Working with the K’ómoks Nation towards Q’waq’wala7owkw on their unceded territory.

Working with the K’ómoks Nation towards Q’waq’wala7owkw on their unceded territory.

K’ómoks Estuary Lagoon Spring 2024 Update

Awesome Airpark Volunteers ~ Dan Bowen

Freshly planted and mulched ~ Bob Bowen

Airpark crew in action ~ Bob Bowen

Airpark crew in action ~ Bob Bowen

Removed invasives! ~ Bob Bowen

Mulch delivery!

A huge thank you to Grow Tree Care for donating and delivering mulch to our restoration projects – both at the Airpark and at Kus-kus-sum. We appreciate the help!

Project Watershed has been working to restore habitat in and around the lagoon at the Courtenay Airpark since 2013. Our work began with the installation of the culvert that connects the river to the lagoon. A few years after the culvert work was finished, we started maintaining the upland habitat that surrounded the Airpark side of the lagoon as many invasive species had taken hold there. Now, from April to September, volunteers meet every Thursday morning from 9:30 – noon to maintain native plants and remove invasive plants from this area. Over the years 4400 m2 of upland habitat have been reclaimed.

If you are interested in joining this team – sign up here to receive important safety information and schedule updates. 

Planting and maintenance:  

New species planted so far this year include Red Osier Dogwood, Gum Weed, Dune Grass, and Distichlis Spicata (Seashore Saltgrass). Thanks to the Courtenay Airpark Association for providing the funds to purchase these plants!

To give our young plants the best chance of survival we need to make sure they don’t get too dry! Mulching helps with moisture retention and weed control. All the new plants were mulched heavily. Over the year volunteers will also add mulch to older plants as needed. When plants are on a slope, volunteers will often build up a berm on the low side of the plant to help retain water that runs down the slope.

Smaller more vulnerable plants are being given wire mesh enclosures to protect them from grazing deer and rabbits. When they outgrow these enclosures, the wire will be removed. At this time any weeds that have grown up are removed, and mulch is replenished. Thanks to Grow Tree Care arborists for donating and delivering mulch for us!   

Later in the season, when things are really dry, we also have to irrigate the site. Don Mitchell is helping us set up an irrigation system so that watering efforts are efficient and not too labour intensive. 

Invasive removal:  

Reed Canary Grass – grows along the high tide line and is very labour intensive to remove. Thanks to volunteer Tim with his mattock for working diligently to remove piles and piles of this invasive grass!  

Himalayan Blackberry – also quite labour intensive – and sometimes painful! – to remove. 

Tansy – it looks like a pretty flower, but it is invasive and should be removed. 

Wildlife observations:

The volunteer crew has a lot of fun working together. They also get to observe wildlife in action: during the month of May they saw multiple nesting birds, including a killdeer and a pair of sandpipers. They also saw some ravens giving an eagle a hard time – probably protecting nests of their own! 

 

Information for this post provided by Caila Holbrook and Bob Bowen.

Caila Holbrook

Caila Holbrook

Manager of Fundraising and Outreach

2024 Project Sponsors

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Spring Field Trips

Throughout May and June Project Watershed will be taking elementary school classes out on field trips to learn about estuary and coastal ecology and to assist with planting and plant maintenance.

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