Vancouver Island Wardens Meeting, March,2011

Posted March 9, 2011 | Categories : Invasive Species,Issues,Warden Meetings,Warden Reports |


Click to enlarge images in this article.

By Steve Pratt, BC Parks

A Vancouver Island Region Wardens Meeting was held on March 9, 2011. In attendance were: Genevieve Singleton, Honeymoon Bay ER; Dave Polster, Mt. Tzuhalem ER; Jenny Balke, Tsitika River ER; Helen & Robbie Robinson, Comox Lake Bluffs ER; Maggie Little, Bowser ER; Bill Merilees, Hudson Rocks ER; Garry Fletcher, Race Rocks ER; Marilyn Lambert, Oak Bay Islands ER; Al Gaensbauer, #4 Lasqueti Island ER; Connie Miller Retzer, MNRO; Dave Forman, BC Parks; Paul Linton, Mt. Tuam, Mt. Maxwell ERs; Roger Allen, Ballingall Islets ER; Katherine Backlund, Woodley Range ER; Erica McClaren, BC Parks; Judy & Harold Carlson, Sutton Pass ER; Don Closson, BC Parks; Vi Chungranes, Bowser ER; Ron Quilter, BC Parks; Drew Chapman, BC Parks; Katrina Stipec, Ministry of Environment CDC; Judy Millar, BC Parks; Lucas Harris, BC Parks; and Steve Pratt, BC Parks.

Ron Quilter started the day with an update on what is new in the world of BC Parks. Ron provided some information on the staffing and structure of the organization. He spoke about some of the challenges of managing ERs.

The ER Wardens gave presentations on issues in their ERs. At future meetings more time should be allotted for this session. Here are the notes from these presentations in point

Mt. Tzuhalem: Dave Polster, Syd Watts, Wardens

  •  Invasive plants, broom removal, HSP Funds to remove broom.
  • Dave prepared a report for MOE on Forest Encroachment.
  •  Douglas Fir removed to historic levels in 2010.
  •  Meadows decreased 50% over the years.
  • Should we be conducting management in ERs, or let nature take its course?
  •  Needs funding for fencing.
  • Over abundance of rabbitsand deer.
  • Wants to have research results of permits when done and provided to BCPs (such as lichen).

Honeymoon Bay: Genevieve Singleton, Warden

  • Boundaries need to be defined and she asks for help GPSing the reserve (mentoring?)
  • FORREX training issue was discussed.
  • Reserve shrinking, loss of approximately 50%. Pink lilies and other plants. Sutton Creek Bridge erosion a problem.

Tsitika River: Jenny Balke, Warden

  • Reserve is small. Increased pressure from neighbours. No awareness of Reserve.
  • Trespass issues; illegal trail use by hunters and recreationalists.
  •  Lack of Parks presence.
  • Blow down, logging up to boundaries.


Comox Lake Bluffs: Helen Robinson, Warden

  • Protecting rare plants, Manzanita, Least Moonwort.
  • ER website has list of plants.
  • Problems with motorized vehicles, ATVs, motorcycles.
  • Beaches are popular
  • ER signs, vandalized, shot at.
  • Work with Fish and Game Club for joint patrols.
  • Install signage at boat ramps,
  • Fish and Game Club and Cumberland side.

Bowser: Maggie Little & Vi Chungranes, Wardens

  • 116 ha.   Old growth forest coastal DF and WH.
  •    Supports red listed zig zag.

UBC  Endowment Landsresearch site.

  • Dumping, stolen goods,
  • hunting camping, fires and grow-ops.
  • Possible Elk poaching.
  • Removal of natural resources,
  • salal, cedar bark, mushroom
  • picking, firewood cutting.
  • Illegal logging – Parks and Forests helped clean up.
  • Need signage on highway.
  • Need funding for inventory.
  • Needs help with inventory (mentoring?)

Hudson Rocks: Bill Merilees, Warden

  • Few Glaucous Wing Gulls.
  • Five Fingers and Snake Island.
  • Black Oyster catchers and
  • Canada Geese nesting more on islands.
  • Complex issues, garbage management, Snake Island
  • IBA, propose expansion.Pelagic Cormorants nesting but not present now.

Oak Bay Islands: Marilyn Lambert, Warden

  • Many rare plants.
  • People not paying attention to signs.
  • Whale watching boats disturbing nesting birds.
  • Trembling aspen encroachment.
  • Marilyn has been doing outreach including with whale watching companies and the public.

Sutton Pass: Judy Carlson, Warden

  • Signage in disrepair.
  • Dammed pond.
  • Runoff from highway.
  • Rare ferns, shady area. Lay out sample plots for ferns.
  • Could use help with monitoring (mentoring?)

Race Rocks: Garry Fletcher, Warden

  • Race Rocks web site.
  • Pearson College.– $80,000-$100, 000 to run the island.
  • Alternate energy sources.
  • Webcams present.
  • Elephant seals.
  • Whale watchers are getting better.
  • Emissions from boats and impacts on whales.
  • Garry showed some slides.

#4 Lasqueti Island: Al Gaensbauer, Warden

  • Driest plants in CDF.
  • Prickly Pear cactus and
  • mountain juniper (2nd largest in BC
  • No problems, overgrown skid roads from logging days
  • Lots of signs.
  • Feral sheep, goats, cattle.
  • E 1000′ needs maintenance.
  • Information collected, needs repository and access to enhance information.
  • Funding sources.
  • Signage issues.Enforcement.
  • 10 ha. fenced and needs to be maintained.

