Gabriola’s Streamkeepers are moving ahead with mapping and cleanup of a number of Gabriola streams, Trustee Gisele Rudischer said Friday, and will use a number of approaches and resources in doing so.
The decision to diversify approaches came in part out of a discussion about a request from the group to the Local Trust Committee (LTC) to identify the landowners along Mallet and Descanso Creeks and Wag Brook, Rudischer said. Fish have been seen in all three of the streams, she said.
Speaking to a letter from Streamkeeper Adrian Vance at their Sept. LTC meeting at the WI Hall, Trustee Sheila Malcolmson said that the newly-formed group provides hands-on advocacy and rehabilitation for streams and wetlands. She said the group has decided that if they are going to do any streamside work they want to get landowner permission, but first need to know who the landowners are. They wondered if the Trust can provide that information, she said.
Planner Chloe Fox said that the streams the group has chosen to work on “aren’t ones that we have mapped”. She said it would take a fair amount of staff time to find the landowners.
Rudischer said that would impact the time spent on the projects list. LTC Chair David Graham said that the return on that time would be “pretty high”, as volunteers would be doing most of the work. Rudischer agreed.
An audience member said that the integrated Land Management Bureau (ILMB) would know who the landowners are. Trustees noted that the Ministry of the Environment might have useful information as well.
The LTC asked staff to provide them with an estimate of how much time it would take to provide the requested information. They also agreed to share the maps they do have with the Streamkeepers.
Rudischer passed along that information at Thursday’s Streamkeepers meeting, she said on Friday. She said the Streamkeepers decided to work on mapping Descanso Creek, as Streamkeeper Jethro Baker knows and has talked to most of the landowners along the creek.
Rudischer said the group will also work on “Goodhue Creek, which runs through the north end from Hogan Lake through various subdivisions, such as Wildwood etc., and Castell Creek in the Lock Bay area”, which have already been mapped and identified as riparian areas. “A request will be made to the Islands Trust for owner information along these streams”, Rudischer said, and Gabriola Lands and Trails Trust “will be asked to help in getting the missing owner information for the Descanso Creek”.
Rudischer said the group also scheduled a clean-up for Mallet Creek which “runs down the middle of the ravine in a highway allowance created when Mr. Rooks subdivided his land on the water side of Taylor Bay Rd. near the ferry. No owner information is necessary so this can move forward immediately”.
Rudischer said the group wants to raise $700 to hold a Streamkeepers course on Gabriola, focussed on working on a Gabriola stream. While a few members of the group could instead attend a course in Nanaimo, Rudischer said, “it’s preferable to hold a course here as it would generate some interest in streams on Gabriola”. She said the group will also need some money for field equipment, and will contact other Streamkeepers groups “to get ideas on how to get funding”.
“They intend to liaise with Brenda Peacock”, Rudischer added, “to work with the Grade 7 students with a view to educating them on stream health, etc.”.
Malcolmson said at the LTC meeting that Streamkeepers are “a Department of Fisheries and Ocean project that has been really successful all over Canada”. She said it was “fantastic” that there are “young volunteers who want to do this on Gabriola too”.
Malcolmson said as the Streamkeepers are finding fish in the streams they are investigating perhaps those streams should be included in the Riparian Areas Regulation.
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