Sources of information about various aspects of the Tod Creek Watershed.
Publications, Documents and Lending Library.
Without bats, economy will have trouble flying by Cori Lausen
JANUARY 4, 2017 / TIMES COLONIST
After they replaced their Halloween décor with inflatable Santas and reindeer, most people probably never gave another thought to bats. But this winter could be life-changing for many B.C. bats — and not in a good way.
The recent discovery of bats infected with white-nose syndrome in a location in Washington state just over the border from B.C. could spell disaster for our bat populations. The syndrome has killed millions of bats in eastern North America over the past decade, but until the Washington discovery, had not been detected on the West Coast.
A disaster for bats would also be a disaster for our economy. Bats are voracious consumers of insects. In fact, bats are the No. 1 consumer of night-flying insects. With many, many fewer bats circling our night skies, those insect populations are likely to explode, and that means significant damage to crops and trees, and even unpredictable changes to fisheries.
A U.S. study found that bats provide up to $53 billion a year in pest-control services for the agricultural sector alone in the United States.
Here in B.C., bats consume many moths that damage trees, including the caterpillars and moths of the spruce budworm.
Many of the insects that bats consume start life as aquatic larvae, which are food for many freshwater fish. Shifts in insect densities and diversity can produce similar shifts in fish species.
A massive die-off of bats is going to change these patterns in ways that are hard to predict. It might mean greater reliance on artificial pesticides in agriculture or more areas of forest stripped of vegetation. Without bats controlling biting insects such as mosquitoes, we could also see an increase in cases of insect-borne diseases, such as West Nile disease. And it will mean more pests in our garden and more uninvited guests at our summer barbecues.
Sadly, there is a very strong probability that the syndrome will flare up in B.C. this year. The disease makes the odds of winter survival extremely long for bats. Bats with the syndrome are infected with a fungus that eats at their wings and forces them to burn through their precious stored winter fat long before the return of the insect season. It spreads throughout hibernation sites, and can kill up to 90 per cent of resident bats.
Bouncing back from the devastating impact of white-nose syndrome is not going to be easy for bats.
While to some, bats seem like mice with wings, our only flying mammal has more in common with grizzly bears, bearing only one young each year and living 20 to 40 years.
In B.C., we are lucky to have the widest diversity of bat species in Canada, with at least 16 species, seven of which are found only here. But that diversity is not going to protect our bats from white-nose syndrome. We know at least two species found here have already been devastated in the east. Fourteen of the species found in B.C. hibernate, meaning the vast majority of our bats are vulnerable to the disease.
With the arrival of white-nose syndrome, it is critical that we give bats — and those who depend on their services — a fighting chance. That means identifying and protecting key habitat areas, working with industry to manage things such as old mines that bats use for hibernation, and continuing to build our knowledge of bat activity and populations across the province.
Right now, the provincial government does not have a plan for dealing with white-nose syndrome, and provincial species-at-risk staff are spread incredibly thin, with not a single provincial-level biologist having the time or the expertise to deal with bats.
We do have a plan, which we developed in partnership with other concerned biologists across B.C.
Along with the B.C. Bat Action Team, we need to swing this plan into action, but we can’t do that without the resources and support of the B.C. government.
Time is of the essence, and resources are needed to make progress. We might not be able to knock out white-nose syndrome with a single “kapow,” but if the government commits resources more in keeping with the scale of the problem, we can reduce the disease’s impact and help bats recover.
The threat is on our doorstep. Let’s not wait until it has entered the house to spring into action.
Cori Lausen is associate research scientist and bat specialist for the Wildlife Conservation Society Canada.
© Copyright Times Colonist
CRD Oil to Heat Poster
Bats Need Your Help
Contact the BC Community Bat Program:
see www.bcbats.ca, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-855-922-2287 or 250 995 2428
Correctly identify native and invasive milfoil:
See our page “Lake Stewardship” for photos and information on preventing invasive Eurasian Watermilfoil from entering Prospect Lake.
Or, see these links:
Northern water-milfoil [Myriophyllum sibericum]
Eurasian Watermilfoil [Myriophyllum spicatum]
Times Colonist article: 11th June 2015. The article is hard to read here, but beneath this photo is a link to the TC page. Hit the article there, and it should enlarge.
International Year of Soils 2015
Soils are the foundation for our food production and existence. It is important to use good practices that not only protect the soil, but also replenish its nutrients. Soil is the most undervalued resource to humans. The United Nations estimates that globally we lose 50,000 square kilometers of soils, an area the size of Costa Rica, each year.
