Judy Nault is leading an effort to eliminate canary reed grass as part of an ongoing effort to rehabilitate Bee Creek.

Volunteers take aim at invasive reed grass

A single stalk of reed canary grass pokes through a bed of mulch — a defiant gesture from an aggressive invasive plant.

A single stalk of reed canary grass pokes through a bed of mulch — a defiant gesture from an aggressive invasive plant.

“One got through,” says Judy Nault, standing over a wide oval of wood chips on the Havenwood property Colwood. “We’ll have to get on that.”

Nault is one of about three volunteers helping eradicate coarse, fast growing reed grass near Bee Creek, a short waterway restored as a fish-bearing stream about four years ago in a $150,000 project.

The canary grass grows fast and tall, Nault says, smothering out native species and degrading the ecosystem that exists alongside the creek. Unlike Scotch broom, snipping reed grass isn’t the strategy — its roots spread too deep and wide.

Instead, the volunteers layer cardboard over the grass and heap earth over top that. Wood chip ovals that dot the picturesque property mark patches of progress.

“Using cardboard smothers (reed grass) completely and it leaves the topsoil there,” says Nault, a retired landscaper who lives in Colwood. “Then we can plant native plants on top.”

That’s theoretical — the volunteers can’t afford to buy native plants.

Three summers ago, the Alberta-based Havenwood developers helped fund reed grass eradication, but these days the group is working off its own steam.

It’s even hard to find enough free cardboard, which she notes, can be used as is, minus any packing tape.

Bee Creek itself originates from wetlands in the surrounding Royal Roads property, snaking its way into the Esquimalt Lagoon. The area was once logged, and the creek, surprisingly for the volume of water that flushes through, once held a small hydroelectric dam.

Nault figures the volunteers have at least two more summers of work along the creek to push back reed grass to allow a more diverse, native habitat to take root. With no money and a small team, Nault says she’s motivated by the notion of caring for the land and habitat for the greater good. It also helps the surrounding estate is akin to a small Garden of Eden, overlooking the lagoon.

“I love this property, it’s such a beautiful place,” she says. “We’re never going to have enough money to pay people — its just too labour intensive. We’ve just got to get back to being stewards of the places where we live.”

Anyone interested in volunteering with Nault can email judynault@telus.net.




Just Posted

Saanich residents face higher sewer, water and garbage rates

Council is set to ratify an increase of 10.52 per cent for sewer

Saanich Police board chair supports department in case over fired officer, but key questions remain

Case involves former Saanich constable who was the subject of 15 separate misconduct allegations

Remember Spunky? Santa came out to Sidney to check on him

Red-tailed Hawk made headlines last year after being stolen, raised by eagles

MISSING: 59-year-old Pamela Fletcher

Fletcher was last seen in the area near Royal Jubilee Hospital on Dec. 10

Mainroad South Island reminds drivers to keep them in the loop

Call the hotlines for concerns on local provincial highways

Strong winds leave BC Ferries’ passengers at Swartz Bay terminal

As 3 p.m. sailing for Vancouver boards, some travellers waited upwards of five hours

POLL: Are you dreaming of a white Christmas?

The rain Vancouver Island is famous for is coming down in buckets,… Continue reading

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Dec. 11, 2018

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Media, robotics, Indigenous studies coming to B.C. Grade 12 classrooms in 2019-20

Provincial tests are also being changed for students in Grade 10 to 12, the Education Ministry said

ICBC to apply for 6.3% hike to basic insurance rates

Crown Corporation said it will be submitting its next basic rate application to the British Columbia Utilities Commission Friday

Stranded B.C. trucker writes final wishes before being rescued 3 days later

‘I was just praying someone would come along’

Canfor Corp. extending temporary curtailment of sawmills in B.C.; cutting hours

Vancouver-based company says the decision is due to declining lumber prices, high log costs and log supply constraints

Canada’s prospective world junior team members await final roster decisions

Thirty-four players were invited to the national junior selection camp

Woman guilty of impaired driving in death of Vancouver Island pedestrian

Man in his 70s killed in 2016 Courtenay multi-vehicle incident

Most Read