An eagle preserve is being planned to be created at the French Creek Estuary. (Michael Briones photo)

An eagle preserve is being planned to be created at the French Creek Estuary. (Michael Briones photo)

Conservation groups to raise funds to create eagle preserve in French Creek estuary

‘It’s crucial to secure these remaining acres so this incredible ecosystem stays intact’

Conservation groups in Parksville Qualicum Beach have joined forces in raising funds to create the first eagle preserve on Vancouver Island, one of only three in British Columbia.

It will be located at the French Creek estuary which is 23 richly biodiverse acres with riparian habitat, wetlands, a pond and one of B.C.’s most threatened ecosystems, older growth Coastal Douglas fir forest.

The property owner by French Creek House Ltd., has plans to donate 12 acres of the land to be designated as forested parkland and for the eagle preserve. In 1994, the late John Moore, the former owner, already donated five acres for a community park.

The Friends of French Creek Conservation Society and Save Estuary Land Society are hoping to raise funds toward the purchase of the remaining five acres.

Quinn Griesdale, the nephew of the former owner of the property, has already indicated that he would love to see the conservation groups buy the five acres and add it to the proposed eagle preserve.

RELATED: French Creek Estuary owners poised to donate more than 12 acres as parkland

“It’s crucial to secure these remaining acres so this incredible ecosystem stays intact serving as a vital wildlife corridor of forest, wetlands and riparian area along French Creek and the Estuary,” said Denise Foster, Save Estuary Land Society. “If sold for development, we’ll lose these trees and habitat for wildlife including species at risk as we could end up with 40 or more houses in the middle of the eagle preserve.

Foster thanked Trevor and Eileen Wicks and two other anonymous donors who have generously offered to match donations of up to $28,000 until Jan 15, 2021.

If you wish to make a tax deductible donation or by volunteering to help, please visit these websites: https://www.savefrenchcreekestuaryland.ca/ and https://ffccs.ca/

The eagle preserve has already garnered the support of the Hancock Wildlife Foundation, which built the first artificial nest for eagles on Vancouver Island at the French Creek Estuary last September. Renowned eagle expert David Hancock described the estuary as an ideal ecological preserve for eagles.

Regional District of Nanaimo’s Electoral Area G (French Creek, San Pareil, Little Qualicum) director Lehann Wallace also backed the objective of the societies.

“I am so pleased to see a positive partnership formed with the volunteer groups and French Creek House who are dedicated to the conservation of this valuable estuary habitat for eagle populations,” said Wallace. “They are looking to the community for donations and our whole area can benefit from their hard work by supporting their campaign.”

The societies would like to thank the Hancock Wildlife Foundation, Nanaimo and Area Land Trust and Shaw Communications for their support.

You can watch Eagles and Estuaries Video: https://youtu.be/k0F60f4mLKU?t=2

Michael.Briones@pqbnews.com

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