Rick Hatch, Assistant Supervisor of the Parks Natural Areas Section at Saanich Parks and Recreation Department, reports:
I surveyed the CRD construction site for native plants yesterday. There are a decent amount of Sword fern that can be salvaged; we’ve had good success with relocating Sword ferns on our many Douglas Creek restoration sites. I would also like to salvage that small patch of 2-3 foot Grand Firs in the South East corner; there are 15-20 that would be worth digging up. In my experience conifers are a bit sensitive to being relocated but it’s worth a try. Other species that we can salvage include: rose, Dull Oregon grape, and Snowberry. The large, mature Ocean spray would be great to relocate but I don’t think the success rate would be very high. In all, I think that there are 60-80 plants that we can save which is definitely worth the effort.
There a couple of concerns that I have; the first is the dormant seed source from invasive plant species, especially Scotch broom. There will be thousands of seeds buried in the soil within several metres of each mature plant. We would need to avoid digging any native plant that is within a certain distance from the mature Scotch brooms. Secondly, the success of the salvage program will depend greatly on the time of year that we do the digging. The plants have been under moisture stress for half a year now so we need to wait until the heavy rains set in and the plants have settled into the dormancy; plus digging is much easier when the soil is moist.
The timing of CRD’s project will dictate when we can salvage; I feel that with a few staff, some community volunteers and maybe a class from a local school, we can get a lot of work done over several hours. It won’t take too much time for staff and I to mark out suitable planting sites to prepare for the salvage work party.
Parks Natural Areas Section
Parks and Recreation Department
District of Saanich
1040 McKenzie Ave
Victoria, BC V8P 2L4