Mallard Creek Reed Canary Grass Removal Project
Since 2004, it is estimated that the amount of RCG in the K’ómoks Estuary has tripled. RCG provides little value for native wildlife and insects, few species will eat it, and it grows too thickly for mammals or waterfowl to use for cover/nesting. Foraging juvenile salmon and trout have feeding opportunities reduced in areas dominated by RCG, and it constricts waterways thus preventing salmon from reaching spawning habitats.
Project Watershed, with funding support from the Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program, has been working to inventory and map the extent of invasive RCG in the K’ómoks Estuary and to come up with a management plan for this invasive species. Once we started our inventory work this past spring and summer we quickly realized that there was a significant issue with Mallard Creek (not to be confused with Millard Creek on the opposite side of the Estuary!). Mallard is a local creek that flows into the Dyke Slough and supports coho salmon and cuththroat trout. However, RCG, which can grow on land and in water up to 2 meters in depth, has completely choked off this creek in the last few years, leaving little to no open water access for fish or other wildlife.
Once we realized this was the case, Project Watershed mobilized to tackle this issue. We brought an excavator in to clear out and flip upside down the large vegetative mats of RCG alongside about 200 meters of the west side of creek this past September. Then with the help of our wonderful volunteers, we harvested long native willow stakes, cut them down to 2 meters lengths and transplanted them in the areas along the creek where the grass had been removed. The willow, which is densely planted, will regrow from these cuttings and shade out the RCG, preventing it from re-establishing. The fall is the ideal time to do this type of restoration work as the willows are dormant. With fantastic volunteer support, we managed to harvest and transplant 600 willow stakes alongside the creek at the end of October!
Volunteers, Rio North and Isadora Datt, who helped that helped harvest the willow stakes rest on the result of their labours
Happy Technician Tuesday! Our team has been busy testing methods for future monitoring protocols at Kus-kus-sum. The goal is to create a system of data collection to measure ecosystem health.
Happy Technician Tuesday! While working around Glen Urquhart stream, our Technician team has experienced numerous encounters with fauna using the site. The presence of wildlife at Glen Urquhart further justifies the need to preserve and restore the area.
Project Watershed and our guests had a wonderful evening at 40 KNOTS on September 11th, 2021. The Keeping It Living Dinner was spectacular.
We are excited to announce that as of the end of September, we finished the removal, crushing and re-purposing of the surface concrete at Kus-kus-sum. All crushed concrete was successfully repurposed offsite to projects throughout the Comox Valley to be used as fill and road base. As we removed the surface material, we uncovered a few areas with additional sub-surface concrete.
Happy Technician Tuesday! In June, our technician team planted a large number of Lyngbye’s Sedge and some Tufted Hair Grass to restore areas of Hollyhock Flats.
We at Project Watershed took the first National Truth & Reconciliation Day, to reflect on our role, as a stewardship organization within the landscape of the Comox Valley, the traditional and unceded territory of our partners, the K’ómoks First Nation.