FALL 2016

It has been a while since our last newsletter!
We’ve been really busy -- we just haven’t had a chance to tell you about it! We hope you enjoy reading about all the important work we have been up to in the Fraser Valley, but if not, you can always unsubscribe.

If we still have your attention, thank you! Our goal is to regularly give you interesting snippets about the work that we do and how you can help us protect habitat in our fabulous valley.


A quick update on what we’ve been up to...


We have now increased our properties to five  -- protecting over 30 acres of wildlife habitat containing mature forests, creeks, and wetlands in Abbotsford, Chilliwack and Mission. We are actively  enhancing, managing  and monitoring these sites. This includes improving the habitat by planting native trees and shrubs, removing garbage and invasive species. As well, we track how wildlife and species at risk use our sites by doing annual surveys. We also hold a conservation covenant on a beautiful parcel of private property that we have held since 1999 and has been through several owners.

We have pursued ways to expand our partnerships with other like-minded community-based conservation groups and we continue work with government at all levels.

A Toad Tunnel at last!

 
In 2008, we started working with the community of Ryder Lake to prevent thousands of juvenile Western toads (toadlets) from being killed during their annual summer migration across a rural road. Last summer, after seven years of research, partnership building and fundraising, we installed a “toad tunnel.” We used our conservation biology expertise to figure out the most amphibian-friendly design, and we welcomed support from numerous funders (both government and private corporations) as well as countless dedicated volunteers from the community.

This summer we counted over 35,000 toadlets using the tunnel! This is not the actual count, only what our survey picked up. We have identified six amphibian species (two of which are at risk) who now use tunnel. In 2016, every toadlet saved by the tunnel cost $1.50. This was all paid for by grants and donations.

We continue to monitor how well the toads use the directional fencing that guides them towards the tunnel instead of crossing the road. We are working with our partners to develop better permanent fencing and hopefully a culvert design that can be easily used in other locations. While we have helped reduce the impact of road mortality for the amphibians of Ryder Lake, our ultimate goal is to see other municipalities be able to incorporate amphibian crossing structures into future road works whenever a road is built through wetland habitat.

Read the full story and see photos documenting the tunnel construction on our website.
 

Staff Spotlight - Meet Sofi

 
Sofi Hindmarch joined our team in July this year. She is a wildlife biologist who has studied species at risk in the Fraser Valley for 10 years, with a focus on the barn owl (a species at risk here in BC). She completed her Masters degree at SFU in 2010 where she studied the impact of changes in land use on barn owls. Since then, she focused on conservation issues affecting barn owls such as the loss of habitat and nest sites, road mortality and the risk of secondary poisoning from rat poisons.

She will continue to work with owls while also applying her conservation skills to the snails, frogs, toads and other critters that we work with throughout the Fraser Valley. She has a passion for outreach work and truly believes in spreading awareness and facilitating stewardship to ensure the protection of our vulnerable species. She presents regularly to naturalist groups and municipalities throughout  the region. We are super excited to have Sofi as part of organization as we continue to expand our conservation efforts in the valley.
 


How you can help

 

Cash:

This is the best and easiest way to help us acquire and manage our properties, employ our dedicated staff, host educational events within the community, and fund projects like helping to save the toads!
As we are a registered charity, you will receive a tax receipt for your gift of $10 or more. You can simply mail us a cheque, payable to the Fraser Valley Conservancy at PO Box 2026, Abbotsford, BC  V2T 3T8. Or you can donate online, using a credit card, through Canada Helps where you can give a one-time gift or become a monthly donor.
 

Property:

There are many ways you can protect important ecological property in perpetuity.
You can make an outright gift of land. There are several options for tax benefits on this type of transaction -- we recommend you discuss details with your financial planner.
If you have a beautiful wetland on your property and want to ensure that it will remain after you're gone or have sold, we can work with you to establish a conservation covenant that will ensure the land remains natural habitat for the future. These legal agreements registered with the BC Land Title Office bind future owners to protect the land in ways you describe in the covenant.
Whenever we agree to take on a conservation area, we concurrently establish an endowment fund to ensure that the ongoing management and monitoring of the property can continue in perpetuity as well.
Simpler shorter term options exist, such as stewardship or management agreements in which you retain ownership but take on the responsibility to maintain the ecological values while receiving guidance from the Conservancy.
If you have piece of property you are considering protecting, feel free to contact us!
 

Volunteer:

Sign up to volunteer for events where you can take an active role in conservation. By signing up you will receive notifications of all upcoming volunteer events.
 

Become a Nature Steward:

If your backyard has interesting habitat such as a stream, pond or forest, we can conduct an interpretive property walk with you and create a Wildlife Habitat Report for your property. Contact us if you want to do more -- we can provide training on specific stewardship actions. Join the 116 nature stewards already on board in protecting the ecological and historical values of our beautiful Fraser Valley!
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