Updates from West to East…

South Surrey

The Brooksdale Centre team is hard at work on species surveys and conservation projects:

  • Barn Owls. Working with a biologist who has been studying Barn Owls throughout the Fraser Valley, the A Rocha staff and interns are monitoring man-made nest boxes located in barns throughout the watershed.  They are studying the factors that affect survival rates of the baby owls.
  • Barn Swallows. This multi-year survey continues with weekly monitoring of nests to study both fledgling success and the role of nearby field cover, human presence, and livestock in maintaining the barn swallow population.
  • Cliff Swallows. Volunteers from the Vancouver Avian Research Centre came to support the Brooksdale site manager, Alain Boisclair-Joly, in the first banding session of the summer.  They captured 16 cliff swallows, of which several were recaptures that had been banded in previous years.
  • Salish Suckers. Two weeks of Salish Sucker trapping & tagging were conducted in April and May (with a one-week break in between).  The population for that stretch of river is now estimated at 179 Salish Suckers.  Throughout the summer the team will continue surveying different sections of the river where the Suckers have been observed in previous years.


The May 25-26 bioblitz participants in Houston, BC identified an unofficial total of 266 species – including 80 species of birds and 136 species of plants, beating last year’s count of 222! Who knew documenting the biodiversity in the Upper Bulkley Watershed could be so fun? (Hint: we did!) Read the full story in the Houston paper here.


A Rocha Science Director Christy Juteau visited Winnipeg last week to work with the Manitoba team and local biologists Jay Toews and Rachel Krause to develop conservation projects in Winnipeg and at the A Rocha Boreal Ecology Centre in East Braintree.  Stay tuned for volunteer work projects to come.


Conservation projects underway at Cedar Haven Eco-Centre, near Hamilton:

  • Summer-long diversity survey of the stream to identify animal and plant species
  • Creating turtle habitats
  • Salamander and odonata monitoring
  • Nature grassland survey
  • Monitoring nest boxes for bluebirds, and tree & barn swallows

And at Windstone Farm near Ottawa:

  • Eastern Bluebirds. Nest boxes have been set up to provide continuous monitoring of the birds.
  • Buckthorn Trees. The team has been identifying and cutting down female buckthorn trees in anticipation of fruiting season, as well as testing different methods for preventing regrowth.
  • Snapping and Painted Turtles. The Canadian Wildlife Federation surveyed the property for turtles and found both snapping and painted turtles.
  • Water Samples. Members of the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority (RVCA) and Rideau Valley Rural Clean Water Program have taken water samples around the property, providing a valuable baseline for future conservation projects.
  • Tree Planting. RVCA members and Small Timber Consulting will host a tour on the property for investors interested in tree-planting. They will  discuss the incentives for planting, choices of species, and options for problematic planting areas.