2017 Annual Report

Thursday, May 4 at 7 pm
At the Hope Bay Studio

Annual General Meeting agenda

At the scheduled time of this year’s planned AGM there were not enough members present to make up a quorum.  In accordance with PICA’s bylaws and constitution, members present waited 30 minutes to see if more members would arrive.

At 7:30 Chairperson Rhondda Porter called the meeting to order.  Since a quorum was still not present, Elizabeth Miles moved that the AGM be adjourned and a second meeting be called as per PICA bylaws.  Seconded by Patricia Badcock.

Since Rhondda Porter had prepared an A/V presentation of PICA’s activities over the past year, and was stepping down from the board, she made her presentation to those present.  

Eleanor Brownlee thanked Rhondda on behalf of PICA for all the long hours of work she has put into her role as director and secretary for PICA.  Her knowledge, skill, energy, creativity, and tireless dedication are much appreciated and have been of great benefit to PICA.

Since Garry Brooks had come to Pender to present on his reforestation and community forestry project in Zambia, it was decided to go ahead with the presentation, which was interesting and informative.

Elizabeth Miles

Break for Refreshments

An Evening with Garry Brooks 

Garry lives in Victoria, having retired in 2001 from owning his own sawmill and forestry business.  He volunteered as a Community Development Advisor to Zambia in 2002 and after seeing the rapid deforestation of the country for firewood and agriculture use, decided to do something about it.  He started African Community Project in 2004 and has been working with rural communities to create community run forests, allowing them to manage the forests around their villages.  In 2016 African Community Project’s membership received over 2,000,000 tree seeds, instructions on how to grow them, their uses and also up-to-date education on changing climates that are affecting the community.  Most of the tree seeds that are distributed come from trees that have been planted over the past years by community forests partnered with African Community Project.

Report from the Board for the Annual General Meeting
May 4, 2017

Serving on the PICA Board of Directors during the past year have been:

Graham Boffey   President and Stewardship Committee Chair
Eleanor Brownlee   Vice President
Rhondda Porter   Secretary
Ursula Poepel   Treasurer
Davy Rippner   Website, e-news, and Publicity
Patti Badcock   Forage Fish Monitoring
Sara Steil   Marine Environment Initiatives and Special Events
Elizabeth Miles   Beach Clean-up and Adopt-a-Beach Coordinator

PICA's Annual Beach Clean-up in honour of Earth Day and Salish Sea Presentation

The most recent event on the PICA calendar was the April 22 Beach Clean-up.  This year our beach clean-up took place on Earth Day, so we decided to celebrate the Salish Sea by holding a series of three presentations in the afternoon at the Parish Hall. Leanna Boyer from Salt Spring talked about the Kelp Forest and discussed the ecosystems which are supported by kelp. She also invited more Penderites to become involved in the kelp forest mapping project around Pender.  Jenna Falk from Galiano Island introduced us to rockfish and explained the Rockfish Conservation Project. David Manning was the final speaker and showcased some of the Wildlife of the Salish Sea Islands with his amazing photographs.  A complete write-up of the day’s activities, including the amount of debris removed from the beaches, will appear in the June 2017 Pender Post.  Elizabeth Miles and Trinette Prior are to be congratulated on organizing and overseeing the Beach Clean-up and the Celebrating the Salish Sea and all that that entailed.

The Pender Islands Conservancy Association
Wishes To Thank All the Volunteers, Organizations, and Businesses
Who Helped Make This Year’s Beach Cleanup Such a Great Success:

Pender Islands Trust Protection Society, Dog Mermaid Eco Excursions, Pender Island Kayak Adventures, The Pender Island Field Naturalists, Pender Ocean Defenders, The Pender Island Power and Sail Squadron, The Salish Sea RCMS&R, Pender Island Parks and Recreation Commission, The Pender Island Yacht Club, Pender Pacers, Pender Island Walking Group, Medicine Beach Liquor Store, The CRD, The Pender Island Recycling Depot, Clayton Meadows Design, The Button Lady’ Gallery, Southridge Farms, Jo’s Place, The Café at Large, Penderosa Pizza, The Pender Island Pharmacy, Talisman Books, Vanilla Leaf Cafe, Philly’s
Diner, Slow Coast Cafe, and all the many other unsung heroes who worked very hard to help keep our island clean.

Thank You!

CBC4Kids – Christmas Bird Count for Kids

On December 29 PICA again joined with the Pender Island Field Naturalists to host the annual Christmas Bird Count for Kids.  This year the event was based in the South Pender Fire Hall which offered a warm, dry venue for the tallying of the birds counted and a place to dry off and warm up and enjoy the hot chocolate and goodies.   The Community Bus was a wonderful addition as it made it easier for groups of people to get to the various bird watching sites without having to drive.

