President’s Annual Report Feb 2013.

Posted July 11, 2013 | Categories : Annual Reports,Reports |

 Mike Fenger reported to the Annual General Meeting :

From The Friends of Ecological ReservesNewslatter,  Spring/Summer, 2013

I’d like to thank all our members, ER wardens and supporters of Friends of Ecological Reserves. A year ago FER had completed a number of projects which were the focus of last year’s President’s report. This year FER and everyone involved with ERs are receiving the benefits of those projects.

It has been a very good year and FER has risen to the major challenges, experienced some disappointments and increased its profile, and we believe Ecological Reserves attained a higher and fitting level of public awareness. Here is a retrospective look at 2012, linked to our five strategic goals, followed by a look ahead at 2013.

Goal 1. Support for the ER Wardens’ Program.
There have been big changes in BC Parks with regard to volunteers. There is now a Provincial Volunteers Coordinator, Becs Hoskin. We are grateful that Parks has recognized the value of volunteers and the benefit of their support. We thank Becs for attending an FER Board meeting and helping us understand the BC Parks Volunteer Strategy. arks/volunteers/. In our 2005 State of Ecological Reserves report, FER estimated that ER Wardens and FER provided government additional help equivalent to five full-time employees.

  • In addition to a Provincial Coordinator, Parks has also hired seven Regional Conservation Coordinators and these new resource persons will be of benefit to ER Wardens and to all ERs. Wardens will continue to work directly with Area Supervisors.
  • Thanks to Joanne Hirner the new Lower Mainland Conservation Coordinator for her invitation to Garry Fletcher and Mike Fenger to attend the regional ER meeting (Feb. 18, 2103) and for the opportunity to make a short presentation on what the strategic goals of Friends of Ecological Reserves are and how FER hopes to help Parks staff. ecological-reserves-in-bc/
  • There have been a number of new ER Wardens added and we have lost a few as well. The names of the ER Wardens appear on the revised FER website under each of the ER profiles. FER continues to struggle to keep the ER Wardens’ list current and remains dependent on Parks staff when there are changes to ER Wardens.
  • Thanks to Garry Fletcher who made a special week-long trip in the fall of 2012 to the Okanagan to visit most of the Okanagan ERs accompanied by their Wardens and to hear the rewards and challenges Wardens face.

Goal 2. Support Studies in ERs

  • FER continues to add existing research papers to our website, linked to ERs, as they become available. We suspect that there are studies known to ER Wardens and in regional offices that are not on the FER website. We will continue to post these when they are provided to us. Friends of Ecological Reserves depend on Wardens and Area Supervisors to fill in the gaps in the existing completed research that is absent from the FER website.
  • We thank Tory Stevens for attending an FER board meeting and clarifying elements of Parks Long Term Ecological Monitoring Program as well as Parks Conservation Risk Assessments. (See article by Tory Stevens in this LOG on page 3 for a more complete understanding).
  • FER thanks Elyse Matthews for the work she completed to reach out to University of Victoria teaching and research staff. Elyse, together with FER board members, developed and sent a survey/question- naire to teaching and research staff at the University of Victoria to learn what they know about Ecological Reserves. It was very unfortunate that the number of questionnaires returned was too low for FER to draw any conclusions about University of Victoria knowledge of ERs and their potential use for teaching and research.

Goal 3. Support Development of a Resilient Science-based ER System

  • Progress on Marine Protected Areas is frustratingly slow. There is Federal government commitment to expansion of the Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) with a target of ten percent. FER was involved with both the Race Rocks and Scott Island consultation processes, both now complete, and we are waiting to hear from the Federal government about their consultation with First Nations.
  • The Race Rocks Advisory Group appears to be on track and First Nations are expected to publically endorse this Marine Protected Area with incremental protection afforded by MPA designation. The Cape Scott advisory process is also completed and progress is expected on the Marine Wildlife Area but the level of Federal commitment is less than needed, in the eyes of the conservation community who participated in this process.
  • We have sent information to Parks Canada and their advisory board on management of Saturna Island ER. This ER is no longer under provincial jurisdiction and FER hopes to influence management, equivalent to ER status for this former reserve within the bigger Gulf Island National Parks. FER is supportive of increased protection and plans for a National Parks in the Okanagan, however the fate of ERs and the future of research in the potentially impacted ERs remains a concern. Parks Canada has been unresponsive to concerns that FER has raised through advisory groups linked to National

