The Nature Trust of BC raises funds needed to conserve rare and environmentally valuable ecosystems from development.
February 22, 2023, Saturna Island, BC, Canada – Today The Nature Trust of British Columbia, one of the province’s leading non-profit land conservation organizations, announces that it has successfully protected 31.2 hectares (77.2 acres) of ecologically important land from development on Saturna Island thanks to the generosity and support from the local community. This announcement follows The Nature Trust of BC purchasing Saturna Island – Money Creek in June 2022, 58.1 hectares of critical land in close proximity to this property.
The Saturna Island – Mount Fisher Bluffs provides tremendous ecological value and contains six sensitive ecosystems, including a portion of a wetland, the shallow-soled grassland, herbaceous rocky bluffs, coniferous woodland, mixed woodland, and mature coniferous forests that range from 80 to 250 years old. The Southern Islands chain is a popular retreat for locals and tourists who appreciate the natural beauty of the land. As a result of the region’s popularity, human disturbance and development has significantly impacted the biodiversity and ecological health of the islands. The purchase of this property ensures that the land will never be developed or sold, protecting its ecosystems and biodiversity for its continuity.
The property is nestled within the moist maritime Coastal Douglas-fir (CDFmm) biogeoclimatic subzone, which is one of the smallest and most at risk Biogeoclimatic Ecosystem Classification (BEC) zones in the province. Only 11.4 percent of the Coastal Douglas-fir zone is conserved and these areas are mostly found within the southern Gulf Islands, along southeast Vancouver Island, and in pockets of the south mainland coast.
The Saturna Island – Mount Fisher Bluffs also contains the rare Garry Oak ecosystem, which provides habitat, food, and breeding grounds for rare and at risk species. Less than five percent of Garry Oak ecosystems remain in their natural condition and the conservation of this property will protect both Garry Oak forest and wildflower meadows.
The Saturna Island-Mount Fisher provides a home for a variety of plant and animal species listed under Canada’s Species at Risk Act (SARA). The Great Blue Heron and Peregrine Falcon (SARA Schedule 1 Special Concern) and Barn Swallow (SARA Schedule 1 Threatened) have been recorded in proximity to the property. Threatened plants and flowers grow within the rare Garry Oak ecosystems, including the Slender Popcornflower (SARA Schedule 1 Threatened), which is only known to grow in seven extant sites in Canada, and the endangered White Meconella (SARA Schedule 1 Endangered), a member of the poppy family that is only found in eight other locations in Canada.
The conservation of the Saturna Island-Mount Fisher Bluffs tackles the twin crises of biodiversity loss and climate change, allowing animals and carbon-absorbing flora and fauna an opportunity to flourish undisturbed for generations to come.
This project was made possible by the Government of Canada through the Natural Heritage Conservation Program, part of Canada’s Nature Fund. Special thanks Val and Dick Bradshaw, Paul and Mona Sinclair, and to the Gulf Island community whose generous gifts contributed to this conservation project.
“We are in awe of the generosity from the Saturna Island community. The Mount Fisher Bluffs are teeming with plant and animal life thanks to an incredibly diverse range of ecosystems. These donations will enable us to protect this ecologically rich area for generations to come.”
– Jasper Lament, CEO of The Nature Trust
“To tackle the twin crises of climate change and biodiversity loss, we need a whole-of-society approach. This project protects incredibly valuable Douglas fir ecosystems, which are habitat to many species at risk. This is what we can achieve when we work together. It is with the huge generosity of the local community here, the Nature Trust of British Columbia, and the federal Natural Heritage Conservation Program, that we are getting a little bit closer to reaching Canada’s goal of protecting thirty percent of land and water by 2030.”
– The Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change
- The Saturna Island – Mount Fisher Bluffs are located on Saturna Island, a Southern Gulf Island which is approximately 20 kilometers northeast of Sidney on Vancouver Island.
- The Nature Trust recently purchased Saturna Island – Money Creek, 58.1 hectares (143.5 acres) of sensitive land in close proximity to Mount Fisher Bluffs.
- Saturna Island – Mount Fisher Bluffs consists of 31.2 hectares of vacant land including sensitive ecosystems.
- The area’s ecosystems include the shallow-soiled grassland, herbaceous rocky bluffs, coniferous woodland, mixed woodland, mature coniferous forests that range from 80 to 250 years old, and a portion of a wetland.
- The area is located within the moist maritime Coastal Douglas-fir (CDFmm) biogeoclimatic subzone, one of the smallest and most at risk Biogeoclimatic Ecosystem Classification (BEC) zones in BC.
- Less than 5% of Garry Oak ecosystems remain in near natural condition and the Saturna Island-Mount Fisher Bluffs area contains both Garry Oak forest and wildflower meadows.
- Sensitive species found within the area include the threatened Barn Swallow and the of-special-concern Great Blue Heron.
- The Garry Oak ecosystems contain rare and sensitive plant life, such as the threatened Slender Popcornflower and the endangered White Meconella.
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The Nature Trust of British Columbia is a leading non-profit land conservation organization with over 50 years of success protecting and caring for B.C.’s most critical habitats. Since 1971, The Nature Trust of BC and its partners have acquired more than 73,000 hectares (180,000 acres) of ecologically significant land to save vulnerable wildlife, fish and plants.
The Government of Canada’s Natural Heritage Conservation Program (NHCP) is a unique public-private partnership to support new protected and conserved areas by securing private lands and private interests in lands. The program is managed by the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC). Federal funds invested in the program are matched with contributions raised by NCC and its partners, Ducks Unlimited Canada and the country’s land trust community.
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The Nature Trust of BC
Alicia Collyear, Account Director