Report for 2008 presented by Mike Fenger to the AGM
held on March 6 2009
The Annual General Meeting is a
good opportunity to reflect on our accomplishments and set some goals for the
future. We were extremely fortunate to have Briony
the FER elders) and Krista Roessingh provide the
public lecture at this year’s AGM. Krista has also written an article on her Sandhill Crane studies . We were
also fortunate this year to have Eva Riccius from the
Ministry of Environment attend and participate in our AGM.
What is the purpose of Ecological
The Ecological Reserves
legislation states that it is to protect examples of representative and unique
ecosystems of British Columbia
and to have these serve as natural benchmarks,
areas, educational resources and repositories of genetic materials and geologic
features. The Ecological Reserve system – in concert with other elements of British
page 3 in this LOG) protected areas system and resource management regime
supports protection, study and understanding of ecosystems, their resiliency,
ecological processes and natural elements. The Friends of Ecological Reserves
is a three-decade old volunteer organization working with the Ministry of Environment. Our Mission
statement is: ”to support the role of Ecological
Reserves in furthering understanding of natural processes and human
interactions in ecosystems”.
The FER Strategic Plan provides a
convenient framework for a year in review and some thoughts for the year ahead.
FER activities March 2008 to March 2009 and possible directions for
2009 – 2010
Goal 1: To support the
protection and management of a strong Ecological Reserve System through a
strong warden program, systematic inventory and monitoring, timely assessment
of reserves and an effective
especially where ERs are most at risk.
- FER has set as a long term goal to have a volunteer
warden for each of the 147 Ecological Reserves. There have
been some recent recruitment of wardens by the Ministry of Environment.
Volunteers from the Rocky Mountain Naturalists have taken on warden duties
for Mount Sabine ER 19, Ram Creek ER 26, Gilnockie
ER 104 and they will be working with BC Parks staff Brett Yeats (see Spring 2008 LOG). This is an extremely good way to
supplement MOE staff, as there are quite a few volunteers within the
Naturalist club and thereby they are more likely to provide numerous site
visits and reports to MOE. We hope a club approach is used in other ERs.
- The Board met with Scott Benton, Brian Bawtinheimer and EvaRiccius
of Parks, which led to improvements to the MOE web page on the process for
Warden Recruitment (see Winter LOG 2009). We are clearly supporting MOE
but not leading. Eva Riccius has been identified
as the FER contact person in headquarters. We are very pleased to have
someone identified to help coordinate our efforts within the Ministry.
- FER maintains a data base of Columbia Lake ER 20, ER
wardens and members for the purposes of mailing out the LOG. The FER board
encourages wardens to provide reports that can be added to FER web pages
as well as help build a corporate FER data base. Thank you Malcolm Martin
for supplying information on the 1988 survey of Vance Creek ER 30 and also
ecosystem maps of the Cougar Canyon ER 108. We know there is a great deal
more information in the heads and files of wardens and we strongly
encourage them to send this to us (Tom Gillespie our web manager). We will
add your data to the FER data base and make this information web
- We rely on MOE for information on warden
recruitment and changes in wardens. This means the FER warden list is
sometimes not up to date. Improvements are planned.
Goal 1---Possible directions for 2009 - 2010 (Subject to Board discussions)
- Work more closely with Eva Riccius
to ensure there is excellent communication which is critical for
coordination of wardens and sharing of information.
- Information received from wardens is being posted
by Tom Gillespie who has taken on the duties of web master. Wardens,
please send us your information. In addition to your warden’s reports, we
also welcome information from regional offices that would help add to the information
already assembled for ecological/biological baselines.
Goal 2: To support the reserves that builds understanding of
ecosystem resiliency, ecological processes and natural elements.
- We provided bridge financing for the Vicky Husband Scholarship
which is now set up as a trust.
- As an NGO, FER provides tax receipts to third
parties who support natural areas research.
