by Marian McCoy, Saanich Parks Natural Areas Technician
Photos by Marian except where noted
In 2010 Saanich undertook several ecological restoration projects. Two of these were Garry Oak related: the Cuthbert Holmes Garry Oak Compensation Area near Admirals Bridge, and Falaise Park Garry Oak Meadow.
Cuthbert Holmes Garry Oak Compensation Area
Tucked beside the north bank of Colquitz River and the northeast approach to the Admirals Bridge is the Garry Oak Compensation Area. This former residential lot, now part of Cuthbert Holmes Park, was set aside as compensation for Garry Oak habitat that was disturbed during bridge re-construction in 2009.
To the untrained eye, and to busy commuters zooming by, the site might look like bare soil dotted with leafless stems, some patchy grass, and scattered pieces of wood. But those with a keener eye will see that there are more than 500 native shrubs, 24 Garry Oaks, and dozens of native grass plugs planted in a matrix of coarse and fine woody debris.