Develop and implement multi-jurisdictional plans for the management and restoration of a rare and vulnerable coastal dune ecosystem on British Columbia's Georgia Basin known to the WSÁNEĆ peoples on the Saanich Peninsula as TIXEN.
Coastal lands on the Tsawout First Nation Reserve, CRD Island View Beach Park, and Cordova Spit Park (Municipality of Central Saanich) contain significant remnants of rare coastal sand dunes and habitats of great conservation interest, with a characteristic and rich flora and fauna. Lands within these three jurisdictions comprise the largest dune system in southern British Columbia and one of the best examples of an intact dune system in the province.
The Cordova Spit ecosystem is also important to WSÁNEĆ for traditional and cultural reasons. TIXEN and surrounding waters offer many educational opportunities for members of WSÁNEĆ communities, and an important educational resource for the Saanich Tribal School. In addition to providing natural beauty to be enjoyed by residents and visitors, and protecting the coastal environment by absorbing energy from wind, tide, and wave action, this dune ecosystem represents a unique and fragile environment that offers vital habitat to a number of plants and animals that are at-risk in British Columbia.
The yellow sand-verbana, beach bindweed, American glehnia (beach carrot), black knotweed and fleshy jaumea are blue-listed plants that are of special concern, whereas the grey beach peavine, creeping wildrye and contorted pod evening primrose are red-listed species that are either threatened or endangered. This particular dune ecosystem also provides an interesting example of a rare animal that is dependant on a rare plant that is dependent on a rare ecosystem. The yellow sand-verbana is the host for a rare species of cutworm or sand-verbana moth. This moth lays its eggs on yellow sand-verbana, and the larvae, or caterpillars, feed exclusively on this plant. A rare subspecies of the red-listed Ringlet butterfly has been observed in a grassy field, inland from the beach within Island View Beach Regional Park and may also be present on Reserve lands.
The fragile dunes of TIXEN are being severely degraded by uncontrolled public access which also facilitates the introduction and range expansion of invasive species, such as Scotch broom. TIXEN provides an important opportunity to protect and restore natural and cultural resources of this rare ecosystem.
The project study area will be the 325 hectare ecosystem complex on Cordova Spit, comprised of lands under the jurisdiction of the Tsawout First Nation (235ha), regional park (49ha), and municipal park (7ha). Resources inventories will be completed for the entire ecosystem complex. Information and knowledge of the ethnobotany and First Nations traditional uses of the area will also be assembled. These data will be used to develop a multi-jurisdiction management plan, for protection and restoration of the entire dune complex.
The project will also identify opportunities and support outreach activities and educational products for use by various communities in British Columbia, especially WSÁNEĆ communities and Tribal School.
The project will be featured as a case study in Sustainable Forest Resource co-management of protected areas, in which the University of Victoria and other Universities are participating.
Overall project guidance, with specialized technical support, will be provided by a steering committee composed of technical or professional members of participating agencies.
Assemble information on biological, cultural, and traditional knowledge resources and their uses, for sensitive dune, aquatic and associated upland ecosystems on Tsawout, Capital Regional District (CRD) and Central Saanich Municipality lands along Cordova Bay, in support of;
- Multi-jurisdictional management planning for protection and ecosystem restoration which includes ongoing engagement of WSÁNEĆ community members in all phases of the project, and;
- Development of culturally appropriate outreach and education tools for use in local WSÁNEĆ and other communities.
Develop a Terrestrial Ecosystem Map for the ecosystem, including details of past and ongoing disturbances and occurrence of invasive species.
Inventory and map rare and culturally significant plant and animal elements resident in the ecosystem.
Support population studies of the birds and other wildlife of TIXEN, within a wider scope of dune ecosystems of the southern Gulf of Georgia.
The three jurisdictions, with support from the management agencies, develop and implement a conservation plan for TIXEN, including measures to protect vulnerable ecosystem elements as well as restore those that have been damaged.
Develop innovative, culturally appropriate educational products for use in WSÁNEĆ communities and schools, as well as the wider Saanich communities.
- The WSÁNEĆ community at Tsawout
- Capital Regional District, Parks
- Central Saanich Municipality, Parks
- Canadian Wildlife Service
- Conservation Data Center, BC MOE
- University of Victoria (Environmental Sciences, Linguistics, Restoration of Natural Systems)
- Other Academic Institutions - Protected Areas in Sustainable Forest Management Project.