- We received one request for research funding. We reviewed
the request and since it was not directly related to ERs, declined the request.
Goal 2---Possible directions for 2009 - 2010 (Subject to Board discussions)
- Consolidate the existing information on specific ERs.
- Continue to seek funding tosupport
research in ERs and to advocate academic institutions and students’ focus
on ERs in order to build knowledge.
Goal 3: To support the
development of a resilient and ecological enduring science-based ecological reserve
- A potential new ER within the Spatsizi Park
and near Gladys Lake
ER has been recommended to the
Regional Manager in Skeena
and appears one step closer to formation after a three-year process. We
featured this proposal in the Autumn 2007 and the
Spring 2008 LOG. The area identified is a much-used low elevation mineral
lick and is well suited to the ER designation. Support from area
residents, guide outfitters and FER means this ER proposal has been recommended
and is now with the Parks regional manager.
- Potential options for a new ER in honour of Bert Brink were pursued. The Ministry of
Environment designated 915 hectares of important fish and wildlife habitat
located just west of Chilliwack and a further 71
hectares in south Surrey as a wildlife management area named after Bert
Brink; also a fitting tribute.
Goal 3---Possible directions for 2009 - 2010 (Subject to Board discussions)
- FER has relied on the State of ER
report and worked to implement recommendations from this report over the
last three years. Climate change has become a more significant factor in
our understanding and there are questions as to the vulnerability of
existing ERs. FER will need to work closely with MOE and other NGOs to
assess the vulnerability of Ecological Reserves.
- An ER vulnerability assessment would ideally
include gaps and assessment of ERs that were proposed but not designated
while the ER program was in existence.
- The need for Ecological Reserves that maintain representative ecosystems,
is still vitally important. We will continue to press government for representative ecosystems such as those
identified in the “Sustainable Forestry
Benchmarks for British Columbia”. This FORREX report
was supported by the Friends’ Board and
was used as the basis for a submission for funds to establish a network of natural research watersheds in BC. This publication shows the current gaps and limitations of the ecological reserve system especially in the interior plateau, and links the need for and for new reserves,
to both climate change and mountain
pine beetle forest disturbance. The proposal to initiate implementation of recommendations for watershed level
monitoring between provincial and
federal agencies was unsuccessful.
- Review and restructure
the use of our “Science Advisory committee”.
- Expect that FER will
need to advocate and show support
for Marine Protected Areas linked initially to existing ERs.
To raise awareness of the value of ecological reserves among targeted groups, including: local and provincial elected officials; public servants; neighbours
of ecological reserves; and the
- Being involved with other like-minded organizations
on protection and management of natural areas is seen as a real boost to
this small organization. Never has the need for strategic long-term thinking
over natural areas been greater. This is especially true in light of
Goal 4---Possible directions for 2009 - 2010 (Subject to Board discussions)
- Seek partners and funding to establish benchmarks
where needed and to begin monitoring of benchmarks within the protected
- Continue to participate withother
like-minded NGOs such as the Parks Elders Council and CPAWS on areas of
- Advocate that MOE finish the Guide to ERs. This has
been under internal assessment for over a year.
To sustain a nurturing and effective organization that supports the maintenance and development of ecological reserves and the concepts underpinning them.
- Field trips, open to the public and helpful to
recruit new members, were made to Trial
Island and Race Rocks. Thanks
to Garry Fletcher, Marilyn Lambert and Mary Rannie
for being the main organizers of these events.
Lambert, Stephen Ruttan, and Mike Fenger spent a day with Paul Linton on Mount
Maxwell and got better insight
on management of this ER. See page 9 in Spring-09 Log.
Goal 5---Possible directions for 2009 - 2010 (Subject to Board discussions)
- Our major funders for research
have indicated they are no longer able to support their selected projects.
This leaves a very limited scope supporting ER research.
- We will look at ways to expand membership to ensure
long term viability and cover operating costs.