For more information: http://prsss.landfood.ubc.ca/
FAO website: http://www.fao.org/soils-2015/en/
Noxious Weed Alert
Shiny-geranium [Geranium lucidum] information can be found at:
Shiny geranium, also called shining crane’s bill, is a low-growing annual Eurasian plant that has escaped from gardens into wild lands…
It resembles other weedy geraniums such as herb robert (Geranium robertianum) and dovefoot (Geranium molle), and can quickly spread and overwhelm open to semi-open habitats.
Plants can be carefully hand-pulled or dug out before they are in seed, but take care to remove as much root and stem as possible to prevent plants from re-sprouting. *
Flowers Low-growing annual with small, pink, 5-petaled flowers that grow in pairs on little stems
Leaves are shiny (especially later in the season), round to kidney-shaped with 5-7 lobes (that are themselves shallowly lobed)
Sepals (around the base of the flower) are keeled (stick out) with noticeable cross-ribs
Shiny geranium vs Dovefoot (Geranium molle) – Stems are reddish and not hairy, up to 20 inches tall
Bloom time is spring to late July
Resembles the common yard weed called dovefoot geranium (Geranium molle) but dovefoot’s petals are deeply notched (looks like the flowers have ten petals instead of five), and dovefoot is more fuzzy and the stems are less red.*
* All notes are from the link below.
Sources: Personal observations of D. Wong at Saanich Parks and C. O’Brien plus excerpts from:
A garden’s now more than a garden: trying to help the planet (and look good doing it)
by KATHERINE ROTH. The Associated Press.
This article was in the Times Colonist on 4th April 2015 [Section E, page 4].
“For many people who aren’t sure what they can do about climate change, home gardens provide an opportunity to make a palpable difference.
That sense of purpose is creating a change in garden esthetics, with a more natural look and more emphasis on drought-tolerant and wildlife-friendly plants.
… Unless we share our space with nature, the plants on which bees, caterpillars, butterflies, birds and other wildlife depend will not survive,” Tallamy said [Douglas Tallamy, University of Delaware].
Earth-friendly gardens consist mostly of native species, on which local wildlife depends, experts say.”
[Full paragraphs are written on these topics: PLANT AN OAK TREE; FEED THE POLLINATORS; MINIMIZE LAWN, CONCRETE AND NON-NATIVE ORNAMENTAL SPECIES; AVOID PESTICIDES. But note: the article is written for the east coast.]
To read the full article, click on this link: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/home-and-garden/gardening/a-gardens-now-more-than-a-garden-trying-to-help-the-planet-and-look-good-doing-it/article23734064/
For native plants lists, go to: Native Plant Society of B.C. with this link: http://www.npsbc.ca/nativeplants.html
And for a look at recent native plantings in our community, stroll through the pathways laid out in Whitehead Park. Many of our plants are labelled, and can be found on our “Projects” page, scroll down to Whitehead Park.
Naturespeak: Skunk cabbage is a bear’s BFF
NATURE’S EX-LAX Bears are one of the few animals that eat the buds and leaves of Skunk cabbage. It helps get their digestion moving after hibernation.
Long before bears stir in their dens, before salmonberries bloom pink on woody stems and vine maples unfold their leafy fans, skunk cabbage periscopes through wetlands.
Its yellow flower is the first sign of spring. Green leaves quickly unfurl and emit a pungent skunk-like odour that is hard to miss. The uninitiated will hold their noses and exclaim, “It stinks!”
The BFF of bears and early pollinators, skunk cabbage blooms before bees are active. Because of this, it attracts its own entourage with a foul stink. The smell comes from its leaves — when bruised they release a scent that attracts flies and beetles. Mistaking the odour for a rotting animal to lay their eggs on, they seek out the flower hidden within the hood-like leaf, which is called a spathe. And when they do, they transfer pollen from male to female plants.
It’s also a warm shelter to rest in, since skunk cabbage literally heats up air around it. If you were to put your finger inside the spathe at the right time and touch the flower, your fingertip would get warm. For a period of almost two weeks, the air temperature surrounding skunk cabbage can increase by up to 20 degrees. The heat skunk cabbage creates rises and helps to spread the odour, attracting more insects to this hotspot and making skunk cabbage as popular with some bugs as charging stations in airports.
Skunk cabbage is sometimes known as bearweed, as bears are one of the few animals that eat the buds and leaves.
When bears awake after hibernating, they haven’t defecated in a long time. Prior to hibernation, they ingested leaves, hair, dirt and needles to form a fecal plug up to a foot long in their lower intestine. When they wake up, they need to become unplugged before they can feast on grasses and grubs.
