Letter: What are sensitive ecosystems, anyway?

Garry Oak Ecosystems are much more than Garry Oak trees

Garry Oak Ecosystems are much more than Garry Oak trees.

They have a rich diversity of wildflowers, native grasses, and creatures that are part of the functioning ecosystem. So says the Best Practices Manual produced by the Garry Oak Ecosystem Recovery Team (GOERT).

The report goes on to say that urban Garry oak trees now surrounded by lawn and daffodils do not have the same plant communities and ecological processes as the original Garry oak ecosystem would have had, and are therefore not considered to be a viable Garry oak ecosystem.

The report for the Vancouver Island Sensitive Ecosystem Inventory by the joint Federal/Provincial government initiative indicates that a Sensitive Ecosystem must be in a relatively natural state.

Sensitive Ecosystem units used by the District of Saanich were delineated on air photographs in the 1990s.

If the original mapper had gone on the ground to check those areas with Garry oak overstory and lawn/garden in the understory, they would have removed these areas from the Sensitive Ecosystem Inventory.

The District of Saanich is basically protecting these mapping errors in its Environmental Development Permit Area (EDPA).

Saanich’s own Environmentally Significant Areas (ESA) Atlas states “to be included in the ESA atlas, data must be from a comprehensive environmental inventory using technically acceptable standards.”

It goes on to say that: “this atlas should be used as a flagging tool and should not be used in place of individual site assessments”.

The District of Saanich is not following its own guidance.

Currently, there are side by side properties in Saanich that have the identical attributes of a Garry oak overstory with lawn and garden in the understory.

One property has been mapped as being within the EDPA and the other has not. Neither property should be in the EDPA. The oak trees are already protected by the tree protection bylaw.

Ted Lea, R.P.Bio.
Vegetation Ecologist

Just Posted

First woman appointed rector at Esquimalt Anglican church since 1866 consecration

Gail Rodger is the 32nd rector at St. Peter and St. Paul Anglican parish

Trudeau concludes re-election campaign at Victoria pub

Liberal leader Justin Trudeau makes his final campaign appearance

Saanich Recreation needs volunteers at Commonwealth Place

Welcome Ambassadors needed at Saanich Commonwealth Place to engage with, direct, and inform visitors

Saanich Peninsula Chamber of Commerce honours former Sidney mayor Marie Rosko

Rosko received lifetime achievement award during 2019 Crystal Awards

Man seriously injured after fall from Johnson Street Bridge

Police say incident stands as public safety reminder

VIDEO: Greater Victoria, here’s the news you missed this weekend

Camera licker, wind gusts and rare bird make headlines this weekend

BC Ferries crew member taken to hospital after getting struck by bow doors

Two sailings between Horseshoe Bay and Departure Bay were cancelled

Greta Thunberg meets with First Nations chief in Fort McMurray

Thunberg has turned her protest against climate change into a global movement

Canucks hang on for 3-2 win over Rangers in New York

Vancouver scores three times in first period

More beef products recalled due to possible E. coli contamination

The food safety watchdog has been investigating possible E. coli 0157:H7

B.C. VIEWS: How to get the best deal on your ICBC car insurance

ICBC slowly being dragged into the 21st century

Pot legalization has gone ‘well’, but ‘yellow flags’ on vaping: task force chair

Canada legalized cannabis for non-medical use on Oct. 17, 2018,

Most Read