Rehabilitating the LittleQualicum River estuary
From 2008 through 2011, we developed a rehabilitation plan for the Little Qualicum River estuary in consultation with experts. Our challenges were many. The dendritic channels of the mid and high marsh areas had widened and become shallow. Channel edge plant communities along the main channel were mostly denuded. On the lower marsh, much of the marsh platform -rich organic substrates accumulating over millennia, had washed away with the tides. A salmonid enhancement project on the spit had been deemed 'sterile', since sedges planted along the artificially created channels and islands there had been readily removed by geese.
Exclosures and Monitoring
Our early approach was experimental. We installed 12 goose exclosures on the estuary in 2010, adjacent to open monitoring sites of the same size and type. Species composition and cover, foliage profile, soil salinity, and other variables were monitored each summer, in plots along randomly selected vegetation transects. Our partners conducted fisheries surveys and mapped elevations.
Since 2013, we have been transplanting Lyngbye's Sedge plugs from healthy donor sites to denuded areas along tidal channels in the mid marsh. Snow fencing was used to allow these sedges to re-establish and prevent Canada Goose herbivory.