mattocks and the HAT restoration crew took to the stunning Garry Oak meadow on Sept 13th to give the ecosystems a helping hand.
Matson Conservation Area is a 2.4-acre property in Esquimalt and contains Victoria harbour's last patch of rare and endangered Garry oak ecosystems. Work from HAT, Matson Mattocks, Nature Conservancy of Canada and the Township of Esquimalt over the past few years has made a massive positive impact on this endangered ecosystem. Most recently the 2021 HAT Restoration crew has been removing grass thatch from the meadows to allow space for native plants to grow (Instagram Post). As the grass plants die back at the end of the year, they can create thick matted layers of thatch that prevent seeds of native plants from reaching the soil and germinating. Prior to 1850 first nation groups would manage grass thatch with prescribed burns (GOERT, 2013). If you are interested in learning more about it here is a great podcast (Indigenous Fire Ecology - Good Fire), a video highlighting the importance of these burns (Youtube) & an article about . Manually cutting the grass thatch is a slightly more labour-intensive substitute for these burns but does the job of clearing meadows ready for native plants.
On Sept 13th, HAT, Matson Mattocks and Abby from Satinflower Nurseries spread some native plant seeds to give the ecosystem a helping hand. The seeds that were spread were a mix of native species (listed below), recommend and dedicated by this amazing instruction PDF put out by Satinflower Nurseries (Link to PDF). We hope that these seeds can take root, germinate and bed down for the winter ready to come alive in April / May 2022. We'll be sure to share the progress of this beautiful ecosystem. For now please enjoy these photos of the seeding as well as a list of the before-mentioned Reading and podcast.
Name of native plants: Sea Blush, Woolly Sunflower, Farewell-to-Spring, Small-Flowered Blue-eyed Mary, Yarrow
History of Matson CA: http://www.hat.bc.ca/success-stories/development-matson-lands
Best Management Practices for Garry Oak ecosystems: https://goert.ca/wp/wp-content/uploads/GOERT-Best-Management-Practices-2013.pdf
Satinflower Nurseries - Sowing Your Seed - https://satinflower.ca/blogs/learn/seeding-instructions?_pos=1&_sid=d9f289459&_ss=r
Video on importance of burns and why they are "getting worse" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0o6ezu_h6iE