Wetland Restoration and Enhancement Workshop

Are you interested in wetlands and the creatures that call them home?  Would you like to learn more about the process of restoring wetlands where they have been lost?   Are you hoping to develop your environmental science skill-set and add to your resume?  Do you love frogs and salamanders?

This workshop might be for you.  Please join us for three days of FREE wetland restoration workshops presented by Splitrock Environmental, the BC Wildlife Federation, and E. Wind Consulting.

Participants will learn:

  • How to identify and survey for the four species of frogs and salamanders which live in the Lillooet area
  • How to identify and interpret the classes of wetland found in BC
  • How to design wetland restoration projects for the benefit of breeding amphibians
  • The considerations involved with altering water movement on a site to create wetland habitat
  • Soil preparation and plant selection methods for re-planting wetlands.

Register now, space is limited: https://WetlandDesignLillooet.eventbrite.ca

 

PROGRAM:
April 19, 2017 – Introduction to Amphibian Identification and Survey Techniques
(Elke Wind, E. Wind Consulting, Nanaimo)
9:00 AM Welcome
9:15 – 10:15 Amphibian ecology and species identification
10:15-10:30 Break
10:30-11:30 Amphibian handling and survey techniques
11:30-12:00 Equipment and data management
12:00 – 12:30 Lunch (please bring your own)
12:30-4:00 Field component – overview and practise for species identification and survey techniques
 
April 20, 2017 – Wetland Restoration Introductory Course
9:15 AM Welcome
9:30 – 10:30 Wetland Classes and Plant Associations – Identifying wetland plant association types for identifying wetland targets – Neil Fletcher, Wetlands Manager, BC Wildlife Federation
10:30-10:45 Break
10:45-12:30 Amphibian oriented wetland restoration considerations – Elke Wind, Herpetologist, E. Wind Consulting
12:30 – 1:30 Lunch (please bring your own)
1:30-3:00 Basic techniques for restoring wetlands, Neil Fletcher, Wetlands Program Manager
3:00-4:00 Introduction to the Lillooet Wetland Enhancement Sites: Tristan Banwell, Iraleigh Anderson, and Phil Johnston
 
April 21, 2017 – Wetland Restoration Introductory Field Day
9:15 AM Convene at Splitrock
9:30 Drive to Spray Creek Ranch
10:00-12:00 Field survey, mapping and planning @ Spray Creek Ranch
12:00-1:30 Drive back to Lillooet and lunch Break
1:30 Convene at Splitrock
1:45 Drive to Lillooet Secondary School
2:00-4:00 Field survey, mapping and planning @ Lillooet Secondary School

Wetlands Project

The wetlands workshop was a success! It was sponsored by the BC Wildlife Federation and they wrote a blog about it. Check it out:

“Splitrock is looking to identify and classify wetlands in the St’at’imc Territory. For the first year the focus will be on lands within a 15km radius of Lillooet to the south and west – traditional use lands of both the Sekw’el’was and T’it’q’et communities. The areas to be explored include reserve, private and forest lands, as well as urban lands in the town of Lillooet. They reached out to BC Wildlife Federation’s Wetlands Education Program to provide training for their staff in the field of wetland inventory. The BCWF WEP Manager, Neil Fletcher, was unable to provide the training himself and so Ryan Durand of Ecologic (Environmental Consultation Firm) was brought in for the job. Durand, having 17 years in the field, was able to provide a high quality, two-day course for the Splitrock staff.”

How to build a nest box for the Western Screech-owl

Last week Splitrock Environmental teamed up with volunteers from the Lillooet Naturalist Society to build nest boxes for the Western Screech-owl. We’ll be putting the nest boxes up in the Seton River corridor in the late winter.  Thanks to all of the volunteers who helped!

The Western Screech-owl is endangered in British Columbia, mostly because of habitat loss. They live in forests along rivers and streams, and rely on big, old trees with cavities in the to build their nests. Without a place to nest, they aren’t able to live in otherwise good habitat. Sadly, their forested habitat is being lost through urban development and people cutting down old trees that seem dangerous or ugly. Building nest boxes is a way to increase the nest availability in an area, and it’s also a fun thing to do to raise awareness of this species. Here are plans for a nest box, if you want to build your own. These plans are adapted from the Audubon Magazine (find the link here).

Nest Box Plan - Image

Tools

  • Ruler or tape measure;
  • pencil;
  • power saw;
  • handsaw;
  • power hand drill with attachments
    • 1⁄2″ bit;
    • 5⁄64″ bit, to pre-drill the screw holes;
    • 3″ hole saw;
    • Phillips-head screwdriver
  • chisel or knife
  • hammer

Materials

  • 1-foot x 10-foot piece of unpainted wood, 1″ thick. (Remember that when you buy a board of this size at the average lumberyard or home store, the 1-foot width will really be 11 1/4″ and the 1″ thickness will really be about 3/4″.) You’ll end up with leftover wood.
  • 24 sheetrock screws (2″ each), coated or galvanized to prevent rusting
  • One No. 6 brass wood screw (1 1/2″), with washer
  • Two small brass hinges, with screws
  • Several small nails, carpenter’s glue, caulking compound

Assembly

(1) With a pencil, mark off all the cuts you’ll make, starting from one end of the board, according to the dimensions listed below.

