Read Island Provincial Park (photo credit: Kelly Chapman)

December 2020 eNews

Hello CDFCP subscribers!

We have some exciting news to bring you in this edition, including new CDFCP initiatives, recent property donations and fundraising drives, a successful burn at the Cowichan Garry Oak Preserve, and a tribute to Irvin Banman, the Preserve's long time steward.  Read on to find out more!

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New CDFCP Initiatives

With the help of 2020/21 funding from Canada Nature Fund's Priority Places initiative and the Real Estate Foundation of BC, the CDFCP is working on a number of new projects. These include:
  • Developing a webinar series aimed at building understanding and support for planning and securement tools, with the overall aim of increasing conservation and stewardship of threatened CDF ecosystems on private land;
  • Finalizing and piloting a framework for providing input into Official Community Plans, and increasing local government understanding and support for planning and securement tools;
  • Undertaking a review and update of the 2015 CDFCP Conservation Strategy, with a focus on working with local governments and dovetailing conservation objectives with climate mitigation and adaptation efforts. A draft will be sent out to members for review in the new year. 
These initiatives build on our Conservation Planning in Coastal Douglas-fir Ecosystems: A Quick Guide for Local Government, launched last year.  They will help raise awareness among local governments and conservation groups of the importance of protecting Coastal Douglas-fir ecosystems, and the role this can play in climate mitigation and conservation of rare species and ecosystems.

HAT partnering with CRD Parks
to acquire new park land in Saanich

(Photo credit: Habitat Acquisition Trust)
Habitat Acquisition Trust—(HAT) is raising $1.4M to enable CRD Parks to acquire 49 acres of urban forest located at 4692 Mountain Road in Saanich.  A local family has owned this forested property for nearly 50 years. Recognizing the ecological and community values of the property, the family has been pursuing a permanent conservation option for this urban forest for many years. Now, partnering with the Capital Regional District (CRD) and Habitat Acquisition Trust (HAT) the family has entered an agreement to sell the property so that it can be permanently designated an urban forest park. With the CRD’s $2M contribution and the selling family’s $200k matching pledge, HAT has committed to raising the remaining $1.2M by Earth Day 2021, to complete the purchase of this property and protect it permanently. See the Mountain Road Forest Project feature video and ways to donate here.  

Long time steward of Cowichan Garry Oak Preserve moving on

(Photo credit: Genevieve Singleton)
After 19 years, Irvin Banman has wrapped up his tenure as the conservation steward of the Cowichan Garry Oak Preserve, which is owned and managed by the Nature Conservancy of Canada. 

Irv joined the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) in 2001 to help with the restoration and stewardship of the 33-hectare conservation area, which was acquired by NCC in 2000. At the time, the preserve was overrun by invasive Scotch broom and other non-native plants. An extensive restoration effort was launched to reclaim the natural Garry oak meadows. 

When Irv started with NCC he was new to ecological restoration, but he dove into the job and steadily grew from student to master to mentor. His deep knowledge of Garry oak habitats, calm and welcoming presence, and delight in sharing the preserve earned him the warm respect of colleagues, volunteers, partners, donors and visitors. He leaves a long and substantial natural legacy. 

When reflecting on his time with NCC, Irv recalled the words of the late Cowichan Valley naturalist Sid Watts: “One day Sid and I were walking through the Mt Tzouhalem Ecological Reserve, planning the next stages of invasives removal and identifying rare species. I appreciate the wisdom of the elders, and so was interested to know about Sid's way of dealing with the stressors of seeing impacts of human activities on nature. At the time he was still young – in his mid 70s. He replied with three simple principles: first, it doesn't do any good to get mad; second, do what you can; and third, get out there and enjoy the local beauty.” 

The Nature Conservancy of Canada is grateful for the heartfelt dedication Irv has given to the Cowichan Garry Oak Preserve and to the nearby Chase Woods Nature Preserve. His steady hand will be missed, but his legacy lives on in thriving wildflower meadows, dedicated volunteers and countless people who know and care a little bit more about this special ecosystem thanks to him. 

