Letter: Council right to revisit EDPA policy

Bruce Pendergast was a wildlife habitat specialist in the BC Fish and Wildlife Branch for 28 years

I was a wildlife habitat specialist in the BC Fish and Wildlife Branch for 28 years, first as a Habitat Protection Biologist and then as Manager of the Habitat Inventory Section.

I am concerned that the EDPA initiative, although well meaning, is not based on sound ecological principles. I understand that most EDPA’s are assigned because of the presence of Garry oak trees.

There seems to be an assumption that Garry oak ecosystems will eventually re-establish under standing trees simply by leaving the site undisturbed.

This ignores the fact that the classic “Garry oak meadows,” reported by the first Europeans in the area as “lakes” of blue camas and other spring flowers surrounded by scattered oak trees, were a  product of a deliberate farming by the indigenous people.

These meadows were maintained by burning to reverse vegetative succession as well as digging and moving camas bulbs and competing plants.

Without this disturbance the meadows would have been overtaken by snowberry, Indian plum and Douglas fir trees.

EDPA designation apparently discourages any disturbance of existing soil and plants.  Considering the exotics now rampant in many of these areas, the result of “hands off” management will be unaesthetic tangles of broom, blackberry and ivy.

I have maintained one corner of my property containing 20 Oak trees for over 40 years.

When I purchased the property in 1974, about a quarter was managed and covered with exotics such as Tulip, Daffodil, Laburnum and other introduced species.

Non managed areas were choked with blackberry, broom, morning glory and ivy as well as native Indian plum.

I have been removing the introduced flowers and weeds since 1974, and the only native species to reestablish without my planting them are snowberry, and some grasses.

None of the typical Garry oak meadow species like camas, satin flowers  and spring gold have re-established on their own.

If I am prevented from continuing to maintain the area as I have, my efforts will be reversed and I will be back to an impenetrable thicket of Ivy and Blackberry.

In fact in the early ‘90s, I watched this start to happen when a medical issue prevented my “weeding” efforts for a few years.

I hope Saanich takes the effort to properly plan and manage sensitive areas to showcase the natural successional stages of vegetative communities on the peninsula.

Unfortunately the existing EDPA approach will not do this. I am pleased the Council has agreed to revisit the issue.

Bruce Pendergast,RPBio RetiredSaanich

 

Just Posted

Victoria Regional Transit System routes 7 UVic/Downtown, 21 Interurban/Downtown and 53 Colwood/Langford will undergo changes as of June 28. (Black Press Media file photo)
Greater Victoria school routes scaled down for summer by BC Transit

Service changes take effect June 28, enhanced service returns this fall and winter

Hot rods, rad rods, muscle and sports cars spanning the decades made their way in a parade from North Saanich to Victoria on June 19. (Kiernan Green/News Staff)
PHOTOS: Classic cars cruise Saanich Peninsula in advance of Father’s Day

Retirement home residents from North Saanich to Victoria treated to a spectacle of hot rides

A bathtub kitchen garden is part of the lineup for this year’s Teeny Tiny Garden Tour to benefit Victoria Hospice. (Screenshot/Teeny Tiny Garden Tour)
Virtual garden tour for Victoria Hospice features trio of back yards

Online tour is free; calendar purchase and donation options raise money for the cause

Al Kohut, owner of the new photographers GALLERY, checks out Looking Back by David Bradt. The photo printed on canvas is among 50 images featured in the Birds on the Wild Side exhibition showing until July 3. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Photo gallery in Sidney plucks out top bird photos

Birds on the Wild Side show running at the new photographers GALLERY until July 3

The Town of Sidney supports efforts to rename Reay Creek to KELSET, its traditional SENCOTEN name. (Black Press Media file photo)
Town of Sidney signs off on Reay Creek name change to KELSET

Name change does not affect surrounding parkland, but public supports doing so

Jesse Roper tackles weeds in his garden to kick off the 2021 season of What’s In My Garden Man? (YouTube/Whats In My Garden)
VIDEO: Metchosin singer-songwriter Jesse Roper invites gardeners into his plot

What’s In My Garden, Man? kicks off with the poop on compost

A Lotto 6/49 ticket purchased in Parksville for the June 19, 2021 draw is a $3M winner. (Submitted photo)
Winning Lotto 6/49 ticket worth $3M purchased on Vancouver Island

Lottery prize winners have 52 weeks to claim jackpot

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

Most Read