Humpback Whale Presentation

On Saturday, October 1, PICA and POD (Pender Ocean Defenders) hosted a presentation on Humpback Whales at the Parish Hall.  Jackie Hildering from the Marine Education & Research Society (mersociety.org) talked about the humpback whale and the amazing recovery the species is making in the Salish Sea. She also had advice for boaters on how to avoid collisions with these gentle giants.  “If you see a blow, go slow.”

Kelp Forest Mapping Project

On August 3, 4, and 5, Leanna Boyer of Sea Change and Sarah Schroeder from the University of Victoria led a small group of volunteers in kayaks and one canoe to three sites on Pender to begin mapping the kelp forests around the islands.  There are plans for Leanna and Sarah to come back to Pender this August to check the areas mapped last year.  If we get more volunteers, more areas of kelp forest around Pender can be mapped.  If you are interested in joining the mapping team, contact Elizabeth Miles.

Installation of the Information Panels at the Medicine Beach Kiosk

This project has been coordinated by Graham Boffey. For several years Graham did research, wrote several versions of the text, contacted First Nations to get their input, and worked with the Islands Trust Fund in the design and creation of the panels.  In 2015 the framework for the information panels at Medicine Beach was installed and this past June the three information panels were added.  The panels have information about forage fish, the ecological importance of the area and First Nations' History.  We hope that the panels will help people understand more about the beach and about the importance of protecting it and similar areas on the islands.

Covenant Monitoring

PICA and the Islands Trust Fund are co-covenant holders on 16 properties on North Pender. PICA is also the sole covenant holder on a small covenant which protects a portion of the Medicine Beach marsh and the channel which drains out of it and into the ocean. The 2016 monitoring was conducted a little later than usual but on June 1 and 2, Chris Ferris, the Islands Trust Fund’s biologist, came for the annual covenant monitoring. All the covenants were found to be in good order. In addition to the covenants that PICA holds with the ITF, there were two new covenants added to list of protected areas on the Penders.

Anyone wanting to protect their special place on the island should consider putting a conservation covenant on their property.  "With a conservation covenant, you still own your land, can live on the property, and sell it whenever you want.   The covenant binds future owners to the same promises you made, meaning the landscape you've loved and cared for remains protected forever.” (Islands Trust Fund)

Residents of the Pender Islands can take advantage of the Natural Areas Protection Taxation Exemption Program (NAPTEP) which is available only to residents of the Islands Trust Area. This program offers property owners a 65% reduction in the property taxes on the covenanted area.  To help property owners cover the costs of placing a covenant on their property, the family of Barrie Morrison has established the Morrison Waxler Biodiversity Protection Legacy Fund. Information about both these programs can be found on the Islands Trust Fund website www.islandstrustfund.bc.ca

Medicine Beach

In addition to being co-covenant holders of the Medicine Beach Nature Sanctuary, PICA is also responsible for the stewardship of the area and our next project will be to conduct a baseline survey in preparation for the renewal of the management contract this year.  Of particular concern is the health of the marsh.  A highly invasive species, the yellow flag iris, has established a foothold in the marsh.   Also of concern is the potential danger to the berm when people remove logs which help protect it from erosion during the winter storms. It is illegal to take a log or any portion of a log from any beach when any part of the log rests above the high tide line. The regulations are even more strict for nature preserves and covenanted areas. Last fall we received a report that someone was taking logs off the beach and cutting them up in the parking lot.  The RCMP were notified, but unfortunately we did not get the complete license plate number of the white pick-up involved. Having a salvage license does not exempt people from provincial or federal legislation.

Forage Fish Monitoring

PICA has been participating in a Forage Fish Monitoring Program since 2010. The Forage Fish Monitoring team is under the direction of Jon Ruiz, who organizes the volunteers. The team has been monitoring a number of beaches to see if they are being used for spawning by either surf smelt or sand lance and every year we try to add new beaches to our list. Since the last AGM, volunteers have taken samples from Medicine Beach, Hamilton Beach, Irene Bay, Boathouse Bay, Mortimer Spit, Shark Cove, Drummond Bay, and James Point.

On November 10, Forage Fish volunteers took samples from Shark Cove and then went over to Mortimer Spit to help Ricky from Shore Watch clean samples. Ricky had been on Pender for several days as part of the Great Canadian Forage Fish Egg Hunt. He took samples from beaches all over Pender to check for eggs from sand lance and surf smelt.

Medicine Beach, Mortimer Spit and Hamilton Beach have all proven positive for forage fish spawning. Now that samples can be processed on Pender as well as being sent off island to the Ramona De Graaf lab, if there are other samples with eggs, we will get the results sooner.

