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General News · 6th September 2021
FOCI - Max
Dillon Creek Wetland Restoration Project: Thank You!

The Dillon Creek Wetland Restoration Project 2021 Construction is complete!

Cortes Island Community Members really showed up for this project, and the project team would like to share our appreciation and gratitude. We would like to thank all the donors, volunteers, supporters, contractors, project partners, and participants who showed up to help with the project, we couldn’t have completed the project without you!

We respectfully acknowledge this project is taking place on the traditional, and ancestral, territories of the toq qaymɩxʷ (Klahoose), ɬəʔamɛn qaymɩxʷ (Tla'amin), ʔop qaymɩxʷ (Homalco) Nations. Thank you to the Klahoose First Nation Chief Kevin Peacey and Council for supporting the project and to Georgina Silby for her time and effort in coordinating and liaising on behalf of the Nation throughout the project. Thank you Jeannie Hanuse for coming out to monitor construction on behalf of the Nation. Thank you to Jessie Louie for visiting the site pre-construction and sharing stories and language about the land, water, plants, and animals.

Big thanks to Laurier Mathieu, Sylvain Denis, and Eliot Dubois for their expertise and skills operating the heavy equipment required to complete the project. Wetland restoration requires attention to detail, cooperation, and collaboration with the team and these operators were a pleasure to work with and very skilled. We thank the operators for their early mornings, long days, excellent work ethic, expertise, positive attitude, and collaboration to construct the wetlands.

Thank you to Tamara McPhail, Adam Schick, and Kirsten Vidulich,, for supervising construction on behalf of Linnaea Farm, and for effectively and respectfully communicating with the rest of the project team as the project progressed. Thank you to John Jordan for helping us to stay safe around the parking lot and driveway, and bringing his experience to help manage safety and logistics around heavy equipment in high traffic areas. Thank you Liz Richardson for the work she initiated years ago in Dillon Creek to address erosion. Special thanks to Tamara McPhail for being the point person at Linnaea Farm who has been working and communicating with the Dillon Creek Wetlands Project Manager for the entire project. Thank you to all the Farm Stewards and Residents caring for the lands and waters at Linnaea, and their willingness to complete this important project to benefit the health of the lakes. The current Stewards are working to mitigate the negative impacts of past land owners' practices. This project demonstrates how the farm continues to develop and provide public education programs which encourage intellectual, personal, and creative development, and teach values and skills for ecological stewardship of the planet.

Thank you to the Friends of Cortes Island Society (FOCI) for administering the project, fundraising, and allocating human and financial resources towards implementing and managing the project. FOCI exists to monitor and preserve the health of local ecosystems, and to provide educational programs that foster a greater understanding of the natural environment. This project exemplifies how FOCI works to promote environmental integrity through community responsibility.

Thank you to Tom Biebighauser, Wetland Restoration Expert, Mentor, and Teacher, for being onsite to supervise construction, mentor, and teach anyone interested in learning about wetland restoration. After 40 years of working in his field, he is still as enthusiastic as if it was his first day on the job. Those of us who were fortunate to spend time with Tom while he was here learned a lot about wetland restoration and the team is grateful that he was able to guide this project!

Thank you to Autumn Barret-Morgan for her eagerness and dedication on the project. You’ve helped in countless ways over the last few months! Thank you for your attention and eagerness in biological monitoring the site and invasive species management, and for working to develop your skills and gain experience in wetland restoration.

Thank you to Bob Tracey, Andrew Smyth, Leona Jensesn, Lisa Ferentinos, and Autumn Barrett Morgan for volunteering to conduct Fire Watch at the project site, and in the Community Forest where we loaded coarse woody debris. Thank you also to Mat Cuscianna for providing a water tank in the Community Forest for fire suppression. We are very happy we didn’t have to use this equipment.

Thank you Mark Lombard and the Cortes Community Forest Partnership for donating coarse woody debris from road building in the Community Forest. Thank you to Mat Cuscianna for delivering coarse woody debris from another site. The frogs, newts, birds, and fish thank you for their new habitat!

Thank you to Dave McCoy for providing the gravel we needed for the project.

Thank you to Dusty Silvester, R.P.Bio, for his help with permitting, biological monitoring, and working with the team to enhance habitat for wildlife along Dillon Creek, and for working with and mentoring Autumn in biological monitoring for the project.

Thank you to Beatrix Baxter for working to capture the project on film and produce the documentary video.

Thank you to Josh Fletcher for his expertise in operating drones and flying to capture aerial drone images for the project.

Thank you to Cortes Fire Chief Mac Diver for doing a site visit to assess the fire risk, and consult with the team to develop a fire prevention and fire suppression plan.

Thank you to Kim Robertson and Tamara McPhail for their consultation in developing the Emergency Response Plan for the project. Thank you Tamara for your skills and experience in First Aid and for being the First Aid attendant on site. So grateful to have you there, and very glad we didn’t need to make use of your First Aid skills during construction!

