Final phase of Baikie Island restoration project begins this month

Baikie Island, within the Campbell River estuary has transformed over the years. Above, Baikie Island in 1994 before restoration began. - Submitted by City of Campbell River
Baikie Island, within the Campbell River estuary has transformed over the years. Above, Baikie Island in 1994 before restoration began.
— image credit: Submitted by City of Campbell River

The final phase of restoration work at the Baikie Island Nature Reserve will begin early this month and is expected to be complete this fall.

The contract for the first stage of the restoration, the earthworks, has been awarded to Wacor Holdings Ltd. Contract administrator, Jim VanTine, will guide the process, making sure that the site is suitably prepared for fall planting and to provide habitat components that will support local wildlife.  During restoration, the trails along Baikie slough and through Raven Park will remain open for the public to continue to enjoy, but access to the park on Baikie Island will be closed while construction work takes place.

The final phase of restoration will focus on the area in the centre of the island and will include the removal of industrial debris and degraded soils and clearing and reshaping of the site, as well as the addition of new soil and planting of native vegetation.

Previous restoration work has included soil improvements, backwater channel and marsh creation.

“It has been amazing to watch the transformation of a previously industrialized area into a productive and diverse natural area,” says Ross Milnthorp, the City’s general manager of parks, recreation and culture. “The final phase of restoration will complete this transformation, providing important estuary habitat for native species, and an area where community members and visitors can enjoy and appreciate the natural beauty of the Campbell River estuary.”

The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) purchased Baikie Island in 2000. In 2001, the NCC transferred ownership of the property to the City of Campbell River, under a conservation covenant, to be protected and managed as the Baikie Island Nature Reserve. A monitoring report and a management plan were prepared in 2002, and restoration work led by the City of Campbell River began in 2003.

Funding assistance for this project comes from the federal government’s Community Works Fund and the BC Hydro Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program.

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