Letter: Park volunteers are needed

Volunteers are vital to ongoing efforts to protect the native species in Uplands Park

The Uplands Park Garry Oak Ecosystem is endangered and needs to have invasive plants removed. This takes many volunteers and the entire community of Oak Bay. You are needed to help remove ivy and other invasives like broom and Daphne.

This year’s management plans are to remove all ivy from the ocean side of the Cattle Point road, and to remove ivy from trees in the central area of Cattle Point.

This is an excellent way for secondary students to earn their volunteer hours. Girl Guides can earn their Alien Invader badges, and Garry Oak Restoration crests. Last year we documented over 1,000 hours of volunteer help.  This was critical for the Oak Bay Parks Department to apply for and get the federal Habitat Stewardship Program grant. This fall, HSP gave Parks over $100,000 over three years to hire a Restoration Ecologist on contract to develop management plans and hire some experts to remove invasives near the 23 rare plants in the park.

This money cannot be used to remove invasives in other areas of the park, but they still need to be removed because they are taking over the Garry oak ecosystem and the fields of blue camas and other wildflfowers that support the animal population in the park.

We need volunteers to do this. If the invasives are not removed, the park will become an area of invasive Norway maple, English hawthorn, European ash, European elm and other bushes and low plants without the beautiful wildflowers, insects, birds etc.

The park will be an area that could burn very hot and fast, threatening the houses built nearby if there is a wildfire.

Margaret Lidkea, Chair of FOUP,

partnering with

Oak Bay Parks