The Ecological Restoration Student Association (ERSA) is a self-governed, elected association made to represent students enrolled in the Masters of Science in Ecological Restoration program – jointly offered by BCIT and SFU.
My applied research project aims to model the carbon sequestration level along a 20 km stretch of the Trans-Canada Highway in Chiliwack, BC. I will that use that information to make recommendations for highway right-of-way management and create a vegetation plan that will increase the carbon sequestration potential along this vehicle corridor.
Back in the summer of 2020, I went out to various predetermined areas along the highway where I gathered tree measurement data, identified vegetation and took soil samples. The tree measurement data was used in a program called i-Tree Eco v6, which is a software applicated program designed to use single tree measurement data from randomly located plots along with local hourly air pollution and meteorological data to quantify forest structure, environmental effects, and to value to communities. The program provides various analyses included information on carbon sequestration and storage. I also used their online program i-Tree Canopy v7.1, which uses satellite imagery to define land cover types and generates information about carbon sequestration and storage.
I hope to use this information to encourage the BC Government to plant in the highway right-of-ways to increase carbon sequestration in these areas as well as highlight the use of the i-Tree suite of programs that can be used for free.
From November 6th to the 8th, 8 Ecological Restoration Graduate students went on a volunteer trip to Galiano to assist the Galiano Conservation Association with some planting in their recently restored areas.
We had a wild time getting to Galiano the first night and just barely made it onto the last ferry that night. When we arrived at the Conservancy, we were met with a beautiful night sky full of stars and a toasty warm cabin classroom where we all had a chance to hangout and chat until we decided to go to sleep that night.
The next morning, we woke up to a grey, windy day but we got our many layers on and headed out to the North East part of the Conservancy’s property to start planting. As like with many of the gulf islands, Galiano has a high population of deer so we needed to construct deer-proof cages to surround the newly planted plants so they wouldn’t disappear overnight by hungry deer.
On the last day, Adam Huggins, the Restoration Coordinator for the Galiano Conservancy Association, showed us around the property and the many places they have restored and plan to restore. One such part is the Nuts’a’maat’ Forage Forest in which they are attempting to cultivate traditional food and medicinal plants in a restored and regenerating ecosystem.
We planted about 300 pants over two days we had to plant while also having some time to hangout and explore the property. Saturday night we managed to get a fire going despite some gusty wind, and on Sunday we watched the sun set at Chrystal Cove on the property. Just before we left for the ferry terminal, we checked out Montague Bay to watch the last of the light fade behind the Vancouver Island mountain ranges. We finished off the weekend by getting pizza at a restaurant in town called Babes in the Woods. We highly recommend their BBQ Chicken and Galiano Sweetheart pizza.
While this was a one-time volunteer opportunity with the Galiano Conservancy Association, we hope to continue this relationship and visit with them year after year to help them with their grand plans to restore the land that they promise to protect.