Restoring species of conservation concern and cultural value
The goal of this project is to create and enhance wetland and riparian habitat within the lower Alouette Watershed, to support healthy populations of salmonids and species of cultural value and conservation concern. The project represents the implementation of an eco-cultural restoration plan for Katzie traditional territory, which integrates the principles of restoration ecology and adaptive management with Katzie traditional knowledge and priorities for conservation. In 2019, the fourth year of this five-year project, effectiveness monitoring at habitat enhancement sites will be expanded to include water quality parameters, and address local and regional management priorities for species at risk: Great Blue Heron, Western Toad, and the Barn Owl.
Update: Katzie Nation implements eco-cultural restoration plan
Twenty-five snags—standing dead trees— and three boxes have been installed near Pitt Meadows to provide roosting, foraging, and nesting for great blue herons and barn owls. This work is part of a five-year project to implement an eco-cultural restoration plan that integrates Katzie traditional knowledge and priorities. The goal of the project, led by Katzie Development Limited Partnership, is to create and enhance wetland and riparian habitat within the lower Alouette River Watershed.
Before the snags were installed, provincially Blue-listed great blue herons often competed for roosting and foraging sites. The barn owl nesting boxes were placed adjacent to ideal foraging habitat, such as grassy marshes, agricultural fields, and river shores. They’re also located a safe distance from busy roads, since road mortality contributes to the barn owl’s designation as Threatened under the Species at Risk Act.
Other culturally valued species to benefit from the project include juvenile salmonids, western painted turtles, short-eared owls, western toads, black swifts, and bats. Plants like wapato and tule—two highly valued species for the Katzie Nation—and Vancouver Island beggarticks, an at-risk plant, will also benefit.
Final report: executive summary
In response to 80% loss of wetlands in Katzie traditional territory in the lower Alouette and Pitt River watersheds, we combined scientific and traditional knowledge and values to create an Eco-Cultural Restoration Plan for Katzie territory. Wetland loss has resulted in the extirpation or near extirpation of several species from this area, including several federally listed species at risk, and loss of access to several species of cultural value to Katzie. Hence, cultural practices that supported sustainable use of these species for food and medicine have also declined. Wapato (Sagittaria latifolia) has been identified as a cultural keystone species for the Katzie First Nation, but Wapato is no longer accessible due to the loss of wetland habitat. Our plan prioritizes wetland habitat enhancement within the lower Alouette River, the core of Katzie traditional territory.
In Year 1 (2016) of the project we excavated two wetland habitat enhancement sites (1 ha) along the lower Alouette River for 13 species of conservation concern while also restoring access to plant species of cultural value. Habitat enhancement actions included installation of large wood, creation of tidal channels, installation of shelter boxes for birds and bats, and targeted planting of native aquatics and berryproducing shrubs for priority species of conservation concern, including the Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) and Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica), and to improve biodiversity overall. We also initiated a long-term effectiveness monitoring program, designed to evaluate restoration success by comparing the vegetation, fish, and bird communities at restoration sites pre- and post-restoration, and to reference sites along the Alouette River.
Click the provincial database link below to read the full final report for this project.