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Land Restoration & Management

The SSI Conservancy Management Plan

We are now, December 2003, responsible for two properties: The Andreas Vogt Nature Reserve (AVNR) and the Manzanita Ridge Nature Reserve (MRNR). This confers both an environmental and a legal responsibility upon the Conservancy to formalize Management Plans for the properties and provide the means whereby those plans will be enacted and monitored.

The Management Plan is a written protocol which outlines the qualities of a property (both legal and substantial), the goals of property management for the area and the means whereby those goals are to be attained.

Each property situation is different and the requirements for them must be reflected in the Management Plan. In our situation, the AVNR was deeded to the SSI Conservancy by Cordula Vogt of Salt Spring Island And Oda Nowrath of Duncan, who expressed their wishes that the property be maintained in perpetuity as a "natural" area, but with access provided to the public in order that the world's population might appreciate the natural beauty and biological interactions which occur thereon. In that regard, we have permitted ingress with a trail for hikers and encouraged use of the area for biological research, while holding the lower two-thirds of the property as a nature reserve. The MRNR, conversely, was obtained by purchase from a local resident Martin Williams who wished to see the property preserved from development and who was receptive to minimal financial compensation in order to achieve that goal. We have permitted a hiking trail to be maintained on the property but, otherwise, the property will be maintained purely as a nature reserve. In each case, these goals will be entrenched in a legally based covenant.

The Salt Spring Island Conservancy will continue to acquire or to support the acquisition of properties on the Island, and will generate Management Plans as seen fit to insure appropriate environmental goals for each, within the boundaries of our mandate and the wishes of our donors.

Broom Pulling on Salt Spring Island

The Salt Spring Island Conservancy, in partnership with members Brian Smallshaw, Jim Spencer, and Conrad Pilon, has made available well-designed broom pullers for pulling broom. In addition to the two larger versions previously available, the Conservancy has purchased a new puller that is lighter and smaller. Though still a sturdy and effective tool, this one won't wear you out as quickly and you can pull broom long into the afternoon.

When do I pull broom?

The wet months are the best times of year to pull broom. Once the rains fall, the ground loosens-up and pulling broom roots becomes much easier, as well as causing the least amount of disturbance to the soil. Minimizing soil disturbance is important because the soil contains a great quantity of broom seeds and when exposed to the sun they are stimulated to germinate.

How many seeds you ask?

Broom plants typically produce 18,000 seeds annually, starting at two to three years of age. These seeds can remain banked in the soil for up to thirty years, germinating when the soil is warm and exposed. So in one square meter, where there have been two plants for five years, there are potentially 144,000 seeds waiting for the right conditions, which could occur anytime over the next 26-30 years. Perhaps the moral of this story is that it is best not to put off until next year what you can accomplish this year. It will only make the job 18,000 times harder!

How do I borrow a broom puller?

The broom pullers can be borrowed through our broom volunteers by calling the office at 538-0318 to find out the name and phone number of the volunteer nearest you. Pullers are commonly borrowed for three days to a week, and donations (suggested donation is $5/day) are collected to cover maintenance of tools and to purchase new pullers. We also ask users of the broom pullers to become members of the Conservancy. The Salt Spring Island Conservancy Stewardship Project produced a brochure, available from the broom team, that contains detailed information on pulling techniques and safety as well as other riveting bits of knowledge.