Goal 4. Raise Awareness of the Value of Ecological Reserves

  •  The re-design of the FER website was completed in 2011 and the rewards have been the amount of new and timely information that is now available on this website. Please take a look at this new resource at In comparison to the old website, it is now possible for a number of people to add and change information. Wardens take note this can be your filing system.
  •  We successfully produced two issues of the newsletter the LOG.
  • FER made an oral presentation opposing the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline and tanker route. We believe there needs to be a moratorium on bitumen movement and there are too many unanswered (avoided questions). There are also too few safeguards and too few Marine Protected Areas to warrant taking on the risks and liabilities. There are four articles outlining concerns and opposition on our website bridge.
  • FER is pleased with the new ER map with its narrative and images of the types of ERs such as: grassland, marine, springs, forested, alpine described on one side of this map as well as clarification of the threats to the ERs. On the other side of this folding map/brochure is the location of ERs and their names, main purpose, and access-restricted status. Also shown are the existing Protected Areas in the province and the currently unroaded areas of BC inside and outside of Protected Areas. FER produced 6,000 copies of the new map which replaced another version that had been out of print for over a decade. We are pleased this ER map/brochure is once again in the hands of Parks staff and the public. We owe Tory Stevens and Doug Biffard thanks for their data and checking for factual accuracy. The map is now in BC Parks offices. Copies can be viewed and purchased for $5.00, including shipping, at the FER website.

Goal 5 Sustain a Nurturing and Effective Organization 

  •  Sincere thanks to the FER Board members who continue to keep this amazing little group together and well- focused on our mission. Welcome to Jenny Feick who has joined the Board; other wise the make-up of the Board remains the same. Thanks to all those on the Board who continue to give of their time and ideas to keep this venerable group going. We do take the summer and Christmas months off. Thanks also to Habitat Acquisition Trust (HATs) for the use of their boardroom. FER remains a small NGO with no regular staff.
  • Thanks to Garry and Helen Fletcher for hosting our summer west coast beach barbeque.
  • Many of the Board enjoyed a trip in November to Saturna Island with Pam and Harvey Janszen despite the fog and rain,
  • We have added strength in bookkeeping and shifted some of the responsibility carried for so many years by Tom Gillispie to Michael Brinsmead, who though not on the Board, does attend our meetings, deposits funds and makes sure we pay our bills. Thanks Michael. Tom continues to provide sage advice but has a lightened load and the work Tom has provided for so long is now more evenly spread across the Board.
  • We would like to thank BC Parks staff for their continued support and help.

The Path Ahead in 2013

This will be discussed at the monthly Board meetings but may include some of the following:

Goal 1. Support for the ER Wardens’ Program

  • Work with BC Parks to continue to increase the number of ER Wardens with the goal to have at least one Warden in every ER. We will need to arrive at a process that FER and Area Supervisors can use to keep our Wardens’ list current.
  • Discuss the concept of continuing the ER Wardens’ Program as part of National Parks with the aim to keep ERs as special research benchmarks and ensure Parks Canada continues to build on the research legacy already in place. The six ERs transferred to Federal Parks and Metro Vancouver do appear on the new ER map and remain on the FER website although they are gone from the provincial Parks ER site. FER has kept these in public and institutional view because we believe that the baseline research done in these reserves should not be lost and the new managers need to be encouraged to continue the original goals of protection, education and research when Ecological Reserves were created .
  • Explore more fully, Wardens’, training and data collection within the Long Term Ecological Monitoring and Conservation Risk Assessments and assist with permanent sample plots establishment and data collection and management protocols.
  • Encourage regional ER and Area Supervisor meetings to build stronger relationships between government and volunteers.
  • Other activities to be decided (TBD).

Goal 2. Support Studies in ERs

  • Continue the long-standing request to BC Parks to change and streamline research permits application procedures especially for non- destructive sampling type projects in ERs .
  • Gather and share on line all existing research that may be in Regional Offices.
  • Others to be decided (TBD)

Goal 3. Support Development of a Resilient Science-based ER System

  • Work with larger conservation organizations with similar goals of improving marine and terrestrial protected areas.
  • Assist when asked by ER Wardens to reach out to research organizations.

  • Others TBD

Goal 4. Raise Awareness of the Value of Ecological Reserves

  • Continue our newsletter the LOG and our Annual General meetings and public lecture series.
  • Maintain the web site and add reports and images as these are made available and encourage wider use by Wardens and Area Supervisors.
  • OthersTBD.

Goal 5. Sustain a Nurturing and Effective Organization

  •  Increase membership and build a larger operating budget.
  • FER intends to remain volunteer run and not acquire staff.
  • Add new members to the FER Board.Continue to plan our field trips to ERs and to have a sense of fun in the course of volunteering.
  • OthersTBD.