SALT MARSH INFO SESSION
Greenways’ ‘Campbell River Estuary Mill Pond Restoration’ is focusing on bringing back salt marsh and eel grass beds, the original habitat of the estuary prior to the industrial use of the area. The estuary being one of the major nature magnets in our community, many people will be thrilled to learn more about Greenways’ project at our upcoming information session on Saturday, June 18, between 10am and 12/noon. Community members will have the chance to meet with Greenways staff and other restoration experts at the Baikie Island parking lot at the head of Robinson Road – click here for directions.
T H E M I L L P O N D
Greenways Land Trust has been working behind the scenes to bring an exciting new restoration project to the Baikie Island Nature Reserve – further ecological restoration of the “Mill Pond”. This area used to be a large salt marsh. The marsh was dug out to provide log storage and booming for the forest industry from the 1950s onwards.
S A L T M A R S H E S
Are incredibly valuable habitat for all sorts of wildlife.
Create areas where juvenile salmon can hide from predators like seals and fish-eating ducks;
Provide habitat for many rare plant species, including the Vancouver Island beggarticks – an endangered species that lives in the CR Estuary; and,
Capture and cycle nutrients into the estuary ecosystem – feeding invertebrates and other decomposers, which in turn become food for other species such as juvenile salmon.
T H E P R O J E C T
Aerial photo analysis has shown that the CR Estuary lost over 20% of its salt marsh habitat during the 20th century. Greenways is excited to be restoring more salt marsh and eelgrass habitat within the “Mill Pond” this summer. Eelgrass beds are also excellent juvenile salmon habitat with similar ecological function to salt marsh, just lower in the intertidal/subtidal zone. Since December 2020, we have been working with partners including the Wei Wai Kum First Nation, the City of Campbell River, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the Nature Conservancy of Canada, several different specialist biologists, and hydraulic engineers to develop a restoration plan. We plan to move some of the material that was dug out to create the “Mill Pond” back into the pond – some of this material is still on-site on “Carolyn’s Spit,” and has grown back into a disturbed habitat type of small alders and the invasive Himalayan blackberry. Turning this area back into salt marsh and eelgrass beds will improve the ecological functioning of the estuary significantly.
Greenways has been working with both the Weiwaikum Guardian Watchmen and an arborist contractor to remove trees that needed to be removed for the restoration to take place. We did this earlier in the spring so that we had minimal impact on any bird species that might have wanted to use these trees for nesting (many of the trees were small, and poor nesting habitat, but we chose to be proactive!)