SeaChange Marine Conservation Society is using a $8,200 grant from the Victoria Foundation to help restore Tod Inlet. SeaChange’s executive director Nikki Wright describes the area as a cultural and ecological treasure on the Saanich Peninsula.
That treasure is part of Gowlland Tod Provincial Park. The park’s traditional name in the Saanich First Nations language is pronounced “sngeet kwith.” The name means “The Place of the Blue Grouse” – the grouse being an indicator species of a healthy forest. Local communities are restoring the forest and waters of this extraordinary inlet from historical industrial impacts. SeaChange is working in partnership with BC Parks, local First Nations communities and volunteers to bring back eelgrass and native terrestrial plant ecosystems by transplanting eelgrass plots, removing invasive plant species on the upper reaches of the inlet, planting native plants and offering ethno-botanical tours and cultural events.
The project is called Connecting Cultures to Place because Wright says it is about both cultural and ecological restoration.
“It’s an amazing place for so many reasons,” she said. “This inlet brings together cultures with deep roots in this place. The Coast Salish maintain their Douglas Treaty right to hunt, fish, gather and practice sacred ceremonies here. Sikh and Chinese labourers worked in the former cement plant now known as Butchart Gardens. Local families have history in the home foundations still in the area. SeaChange is helping to restore the marine, freshwater and uplands habitats. People of all ages and backgrounds are drawn to the tranquility. Restoring the inlet is restoring our spirits.”
Upcoming opportunities to volunteer with invasive species removal will take place May 12 and May 26.
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