Authors: Michael Wright and Miranda deVisser
This project was one of the most rewarding ones that we have ever been involved with. The Zeballos Project presented a problem; the solution to the problem presented a huge opportunity to build new habitat! That is what made it so special!
Zeballos is small village on the western side of Vancouver Island. Access to the village is via 40 kms of logging road. In the winter months during the rainy season, the Zeballos River can experience some excessive flooding that drowns the only road in and out of the village, cutting off food, fuel and other supplies.
The Ministry of Forests Lands and Natural Resource Operations undertook a project to raise the road several meters to above the flood zone. To do this, they needed a huge amount of gravel and a cost effective way of getting it. We devised a plan to excavate part of an old cut block off of the main road and connect it to the river. Once the overburden was stripped off, beautiful alluvial material was there for the taking. The Ministry got the material they needed to raise the road and we were left with a large alcove pond.
The alcove pond or lake was perfect for new vegetation, fish and wildlife habitat. To help us with development and monitoring of the new habitat, we got the community involved. We worked with elementary and secondary students and staff in the village. We went to their school, interacted with them, brought them on-site and taught them about fish and the environment. We taught them about different types of local vegetation and produced a Student Plant Handbook for reference. The students and staff were hands on helping to revegetate the area and also plant trees. We showed them how to use our Photo Station Monitoring app so that they can take photos and monitor the site over time. The habitat creation became an outdoor classroom, and the students even created a short video on the project which they submitted to the BC Green Games. Our hope is that we have inspired the next generation of biologists.
The Zeballos Habitat Creation Project was completed with the support of: The Ministry of Forests Lands and Natural Resource Operations, Zeballos Elementary and Secondary School, Ehattesaht First Nation, Totem Bar Contracting, Village of Zeballos and M.C. Wright and Associates.