Coastal Douglas-fir Forest Restoration and Liner Wetland Construction At the Millard Learning Centre on Galiano Island

  • Adam Dewar University of Victoria


Galiano Island is a land mass situated within the Southern Gulf Islands of British Columbia. Galiano is a sparsely inhabited island and is host to a vast selection of different ecosystems. This island is home to the Galiano Conservancy Association, an organization that oversees an array of protected land areas and trusts, on top of operating their flagship property, the Millard Learning Centre. At over 180 acres, the Millard Learning Centre presents a confluence of educational programming and ecosystem restoration. There are many restoration projects on the property that are completed, ongoing, or planned for the future.

This report outlines a recently completed project that melds a more traditional ecosystem restoration with the creation of a designed ecosystem. Ultimately, we aimed to restore an area of Coastal Douglas-fir forest and to create a pocket wetland. The project site will also serve as an outdoor classroom of sorts, as the site is directly adjacent to the conservancy’s classroom building.

The primary goals of this project were to: restore an area of degraded Coastal Douglas-fir forest that had been previously logged in the 1990s, expand the available wetland habitat on the Millard Learning Centre property, and to provide easy-access wetland viewing for educational purposes.

The planning process included surveying the site through GIS mapping, transit elevations surveys, and soil pit analysis. Based on this information, designs were created. These included the placement of the wetland, the excavation plan of the wetland, and the plant communities that would make up the terrestrial aspect of the restoration.

Several iterations of the design were considered, and we ultimately ended up where we are now through the collaboration of many brilliant and hard-working individuals. Land was excavated to create the wetland basin, the liner was installed, habitat features were placed, and the surrounding area was seeded and planted.

This project was completed in October of 2020, and at the time of this writing, the wetland is already filling with water.

Technical Papers