Dimensions:

1 back (32″ x 7 3/4″)

1 bottom (8 1/2″ x 7 3/4″)

1 front (16 3/4″ x 7 3/4″)

1 side piece (10″ x 35 1/2″).  This will be cut in half in step 2.

1 top (12″ x 11 1/4″–the full width of the board)

1 strip (1″ x 11 1/4″).

Cut the piece for the back, the bottom, and the front.

(2) Cut the sides. First cut a piece that’s 10″ x 35 1/2″. Before you make the next cut, be sure you’ve measured 17″ up one side of the board and 18 1/2″ up the other side, and that your cut line connects these two points. You should end up with identical pieces, 18 1/2″ in the back, 17″ in the front, and 10″ from front to back.

(3) Cut the top piece (12″ x 11 1/4″–the full width of the board), then a 1″ full-width strip (1″ x 11 1/4″).

(4) Drill two 1/2″ ventilation holes about 1″ below the top of each side. Drill five 1/2″ drainage holes in the bottom (one in the center, one near each corner).

(5) With the hole saw, drill a 3″ entrance hole. The center of the hole should be 4″ below the top of the front piece. The hole should be centered between the sides.

(6) With the chisel or knife, make horizontal scratches on the inside of the front piece, from the bottom up to the entrance hole (so the young owls can climb out).

(7) Measure about 7″ up from the bottom of the back piece to mark where the bottoms of the sides will go. Screw the side pieces into the edges of the back piece; use three screws for each side. The top of the side pieces should slope toward the front. (Pre-drill all the holes with the 5/64″ bit.)

(8) Screw the bottom of the box in place, setting it about 1/2″ above the bottoms of the side pieces. Use three screws to attach the bottom to each side and to the back.

(9) Screw the front piece in place, aligning it so that its front surface is even with the side pieces. Use three screws to attach the front to each side and to the bottom.

(10) Take the top piece and cut the back end at a slight angle so that it fits flush against the back of the box. (This can be a difficult cut, and might be best made with a small handsaw.) Using the two hinges, attach the top to the back. The top should extend out at least 1″ on both sides of the box and overhang the front by about 2″. Use the brass screw with washer to attach the top of the box to the front; this will hold the top in place but enable you to open the box to clean out the inside.

(11) Finally, take the 1″ x 11 1/4″ strip and glue and nail it to the back of the box, above the hinges (use small nails to avoid splitting the strip). The strip should be low enough to help keep rainwater out of the box but high enough that you can still lift the lid and reach inside. Caulk where this piece meets the back.

(12) Hanging the box

The most important thing to remember when hanging the box: Be careful! Ten feet (or higher) is a long way off the ground, especially if you’re carrying an owl box. If you don’t want to nail or screw the box to the tree, you can attach a cable or light chain to the box through holes drilled in the back (both top and bottom). The cable or chain should be just loose enough to be worked up over the trunk’s irregularities. You might need to tighten the cable or chain when the box is where you want it.

 

 

 

The seeds we sow

I thought I’d give you an idea of the variety and beauty of the native plant seeds that we collect, clean, and sow. All of our seeds are collected in the wild. We monitor over 100 species of native plants throughout the year and document the time that they flower, set seed, and are ready for harvest. We collect the seeds by hand, and clean the sticks, leaves, fuzz, and papery coatings off the seeds by passing them through sieves, using a winnower, or using our vacuum seed separator. Once the seeds are cleaned, they go into mason jars for storage until planting time. The photo above is our seed storage room, showing about one-third of the seeds we have. The seed room is kept cool throughout the year.

Cow parsnip (Heracleum maximum)

Cow Parsnip Seeds Cow Parsnip

 

Indian hemp (Apocynum cannabinum)

Indian Hemp Seeds Indian Hemp

 

Lemonweed (Lithospermum luderale)

Lemonweed Seeds Lemonweed

 

Mock orange (Philadelphus lewisii)

Mock Orange Seeds Mock Orange

 

Wolf willow (Elaeagnus commutata)

Wolf Willow Seeds Wolf Willow

Photo credits: Photos of seeds are by me. Cow parsnip plant photo: http://www.survivalschool.us/edible-medicinal-plant-uses/cow-parsnip-heracleum-maximum/. Indian hemp plant photo: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apocynum_cannabinum. Lemonweed plant photo: https://www.flickr.com/photos/montanaraven/525217826/. Mock orange plant photo: http://wildflowerfinder.org.uk/Flowers/M/MockOrange/MockOrange.htm. Wolf willow plant photo: http://www.sierraclub.bc.ca/education/ecomap/subboreal-interior/2wwillow.