Recent and Ongoing Protected Area Management Projects

Elder Cedar Nature Reserve

Elder Cedar Tree  

Elder Cedar Sign

Elder Cedar Nature Reserve is a 65.36-hectare property on Gabriola Island. The Reserve contains some of the last remaining mature forests on the island.

In 2014, the namesake towering Western redcedar was showing signs of distress. For years, visitors to the nature reserve have enjoyed getting close to the tree. This foot traffic compacted the soil, damaging roots critical to the tree’s health. Additionally no understory vegetation was able to grow.

Islands Trust Conservancy and covenant co-holders, Gabriola Land and Trails Trust and Nanaimo and Area Land Trust, consulted an arborist and reviewed options to maintain the tree’s health.

Initial measures taken to restore and preserve the Elder Cedar include a simple split-rail fence rurrounding the tree. An interpretive sign explains restoration efforts and encourages visitors to stay on trails. Oregon-grape and sword fern have been transplanted in the understory, and coarse woody debris were moved to the area. The compacted soil will take time to recover.

We are now considering a boardwalk as a more permanent solution to preserving the Elder Cedar while allowing visitors to get close to this amazing tree.

Forest Restoration, Trincomali Nature Sanctuary

Trincomali Nature Sanctuary  

HAT Volunteers at Trincomali Nature Sanctuary

Trincomali Nature Sanctuary on Galiano Island is a 12-hectare waterfront property providing habitat for sea birds and raptors. Prior to purchase as a nature sanctuary, a former owner had logged a large section of the property.

When the Islands Trust Conservancy and the Land Conservancy of BC purchased the property in February 2001, a second-growth mixed forest was naturally regenerating with a significant Scotch Broom infestation.

Volunteers have spent years removing invasive species from disturbed sites and from an old logging road on the property. In 2015, planting of native species began. Galiano Conservancy Association provided tools, mulch and locally-grown plant stock from their nursery, and Habitat Acquisition Trust (HAT), the property manager and covenant co-holder, brought volunteers. Volunteers planted over 140 native trees and shrubs in an area monopolized by Scotch broom for over 60 years. To protect the plants, volunteers installed deer fencing around plant clusters. Volunteer wardens continue to monitor the site for plant survival.

  Borrow Pit Restoration, Long Bay Wetland Nature Reserve

Borrow pit before restoration
Borrow Pit Restoration

Before its time as a nature reserve, the land now known as the Long Bay Wetland Nature Reserve supplied timber and other resources to a neighbouring subdivision.  That development past still paints some of the landscape, especially at the northeast corner of the Gambier reserve where an old borrow pit remains. 

After receiving the property and protecting it in 2005, the Islands Trust Conservancy took a wait-and-see approach, hoping the borrow pit would regenerate naturally.  But it seemed years of heavy machinery on the site had compacted the soil too much.  We realized the reserve would need a helping hand.  

In 2013, the Islands Trust Conservancy used an excavator to loosen the compacted soil.  With a more welcoming habitat created for plants, we spread a collection of seeds native to Howe Sound. We placed protective caging around 22 small trees on the site to allow them a chance to grow safe from browsing animals. In 2015, a work party protected 60 young cedar trees with wooden stake and stucco wire cages to prevent deer grazing.

We'll continue to monitor the site using photos to compare the pit as the seeds start to germinate, and the area - once grey - becomes green again.


Fallow Deer Management, Sidney Island Covenants

Deer browsing
An explosion of the European fallow deer population on Sidney Island in 2004 left the protected areas there barren of vegetation, with deer herds consuming every last bit of greenery they could reach. So in 2008, the Islands Trust Conservancy and other conservation partners teamed up to help the landowners begin reducing the island's deer population and protect the rare species on the island from falling victim to these hungry bellies.  
In 2010, the Islands Trust Conservancy conducted a rare plant survey on the Sidney Island covenants to identify especially sensitive areas in need of added protection from the deer. The study led to an exciting discovery of 37 populations of the endangered rigid apple moss (Bartramia stricta). In 2012, we put up fencing around some of these areas to keep remaining deer from browsing on the moss and other rare plants growing in the covenanted areas. We hope with this added protection, the slopes of Sidney will come alive each spring with colourful blankets of wildflowers and grasses.


Forest Restoration, Mt. Trematon Nature Reserve

MTNR - degraded
MTNR - planting

Except for a few spots, most of Mt. Trematon Nature Reserve's forests have naturally regenerated since the property was logged in the 1980s. In those few spots however, feral sheep browse on new tree seedlings that dare surface, disturbing this ecosystem's natural succession cycle. So the Islands Trust Conservancy has stepped forward to give these areas a helping hand. We've planted more than 200 trees in the nature reserve, kick-starting this ecosystem's efforts to mature into a thriving young forest. We've surrounded each new seedling as well as other young trees with mesh wiring to protect them from grazing sheep.

The Lasqueti community, especially students from False Bay Elementary deserve celebration because of the helping hands they've volunteered to this project. For the past two years, these community heroes have had their hands in the soil, giving each seedling a start at a new life in the protected reserve. We hope the children who've planted some of the 200 trees here will one day return as adults to find a thriving forest.


CSS - Rose

The Roses and the Garry Oak Covenant

After lovingly restoring the Garry oak meadow on their land, Bob and Fran Rose made a commitment to native species residing there, permanently protecting the habitat with a conservation covenant.

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Page last updated: 10/08/18
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