A Meadow for Moralea: Making room for a Garry oak Meadow to flourish in Metchosin, British Columbia

  • Sarah Cotter University of Victoria
  • Maria Catanzaro University of Victoria

Abstract

This project re-initiated the restoration of a 1360m² Garry oak meadow in Metchosin, British
Columbia. The restoration is being done as a living memorial for Metchosin councillor Moralea
Milne, who died unexpectedly in 2018. The meadow was experiencing woody encroachment,
intense herbivory by rabbits, and competition from aggressive invasive grasses. The restoration
involved 1) installation of a rabbit proof fence, 2) removal of encroaching shrubs, 3) managing
invasive grasses through a series of tarping and mulching experiments, 4) planting native Garry
oak associated species and 5) bench painting and path creation. Tarping trials revealed that
extended tarping periods beginning in August or earlier appear to be effective at controlling
some invasive grasses, including orchard grass (Dactylis glomerata) and Kentucky bluegrass
(Poa pratensis) but ineffective at reducing the more aggressive rhizomatous quackgrass (Elymus
repens). It appears that the most effective means of reducing invasive grass cover of orchard
grass and Kentucky bluegrass that was trialed during this restoration work, was through adding
a layer of Garry oak leaf mulch with tarping. Monitoring will provide valuable long-term data to
aid in next steps. We recommend the following: 1) removal of at least 50% of Douglas-firs; 2)
continue tarping treatments beginning in August or when camas dies back (both the
compression method and the mulching under tarp method) to reduce invasive grass cover; 3)
long-term monitoring of tarping methods, and site more broadly, to investigate which method
works best and where, and for vegetation changes over time; 4) consider use of small patches
of prescribed fire to create space for native species; 5) investigate further into quackgrass
management through prescribed fire and grass-specific herbicides; 6) supplementing meadow
with planting native Garry Oak associated species; and 7) creating educational signage for
visitors

Published
2020-07-09
Section
Technical Papers