Mt. Maxwell, Mt. Tuam: Paul Linton, Warden

  • Paint ballers. Dogs.
  •  Rock cairns.Illegal trails.Trampling rare plants. Golf range.
  • Would like to ban large groups, Parks to talk to local nature club about this.
  • Camping, garbage and invasive plants like broom, foxglove, mullein outcompeting a rare violet
  • A new updated ER pamphlet is required.
  • Fire retardant used in ER has impacted rare plants, smells bad.
  • campsites and party spots.
  • Would like to fence out deer estimated at $60K.
  • Cover boards for sharp tailed snake.
  • Western Oak looper also killing the Douglas-fir

Woodley Range: Katherine Backlund, Warden

  • ER in Ladysmith.
  • BirdsFootTrefoil.
  • Needs new signs.
  • Presented slide show.

Connie Miller Retzer, MNRO

  • Breeding BirdAtlas.  Mitlenatch (notanER).

Judy Millar, Terrestrial Ecologist, BC Parks

  • Visited all ERs in CDF zone in 1995.
  • Started with BC Parks in 1990Worked as an ecosystems biologist and now is with the Conservation Section in Victoria with ER Warden responsibilities such as reviewing applications prior to them being sent to regions.
  • Lots of student warden applications. Initiated Warden ride-along mentoring program. Defining Ecological Integrity. Citizen Science Monitoring. Auditor General’s Report and BC Park’s action plan.
  • Judy previewed Ecological Reserve presentation and provided copies for Wardens. Yes, would like to support- invasive plants, inventories.

Lucas Harris, Project / Research Assistant, BC Parks

  • Lucas introduced the Parks 100 initiative, Ecological Reserve Warden Day.
  • Parks 100 Conservation Events Fact Sheet
  • As part of Parks 100, BC Parks is providing funding for a variety of conservation events that highlight conservation work taking place in provincial parks and protected areas.
  • Ecological Reserve Warden Day

Ecological Reserve Wardens are volunteers that serve an invaluable role in the long-term protection of Ecological Reserves. As part of Parks 100, BC Parks is facilitating Ecological Reserve Warden Days highlighting Ecological Reserves and Wardens across the province. The goal of Ecological Reserve Warden Days is to inform members of the public about Ecological Reserves, their role in the parks and protected area system and the special nature of a particular reserve. Events could focus on various activities such as:

  • Educational field trips
  • Inventory Monitoring
  • Creating a display on an ecological reserve and then attending other community events such as farmer’s markets, environmental fairs, etc.
  • BC Parks staff and/or Ecological Reserve Wardens can create an event to highlight a specific Ecological Reserve. The goal is to include the public in the activities of a Warden and inform them about how important volunteer Wardens are to the continued conservation of these special areas. Preference will be given to
  • event proposals that occur in Ecological Reserves that are appropriate for public access and relatively close to developed areas, in order to make events more accessible to the public.

Connie Miller Retzer, Ecosystems Biologist and Erica McClaren, BC Parks Conservation Specialist, spoke about Mitlenatch Island Volunteer program and had a brainstorming session with the Wardens about other potential projects within ERs. Here are Erica’s notes from the session:

Brainstorming Session Notes from ER Warden Meeting

  • Question: How can BC Parks facilitate inventory, monitoring and research in Ecological Reserves?
  • 1. Training around invasive plant removal techniques and timing. a. invasive_plants.php
  • 2. Need BC Parks to provide previous inventory/ monitoring data that have been collected within ERs to Wardens so that Wardens can assess information gaps.
  •  Action: ER Wardens would like Area Supervisors to include them in Park Use Permits and send any ecological reports that come from research in ERs under permit to Wardens.
  • a.       BC Parks recognizes this is a huge gap in their ability to properly implement conservation within PPAs. They have started trying to get some previous ecological data into online sources and these include: EcoCat: CLIR: SPI: we/
    Conservation Data Centre: wp/
  • b. They are striving to make this a priority in future to consolidate these sources and also to move forward with data collection and storage in a standardized fashion.

3. ER Wardens could go to university programs such as Resource Management Officer Training Program at Vancouver Island University to set an annual work project within ER for students.

4. ER Wardens would like to see BC Parks take the lead in providing direction to ER Wardens for how they would like data to be collected and stored.

a. Provincial Standards for data collection (with forms) for some aspects of ecological work can be found at: risc/pubs/index.html

Action: ER Wardens requested a workshop be held to train them on standardized data collection techniques and where to enter data.

5. Bioblitz with experts in different fields required to fill information gaps in ERs would be a great way to gather inventory information

a. BC Parks staff also need to ensure they receive copies of any data ER Wardens collect in personal notebooks.

6. GPS units would be a handy piece of equipment for recording occurrence data.

7. BC Parks staff need to invite University Departments to conduct research within PPAs to help close information gaps. As well, a more efficient permitting system needs to be put in place to facilitate this research.

Conservation Data Centre, Katrina Stipec, Client Request Specialist, Ministry of Environment, gave a very informative presentation on how the Conservation Data Centre works and the steps Wardens can take to input data into the system. Wardens can contact Katrina directly with questions on how to best submit or access the data.

Doug Herchmer and Tim Clermont, the volunteers for The Englishman River Mud Flats gave a short introduction to the protected area and briefed the Wardens on some of the issues and successful projects that have taken place. The group then headed over to the Mud Flats and enjoyed a tour of the area guided by Doug and Tim.



Dave Polster and Marilyn Lambert “gazing” on the filed trip to the EnglishmanRiver Flats .