Urban Restoration Walks February 2012

Three free Restoration Walks sponsored by the Restoration of Natural Systems Program.

The urban environment, particularly those areas with major changes in elevation, poses many challenges to natural ecosystems. The ravines and valleys contain creeks that are used to carry away rainwater from our streets and buildings, resulting in heavy water flows in winter that scour creek bottoms and erode banks. The hills are prime areas for residential development and recreational use, leading to habitat destruction and the introduction of invasive species. Restoring Highs and Lows describes a ravine and two mountains in Greater Victoria, the challenges they face, and current restoration initiatives. Come and see the issues first hand as well as what is being done to restore them.

Walk leaders: Val Schaefer and Jessica Miles and a local expert for each site.

Mystic Vale; February 9th, 10AM and 1PM

Located on the campus of the University of Victoria, Mystic Vale is a ravine formed by Hobbs Creek.
The creek is regularly flooded by water from stormdrains which has left the upper part of the creek
uninhabited by fish, created major slope stability issues and silted the lower reaches of the creek.
Mystic Vale is also heavily infested with invasive plant species. Led by Patrick Lucey of Aqua-Tex Scientific Consulting Ltd, walk participants will see the firm’s most recent restoration efforts of stabilizing the creek’s banks and altering the pond structure to allow for riparian growth and recreational use.

Mount Douglas; February 16, 10AM and 1PM

Mount Douglas is one of the sites being restored by the City of Saanich’s Garry Oak Restoration
Project (GORP). Restoration has focused primarily on invasive species removal and monitoring on the
summit. There are high populations of European rabbits that pose challenges to plantings of native
species. The walk will showcase the restoration activities that have taken place at this popular recreation site and will be led by a member of the Friends of Mt Douglas.

Mount Tolmie; February 23, 10AM and 1PM

Mount Tolmie, like Mount Douglas, is a GORP site which contains many invasive species, garden
species and human impacts. Although controlled burning is a recommended practice in restoring
Garry oak ecosystems, it is not permitted within the city because of the potential danger. In 2005,
however, there was a fire on the mountain which has provided an interesting opportunity to observe
what role controlled burning could have here. Join us for a closer look around with President of the Mount Tolmie Conservancy, Dave Lock.

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