Restoring an Island’s Ecology

Ecological restoration is the process of assisting the recovery of an ecosystem that has been degraded, damaged, or destroyed.” The Society for Ecological Restoration International Science & Policy Working Group. 2002.

Galiano Island lies in the heart of the Salish Sea and the Coastal Douglas-fir zone. This region is unique due to its natural ocean upwelling with protection from severe storms, and to its comparatively dry climate in the midst of temperate rainforest. These conditions gave rise to an abundance of life, and also made the area particuarly appealing for settlers.

Early European explorers to British Columbia’s South Coast noted the mild climate, parkland settings, bounteous resources on land and sea and the presence of First Nations peoples throughout the region.

Colonists brought with them an intensive and exploitative approach to land use. Agriculture, logging, mining, fishing and urbanization continue to transform the South Coast, which is now one of the most densely populated regions in Canada. Today, land protection alone can not ensure the conservation of an ecosystem’s health.

The Galiano Conservancy Association is developing and applying restoration methods to conserve biodiversity and preserve ecological integrity on some of Galiano Island’s protected lands.

Some of our restoration projects include:

Cedars for the Next Century - The goal of this multi-year project is to restore and enhance natural ecosystems across the Chrystal Creek watershed at the Millard Learning Centre, improving the landscape’s ability to absorb freshwater and sequester carbon through native reforestation and wetland creation.

Nuts'a'maat Forage Forest at the Millard Learning Centre - The goal of the Nuts'a'maat Forage Forest is to create a shared space at the Millard Center where native plants-- edible, medicinal, and cultural-- will be actively and collaboratively managed in a manner that sustains both ecosystems and human communities, and provides ongoing opportunities for education, renewal, cultural expression and the deepening of our shared connections to the land.

Recognizing the value and need for both ecological and cultural restoration, this initiative seeks to develop and support meaningful collaboration with local First Nations--not merely as consultants or sources of traditional knowledge, but as partners in the co-creation, planning, use of, and ongoing management of the Nuts'a'maat Forage Forest. Watch this video and learn more.

Mount Sutil – invasive species removal, management of encroaching Douglas-fir populations, and re-introduction of Western bluebirds and White meconella.

Pebble Beach – award winning and unique experimental restoration of a portion of the second-growth plantation forest on District Lot 63. For more information please see our Let it Rot film.

Laughlin Lake – this impressive wetland ecosystem has been through some incredible changes during its history, most of which have been unnatural. The Conservancy has helped to reverse those changes and restore the ecosystem to its former glory through a variety of mechanical restoration projects, including re-structuring a portion of the shoreline, building a footbridge, and removing invasive species from the riparian area.

Learning Centre – we have purchased a 188 acre property as part of the Mid Galiano Protected Areas Network, and a large portion of it has many opportunities for restoration over the years to come. So far, we have begun invasive species removal at the cove, planting and removal of debris at the mill site, and assessments and monitoring for the rest of the property.

Fungi amidst forest duff collection for mill site restoration

Fungi amidst forest duff collection for mill site restoration