Hope Bay Stream Salmon Restoration Project

The Hope Bay stream is the only documented salmon stream on Pender Island. Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) records indicate chum salmon were using the creek for spawning and rearing up to the mid-1980s. PICA has been actively involved this project since 2010.

Over the years the Pacific Salmon Foundation has given PICA grants to support our project to restore salmon to the stream. Our restoration project depends on the work of many volunteers and not just here on Pender.

For the past 30 years volunteers at the Howard English Hatchery on the Goldstream River have worked to help local volunteers restore coho and chum salmon runs to rivers and streams around southern Vancouver Island. The hatchery volunteers collect eggs from salmon returning to the Goldstream River, raise fry, distribute eggs and fry, and educate volunteers from restoration projects like PICA’s. This year there was expected to be a run of 50,000 Chum salmon returning to the Goldstream River and PICA was slated to receive almost 40,000 Chum eggs.

Based on the expected number of returning chum to the Cowichan River, for the first time in many years the DFO opened a commercial chum fishery in Saanich Inlet. The Goldstream chum run which occurs later, was also intercepted. Very few chum managed to reach the river. The criterion for initiating harvest of Goldstream chum is to observe an escapement to the Goldstream River of 7000 fish, but the fishery was was opened when fewer than 1000 chum had actually reached Goldstream.

As a result very few chum eggs or fry were available for the various groups working to restore chum to streams such as Hope Bay. On January 24 we picked up 10,000 chum eggs - we were one of the lucky groups. Other restoration groups did not receive any eggs. Lisa Fleming, Elizabeth Miles, Jill Ilsley, and Bob Simons coordinate the various activities involved in the project.

Volunteers are still taking daily stream temperatures. Eggs were supposed to hatch between 498-546 ATUs, so we assume that all happened according to plan. As of April 30, the ATUs were at 953. The fry begin to emerge when the ATUs range from 845 to 1126. Very soon our volunteers hope to see the little fry emerging from the gravel and heading off to sea. Of course, they might emerge without being noticed, but it would be great if someone was there to see them. Fry reach the open water almost immediately after they emerge from the gravel and unlike other salmonids don’t spend a long time in fresh water, which makes them an ideal species for seasonal streams like Hope Bay.

Purple Martin Nest Boxes

Another of our long-term projects is the placing of nest boxes at various locations on Pender to help restore Purple Martins populations to BC.  Their numbers decreased to the point where there were only five know breeding pairs. PICA has supported the restoration work of the Western Purple Martin Foundation, both financially and with a small group of dedicated volunteers for almost ten years. 

In the summer of 2016 there were seven nest box sites on the Penders.  Volunteers banded 53 nestlings.  If all the young survive, more than 60 Purple Martins will be added to British Columbia’s Purple Martin population.

Styrofoam Hot-line

This past winter, PICA set up a Styrofoam hotline.  The idea was sparked by Bruce McConchie of South Pender who dragged large chunks off the beach at Beaumont and contacted PICA to find out what to do with it. Parks Canada took care of that Styrofoam, but there is always more. Elizabeth, who coordinates the Beach Clean-up, offered to help people arrange disposal of the large chunks of Styrofoam that they managed to drag onto the shore. We advertised the hotline on our Facebook page and on the Pender Island Forum and plan to continue to help people who want to get Styrofoam out of the water and off the beaches. Styrofoam on the beaches tends to be more of a problem in the winter during winter storms and it is important to get large pieces out of the water and off the shorelines before the wave action grinds them up.

Educational Information

In addition to regular e-newsletters and Pender Post articles, we have had a number of informative displays in the Driftwood Centre. PICA also had a great website managed by Davy Rippner. Of course you can also find us on Facebook where we post notices of events and regular updates from our volunteers.

There are two new projects in PICA’s future:  a Near Shore Monitoring Project and a revision of PICA’s Constitution.

The first one is a proposed Near Shore Monitoring Project.  In April, Elizabeth Miles and Bob Simons represented PICA at a conference on Thetis Island.  The conference, hosted by the Sea Grass Conservation Working Group, was on Near Shore Habitats and the impact rising sea levels and rising temperatures will have on them.  The Sea Grass Conservation Working Group is currently developing protocols for monitoring near-shore habitats over the long term (10 to 20 years).  The monitoring will provide data on the impacts of climate change.  Local volunteers will be trained on how to collect the data.  The monitoring will take place four times a year. If you want more information or would like to volunteer to be part of this project, you can talk to Bob Simons or Elizabeth Miles.

The second project is the revision of our constitution to comply with the revised Societies Act of the Province of British Columbia.  The revised act requires all registered societies to put their constitutions on-line and ensure that they comply with the new format.  Not one of our more exciting projects, but necessary.  You will get to vote to accept the revisions at the 2018 AGM.

Submitted by Rhondda Porter on behalf of the Board