The Salt Spring Island Conservancy has restored another fairway (about 1 ha) at the former golf course, building new wetlands to create habitat for wildlife.
Tom Biebighauser, a wildlife biologist and wetland ecologist, oversaw several days of the initial phases of the project, removing 670kg of drainage and irrigation pipes laid under the soil for the golf course, constructing natural pools and wildlife perches, removing invasive reed canary and golf green grasses along the western edge of Blackburn Lake.
Conservation biologist Laura Matthias and botanist Carrina Maslovat coordinated the project, from sourcing funds to rocks, logs, and machines to put them into place and build the new wetlands. Weed free straw was used on the restored areas to reduce erosion, maintain moisture, and control weeds.
Twenty-five volunteers helped to plant 11,500 native plants (about 45 different species) over 4 days! Between October 2nd and 5th, they collectively put in 165 volunteer hours and completed the planting a week earlier than scheduled!
Many of the native plants were grown from seed in the Conservancy’s nursery at the Blackburn Lake Nature Reserve.
According to Tom, the Blackburn Lake restoration project is one of only two golf course restoration projects in North America. Often old golf courses are developed rather than restored.
Thank you to our funders who supported the wetland restoration: WWF-Coca-Cola Canada Restoration Fund, Government of Canada’s National Wetland Conservation Fund, and Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation.
Article and photos by L. Matthias