Enter skunk cabbage, nature’s Ex-Lax. Bears eat the plant to get things moving again. But don’t think about trying it yourself: the juices of its leaves cause serious inflammation in the mouth.
Skunk cabbage reminds us that bears will soon be sharing our favourite trails again, so when you start to see skunk cabbage around, remember to make noise and be aware of your surroundings.
Skunk cabbage is the guest that shows up early for the party, then slips out when it is in full swing. By the time berry season hits, its 1.3-metre tall leaves will have decayed and dissolved back into the muck it came from.
In its dreadlock of roots, it stores energy for next spring, when it will rise out of the ground like something out of a B-grade horror film and win over the flies and the bears (and maybe even you) with its unforgettable scent.
Written by: Bren Simmers of Whistler Naturalists
About Bats in the Capital region
While there are about 10 species of bats in the region, they all have a few things in common:
All our bats are insectivores, menaing they all eat bugs. In fact, they eat more insects than any other nighttime predator. No bats in Canada eat fruit or blood.
All our bats are relatively small. Most bats with their wings spread are smaller than adult’s outspread hand, though a few grow up to 20cm.
All are suffering from major habitat loss, including loss of important feeding areas on streams and wetlands, and roost areas in wildlife trees.
All are long-lived (over 30 years for some species) and reproduce slowly. Most species have only 1 baby each year, though a few species are known to have twins.
Several of our bat species are considered to be at risk, including the Keen’s Myotis and Townsend Big-eared Bat. The Little Brown Bat has been recommended for Endangered status by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada due to dramatic population losses from White Nose Syndrome in Eastern Canada.
There are 10 known species of bats on Vancouver Island, and all of them face threats from habitat loss, predatation by cats, and from the future arrival of White Nose Syndrome. Unfortunately, we know little about habits and population of bats on Vancouver Island. HAT’s Community Bat Program is working to better understand bats in the Capital region, and helping homeowners with bats in buildings find ways to live with the bats, or exclude them in way that does not harm them. Learn more about how you can help our local bat populations. HAT’s program is part of the Community Bat Programs of BC.
What can I do to help bats?
HAT needs volunteers and participants to record bats as part of the Annual Bat Count.
Contact us at 250 995-2428 or email email@example.com to find out what to do.
We need reports of bat colonies in the region. If you know of a colony, please contact us. We also need volunteers to monitor colonies so we can learn about them.
Place a bat house on home, an outbuilding, or on a pole in an open area on your property. Information on bat houses, including plans for making the houses and notes on placement, can be found at the Community Bat Programs of BC website.
Knotweed in CRD
Knotweed has destroyed the foundations of homes and roadways. Don’t try to remove the plant yourself. Cutting mowing and pulling the plant stimulates it to grow further.
It has been spotted in all CRD municipalities except the Highlands.
DO NOT COMPOST! Home composting is likely to increase the spread of this invasive plant.
Visit the Saanich web site for a complete “Invasive Plant Alert” information sheet, including photos: http://www.saanich.ca/living/environment/pdf/invasive/knotweed-alert-web.pdf
FOR ASSISTANCE on Private Land: Saanich Environmental Services @ 250-475-5471 or firstname.lastname@example.org
On Public Lands: Saanich Parks @ 250-475-5522 or email@example.com
“Our Backyard: A NEWSLETTER ON THE NATURAL ENVIRONMENT IN SAANICH”
Summer 2014: Tod Creek Watershed Edition
click here for a link: http://www.saanich.ca/living/environment/pdf/ob/OurbackyardSummer2014finalweb.pdf
“CUT BROOM IN BLOOM”
You CAN stop the spread of Scotch Broom.
Goward Road HAT Assessment by Steven Burgess link:
“Watershed Connections” Publications
Five issues of a journal, “Watershed Connections”, were produced. The purpose was to develop an awareness, understanding and appreciation for the watershed and to educate and encourage the residents to live in harmony with the environment, wildlife and each other.
See our publications – click to download
“Watershed Connections”.pdf files:
Western Painted Turtle Identification Guide
A BC Ministry of Environment document which provides information and identification of two of our resident turtle species – the native Western Painted Turtle and the introduced Slider Turtle.
