Nanoose Ecosystem Threatened

Stream in DL 33 by Gary Murdock

Stream in DL 33 by Gary Murdock

The BC provincial government wants to allow logging on a last remnant of what was once one of the province’s most productive ecosystems. District Lot 33 is a 64-hectare block of low elevation Coastal Douglas Fir (CDF) forest at Nanoose. In 2005 the Forest Practices Board issued the first of a series of warnings that this tract of Crown Land represented an ecosystem at “high risk for extinction”. Since then, the Arrowsmith Parks and Land-Use Council (APLUC) has struggled to save DL 33 from the chainsaws.

Unfortunately, BC Forests Minister Pat Bell seems determined to have this rare piece of mature CDF forest cut down whatever the cost to our province’s biodiversity. Bell is now attempting to manipulate the Douglas Treaties of the 1850’s to provide an excuse for allowing Snaw-Naw-As Forestry, a group from the Nanoose First Nation, to log the land under a woodlot licence.

“Do they want to meet with us in good faith to save the CDF ecosystem, or are they setting the scene to scapegoat First Nations on this issue?” said Berni Pearce of APLUC. “Having failed for its entire term of office to manage our Vancouver Island forests in a manner which is sustainable for both jobs and the environment, perhaps the government thinks it can pass the buck to First Nations – that’s just not fair,” said Pearce.

The APLUC will meet with forestry officials in August in the hope of convincing the government that DL 33 should not be logged. In the meantime, they are continuing to gather biological data. Earlier this week, birders from the Arrowsmith Naturalists found 41 bird species at the site in one morning visit, including the rare, red-listed Purple Martin. DL 33 is especially rich in bird and other life because of its protective canopy, extensive wetland, exceptional diversity, and abundance of insect food – very important for Purple Martin survival.

The Western Canada Wilderness Committee is conducting free weekly guided walks at DL 33 during July and August, 2010. The public is invited to meet prior to each tour at the Nanoose Petro-Canada Service Station, corner of Island Highway 19 and NW Bay Road, at 11 am on Saturdays. For more information call Berni Pearce at 1-250-248-8464.