The French Creek estuary is home to more than 135 native and five introduced avian species. - Submitted photo

The French Creek estuary is home to more than 135 native and five introduced avian species. - Submitted photo

VIU researches importance of French Creek Estuary area

Estuary not currently included in any protected areas

The Friends of French Creek Conservation Society (FFCCS) sought out the expertise of VIU’s Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Region Research Institute (MABRRI) to help support their efforts to protect private property from development and become protected parkland.

“They approached us about a year ago to collaborate to find ways to support their efforts,” says Larissa Thelin, MABRRI assistant research and community engagement co-ordinator. “Our purpose was to create a research report to determine the value of the space to help assist in convincing another party to take the project on as a park.”

The French Creek estuary is home to more than 135 native and five introduced avian species. Despite its importance, the estuary is not currently included in any protected areas, meaning it is vulnerable to development and disturbance. The land in question is a 23-acre parcel located just north of the French Creek estuary. The acreage is a mixture of estuary, forested land, and wetlands. Protecting this particular property was the reason the Friends of French Creek Conservation Society formed back in 2004.

Related: French Creek development plans coming to regional district

Related: Locals support idea for new French Creek park

“Our goal from day one has been to save that land from development,” says Robin Robinson, the chair for the French Creek Estuary Land Committee.

With the support from the current land owners, French Creek Estates Ltd., MABRRI conducted a full report of the historical, community, and ecological values of the property. What was discovered is the land is home to a lot of wildlife – including migratory birds, a family of otters, deer, and fish.

“If the property was further developed into a residential space, this could potentially have negative effects on the stream and its inhabitants,” says Thelin.

Estuary is a mixture of salt and fresh water, making it a transition point for a lot of young fish, according to Robinson. “If we disrupt this important environment for our salmon and trout, it could affect our fish population in the area.”

Related: Conservation group works to protect estuary lands at French Creek

FFCCS conducted an online survey and received 342 responses from community members. Results showed 93.4 per cent supported the estuary park proposal. The main results of the survey are included in the MABRRI report.

“Our report demonstrates the importance of protecting this space as a public parkland,” Thelin said. “It has great potential to be an incredible interactive space for people to enjoy and learn about the environment, while maintaining a safe space for vegetation and wildlife.”

French Creek Estates Ltd. suggested interest in the formation of a public park as long as liability of the land could be transferred to an organization who could take on the management of the park indefinitely.

The FFCCS with the support of the French Creek Residents’ Association are currently in discussions to sign a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the property owners that would declare up to 62 per cent of the 23 acres be donated as protected parkland. Before the land can be donated however, certain conditions must be met, which includes finding an organization(s) willing to take over responsibility of title and maintenance of the parkland.

— NEWS Staff; VIU

VIU

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Terry Keogh, an RDN Transit driver, used his paramedic skills the morning of Jan. 22 after coming across an unconscious woman along his route in downtown Nanaimo. (RDN Transit photo)
RDN Transit driver stops his bus and helps get overdosing woman breathing again

Former EMT from Ireland performed CPR on a woman in downtown Nanaimo on Friday

The intersection at Moilliet Street and Despard Avenue where a 12-year-old boy was struck by an oncoming vehicle early November while crossing at a marked crosswalk. (Mandy Moraes photo)
City staff members, school district officials to discuss high-traffic Parksville intersection

Young boy suffered broken leg after being hit in Despard/Moilliet crossing

Thursday, Jan. 28, 2021 is International Lego Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Jan. 24 to 30

Lego Day, Talk Like a Grizzled Prospector Day and Puzzle Day are all coming up this week

Actions of Vancouver Island RCMP emergency response team members prevented a potential head-on collision accident on the Trans-Canada Highway on Jan. 19, says Nanaimo RCMP. (News Bulletin file)
Eight cars evade vehicle driving on wrong side of highway, says Nanaimo RCMP

Incident occurred near Trans-Canada Highway-Morden Road intersection earlier this week

A video posted to social media by Chilliwack resident Rob Iezzi shows a teenager getting kicked in the face after being approached by three suspects on Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. (YouTube/Rob i)
VIDEO: Security cameras capture ‘just one more assault’ near B.C. high school

Third high-school related assault captured by Chilliwack resident’s cameras since beginning of 2021

FILE - In this Feb. 14, 2017, file photo, Oklahoma State Rep. Justin Humphrey prepares to speak at the State Capitol in Oklahoma City. A mythical, ape-like creature that has captured the imagination of adventurers for decades has now become the target of Rep. Justin Humphrey. Humphrey, a Republican House member has introduced a bill that would create a Bigfoot hunting season, He says issuing a state hunting license and tag could help boost tourism. (Steve Gooch/The Oklahoman via AP, File)
Oklahoma lawmaker proposes ‘Bigfoot’ hunting season

A Republican House member has introduced a bill that would create a Bigfoot hunting season

Economic Development and Official Languages Minister Melanie Joly responds to a question in the House of Commons Monday November 23, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Federal minister touts need for new B.C. economic development agency

Last December’s federal economic update promised a stimulus package of about $100 billion this year

FILE - In this Nov. 20, 2017, file photo, Larry King attends the 45th International Emmy Awards at the New York Hilton, in New York. Former CNN talk show host King has been hospitalized with COVID-19 for more than a week, the news channel reported Saturday, Jan. 2, 2021. CNN reported the 87-year-old King contracted the coronavirus and was undergoing treatment at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. (Photo by Andy Kropa/Invision/AP, File)
Larry King, broadcasting giant for half-century, dies at 87

King conducted an estimated 50,000 on-air interviews

Comox Valley RCMP are looking for witnesses after the theft of a generator worth thousands of dollars. Photo supplied
RCMP asking Vancouver Island residents to watch for stolen generator

Vehicle may have been travelling on Highway 19

BC Coroners Service is currently investigating a death at Canoe Cove Marina and Boatyard in North Saanich. (Black Press Media File)
Drowning death in North Saanich likely B.C.’s first in for 2021

Investigation into suspected drowning Monday night continues

Kimberly Proctor, 18, was murdered in 2010. Her family has spent many of the years since pushing for a law in her honour, that they say would help to prevent similar tragedies. (Courtesy of Jo-Anne Landolt)
Proposed law honouring murdered B.C. teen at a standstill, lacks government support

Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions has concerns with involuntary detainment portion of act

Most Read