Natural history survey results on Royal Roads lands (Victoria Natural History Society)
Victoria Natrual History Society
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During the last 15 months, Victoria Natural History Society's Green Spaces Project (GSP) volunteers contributed about 1,135 hours to conduct a detailed survey of, and to map the ecological and other natural aspects of all the Department of National Defence lands, over which Royal Roads University now has custody. The site has three main ecological (and geological) zones: the older (and old growth) forest clad plateau above and to the south, west and north of the main built campus area; a much smaller bedrock outcrop zone in the southeast corner; and the large riparian seepage zone on a wide arc perimeter abutting Esquimalt Lagoon west of Cottonwood Creek. Within these general zones are a rich variety of geological, ecological and culturally modified sub-systems and conditions, worthy of interest, and many worthy of further study.Where logging has taken place, most of it was done over 100 years ago, and the site is still richly endowed with true old growth trees. Indeed of the largest coastal Douglas firs measured on the site, 7 would qualify among the top 11 largest diameter trees of that type in the Province. The forest and its under-story, especially on the west side of the site, is generally varied and healthy. Riparian aspects ofthe.site also vary from the merging fresh and salt (tide) water estuary conditions at the mouth of Cottonwood Creek, to the large seepage zone caused by the draining of the plateau that forms the upland part of this site, and extends far beyond. Even the seepage zone has considerable ecological and geological variety, resulting from occasional slight, erosion caused, land rises that allow enough soil aeration to support some non-riparian ecosystems. On one of these is probably the last outpost of Sitka spruce on southeastern Vancouver Island. · Much of the interface between the plateau and the riparian seepage zone consists of what appears to be an actively, but slowly eroding, in-forest escarpment, seepage at the base of which carries the sediments away and causes further slippages. This is a condition that is unknown to us and may be rare. Two post ice-age kettles, caused by slow melting ice lenses, were found , both in excellent condition. · The site was found to be surprisingly rich and varied from an ecological standpoint. Also, many new archaeological features were found there. It is one of only three similarly sized diverse sites that touch the urban containment boundaries of Greater Victoria. As such, given the high ecological quality and both the containment and connectivity of this site with respect to other nearby green/blue spaces, it would make a fine "Stanley Park" type nature preserve, being easily accessible from the adjacent, planned major high density residential/commercial area in this part of Col wood. Details of all GSP survey findings are contained on accompanying maps, feature lists and in the more detailed general report. The GSP strongly recommends the preservation and at some locations, enhancement of all natural features on this site. It recommends that future campus development be concentrated only in already disturbed parts of the site.
DescriptionThis work was digitally reproduced from a print copy held by Royal Roads University Library. It forms part of a digital collection of locally significant reports and land surveys. The copyright holder has granted the Royal Roads University Library the non-exclusive right to digitize and make this work electronically available via DSpace@RRU. Copyright of this material is fully retained by the copyright holder, and this work should not be copied, modified, or distributed further without permission from the copyright holder. Please contact the RRU Copyright Office email@example.com for more information.
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