Any inquiries about NCC’s work in the Cowichan Valley can be directed to Steve Godfrey at

Raincoast and Pender Islands Conservancy join forces to protect Flycatcher Forest

(Photo credit: Alex Harris)

Coastal Douglas-fir Conservation Partnership member, Raincoast Conservation Foundation and the Pender Islands Conservancy Association have joined forces to purchase and protect a 13 acre property on North Pender Island. They secured an offer in late November and have until April 30th, 2021 to raise the $395,000 required to purchase the property and place it under a protective covenant. The two organizations have combined their collective experience and expertise with the aim of establishing a protected place that is managed to maximize ecological integrity and resilience, but also to benefit the community via research and education opportunities. 

The land in question is in the Traditional Territory of the W̱SÁNEĆ people, who know Pender Islands as S,DÁYES. Characteristic of Coastal Douglas-fir (CDF) forests, it is well-treed with stands of maturing Coastal Douglas-fir, arbutus, and western red cedar. In its northwestern corner is a hardhack – sitka sedge wetland, a significant water source in the Buck Lake Reservoir watershed. Preliminary bird surveys have identified 36 species who use this site for foraging and nesting. This includes the blue-listed olive-sided flycatcher, which is known to frequent forest/wetland interfaces. As a species linking these two habitat types, the flycatcher has become the namesake of the land now known as S,DÁYES Flycatcher Forest.


How to burn a meadow 

(Photo credit: NCC)

After six years of waiting, the right combination of weather, people and planning finally allowed the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) to set the Cowichan Garry Oak Preserve on fire. Working closely with the BC Wildfire Service, NCC staff prepared a burn plan and crossed their fingers that the weather and climate conditions would cooperate to allow a burn to go ahead in late September. Controlled burns are one of the tools NCC is experimenting with in their ongoing restoration of the 33-hectare conservation area near Duncan.  Read the story of this successful conservation burn at NCC’s website.

Coastal Douglas-fir ecosystems conserved by The Nature Trust of BC

The Nature Trust is delighted to be receiving two donations of property, protecting 48 acres of Coastal Douglas-fir ecological communities. 
Breton Island–Whitridge Reserve is a 12.6 acre island located near the east coast of Quadra Island. The property contains mature coniferous forest, herbaceous rocky shoreline, and shallow marine area, providing important habitat for sea ducks, shorebirds, seabirds, and other waterbirds. Among the bird species using the island are the threatened Marbled Murrelet, and three species of special concern –Ancient Murrelet, Cassin’s Auklet, and Great Blue Heron.

Cowichan River–Gibbins Road conservation property is 36 acres of young to mature coniferous forest and sensitive riparian corridor ecosystems along the Cowichan River near Duncan. Black Cottonwood, Bigleaf Maple, Western Redcedar, Douglas-fir, Common Snowberry, and Dull Oregon Grape grow on the property. The Cowichan River is designated as a Canadian Heritage River System because of its significant abundance and variety of fish. 



Apply now - 2021 Brink/McLean Grassland Conservation Fund

Deadline:  February 12, 2021 
The 2021 Brink/McLean Grassland Conservation Fund application is now available.  This fund applies to Garry Oak meadows.

The fund was established by The Nature Trust of BC in May 2001 and it honours two of Canada’s most celebrated conservationists and past Board members (Dr. Bert Brink and Dr. Alastair McLean) who devoted much of their lives to conserving BC’s native grasslands.

The objective of the Brink/McLean Grassland Conservation Fund is to promote research, habitat restoration and other stewardship activities that will assist in the management of the land, plants and animals of BC’s native grasslands.

All applications must be received on or before February 12, 2021 at 4:30pm
More information & funding application: 2021 Brink/McLean Grassland Conservation Fund application
Get in touch!
Do you have a project that the CDFCP could support? If so, please contact to discuss further. We are always looking for opportunities to support our members.

We also welcome new organisations, local governments and individuals to join the CDFCP by signing our Statement of Cooperation

Visit our website

Our Mission:

To promote the conservation and stewardship of the Coastal Douglas-fir and associated ecosystems in south-western British Columbia through sound science, shared information, supportive policies, and community education.

CDFCP Conservation Strategy

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