“We want to hear about your turtle sightings. Please take a photo, write down the date and time you saw the turtle, and make a detailed description of the location (latitudinal and longitudinal coordinates are helpful), and email your sighting to BCFrogwatch@Victoria1.gov.bc.ca”
More information is available from the Habitat Acquisition Trust web site: HAT web-site
These printed documents and CDs are available from Mary Haig-Brown:
“Beaver Dam Profile” including maps & cross section [4 sheets]
CD: jpg files of plans & profile, no original data
“Farmington Rd –> Durrance Rd”
CD: Saanich Drainage BDYS Nov.2008 R2004
Corporation of the District of Saanich letter Sept 20, 2001
to Hans Boerger re: Draft Report “Water Quality & Lakeshed
Assessment for Prospect Lake” from Pamela Hartling
CRD: Hartland Landfill Environmental Program Annual Report [April 2006 to March 2007]
Prepared by: Fillipone, Robins, Pym, Wilson
CRD: Tod Creek/Prospect Lake Rehabilitation Study Nov 1992
Prepared by: UMA Engineering Ltd. Victoria BC
& Gartner Lee Limited Burnaby, BC
Drainage Feasibility Study Tod Creek Preliminary Report and Benefit
Cost Assessment for the Ministry of Agriculture Sept 1979
Willis Cunliffe Tait & Co. Ltd Consulting Engineers
Filling in the gaps: Revegetating the riparian zone of private properties on
Prospect Lake, BC
Tamara Bonnemaison Jan 2004
Overview of Bedrock and surficial geology, lake cores and palaeoenvironmental history of the Tod Creek Watershed, SE Vancouver Island…
David Huntley and Charlotte Bowman
– 2 copies of same
3rd copy notes missing ps 16 & 17
Prospect Lake: Water Quality and Lakeshed Assessment…
Prepared by: Hans Boerger, PH D
Plan Showing Properties Benefiting From Drainage Improvements on Tod Creek
Prospect Lake: Water Quality & Lakeshed Assessment
Binder I Report
Binder II Appendices 1 – 25
Binder III Appendices 26- 40
Binder IV Appendices 41 – 72
Prospect Lake Water Sampling: FInal Report July 2, 2002
Prepared by: Richard A. Bailey, P Eng of Envirosoil Services Inc
Saanich Rights of Way & Parks Inventory
Maps/Site/s: 37-1, 38-4, 39-1, 39-2, 39-3, 44-2, 44-9, 45-1, 48-2, 49-3,4,5,6
Corp District of Saanich: Map/s # 19, 27, 35, 41, 28, 34, 27, 19
Tod Creek Habitat Study: Final Study dated Feb 28, 1985
[Library of BC Ministry of Forests & Range Ref No. 1-715]
Prepared by Philip EK Symons, of Dobrocky SEATECH Ltd
Tod Creek Map
Tod Creek Profile: Farmington Rd to Durrance Rd June 4/03
Tod Creek Watershed Project HAT: EcoAction Final Report
Prepared by: Hurley, Christie & Whittington March 2002
Article / Book List
1. 25 Favorite Lakes of Southern Vancouver Island: Complete with hydrographic maps, directions, lake information.
Compiled by: Chuck Harvey
Haig Brown Fly Fishing Association 1992
2. Cows and Fish: Package of Info. “Caring for the Green Zone.”
Authors: Barry Adams, P.Ag. & Lorne Fitch, P.Biol.
Alberta RIparian Habitat Management Project 2nd Ed 1998.
3. On the Living Edge: Your Handbook for Waterfront Living
Authors: Sarah Kipp & Clive Callaway
Federation of B.C. Naturalists 2002
4. * Stewardship Options: For Private Landowners in B.C
Author: Briony Penn
BC Ministry of Environment, Lands & Parks 1996
5. * Naturescape B.C.: Caring for Wildlife Habitat at Home
Resource Booklet, Georgia Basin
Compiled by: Theresa Duynstee & Angela Deering
BC Ministry of Environment, Lands & Parks 1995
6.* Naturscape B.C.: Caring for Wildlife Habitat at Home
Native Plant & Animal Booklet, Georgia Basin
Written & Compiled by: Susan Campbell
BC Ministry of Environment, Lands & Parks 1995
7. The Garry Oak Gardener’s Handbook, 2nd Ed. 2009
Garry Oak Ecosystems Recovery Team Society
* #’s 4, 5 & 6: The Stewardship Series
8. The Garden City Handbook: How to Create & Protect Community Gardens
in Greater Victoria
Written & Researched by Emily MacNair
Polis Project on Ecological Governance, UVIC 2002
9. Giving the Land a Voice: Mapping our Home Places
Edited by: Sheila Harrington
LTA Land Trust Alliance of BC 1999
10. Saanich Heritage Structures
Saanich Heritage Register 2008
Donald Luxton & Associates Inc.
with Jennifer Nell Barr
The Corporation of the District of Saanich