Thank you to all the volunteers and participants who’ve come to help with invasive species removal, seed collections, and seeding and mulching of the restored wetlands and improved agricultural fields: Carrie Saxifrage, Kirsten Vidulich, Al, Lisa Ferentinos, Janine Maila, Elizabeth Anderson, Mia Greg, Naomi Cairns, Julien Lyons, Iris Lyons, Giorigo Giovinazzo, Meco Cross, Syd Marscheorf, Al Bailey, Leona Jensen, Juli Nelson, Townes Cuscianna, Orlando Altenhofen, Autumn Barrette Morgan, Maya Irwin, Erin Zip, Hannah Schwartzentruber, Rae Jampole. Jillian Lang, Darwin Olmstead, Wade Thomas, Cait Hurley, Fred Savage, Corry Dow, Liam Dow, Cec and Christine Robinson, Mary Clare Preston,

Thank you Cec and Christine Robinson, and the participants in the Dillon Creek Fish monitoring event. Thank you Cortes Community Health Association and Jodi Peters for facilitating environmental education events for Cortes Island youth at the wetlands site. We are looking forward to more youth education and engagement activities in the restored wetlands.

Thank you George Sirk for your time and enthusiasm helping with the breeding bird surveys.

Thank you to all the families and community members who showed up to learn about the project and ask questions: Joel Solomon, Ian Watson, Bryan MacKinnon, John Finlay, Amy Robertson, Andrew Smythe, Jason Andrews, Georgina Silby, Max Thaysen, Craig Seedhouse, Syd Marscheorf, Al Bailey, Orlando Altenhofen, Katie Wheeler, and Janine Maila, Melissa Campbell, Anna Mathieu, Emma Mathieu, Sunny Mathieu, Siri Ellingsen, May Ellingsen, Hunter Ellingsen. We look forward to many education events in the future restored wetlands exploring and learning about wetland ecosystems.

Thank you to Arlene Tomkins, Helen Hall, Max Thaysen, Georgina Silby, Amy Robertson, and Tamara McPhail for their involvement, time and effort on the Dillon Creek Wetlands Steering Committee. To guide the partnership project between FOCI-Linnaea successfully.

Thank you Roy L. Hayes and the Cortes Community Radio for conducting interviews, developing content and programming promoting the project.

Thank you to those of you who stayed away during project construction to help keep the work site safe. I know many of you like to use the trail access through Linnaea, and we appreciate that you used an alternate route during construction.

Thank you to the financial donors for providing the matching funds needed to make this project possible and to Karen Mahon for her help with fundraising. Thank you; Ian, Victoria, and Lucinda Watson; Joel and Dana Solomon; Carol Newel; Amy Robertson; Bryan McKinnon and John Finlay; Mark and Sherry Deutchmann; and Carrie and Barrie Saxifrage.
Thank you to Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Eco-Action Community Funding Program.

Thank you to all the project partners who are providing in-kind donations to the project. Friends of Cortes Islands Society, Linnaea Farm Society, Cortes Community Health Association, The Children's Forest, Cortes Island Streamkeepers, and the BC Wildlife Federation.

Sincere apologies if we missed anyone. We are truly grateful and thank those of you who donated time, energy, or money that we didn’t list here.

Construction is wrapped up, but the project is far from over. We will continue biological monitoring of the wetlands for the next few years. This will include invasive species management, wildlife monitoring, water quality monitoring, and monitoring for signs of erosion. We will plant native plants around the wetlands this fall. We also hope to continue wetland and stream restoration upstream along Dillon Creek to address major erosional issues triggered by historic agricultural practices that ditched and channel Dillon Creek. Dillon Creek continues to erode each year, and is contributing significant sediments to Gunflint lake which are negatively affecting the health of the lake ecosystems. Unfortunately, erosion and sediment transport can be observed in nearly every inlet to the lakes. We have much work to do to repair the damages caused by historic agriculture, forestry, transportation, and development practices.

In this time of the Climate Crisis, restoring wetlands is of vital importance for the ecosystems services they provide such as; creating natural fire breaks; sequestering carbon; cleaning and storing water; providing critical habitat for wetland dependant species and Species at Risk; moderating climate extremes such as summer heat waves and droughts & intense erosional winter precipitation events. Please join us to learn more and see wetland restoration in action.

If you’d like to check out the restored wetlands, please use the little bridge trail near the trail head to Kw’as park. Look for it off of the road (no sign there yet). Please do not cross over the electric fencing. The electric fences are live, and the cows are in the fields. Please be cautious where you step, uneven ground and lots of woody debris!

With sincere gratitude,

on behalf of the entire FOCI-Linnaea project team,
Miranda Cross
Dillon Creek Wetland Restoration Project Manager

How you can help
1-Make a donation to help support ongoing wetland and stream restoration. Please donate now, if you can:
Send a cheque, payable to Friends of Cortes Island Society, memo “Wetland Restoration” at the address below. Or donate to FOCI online.
Donations of any size are very welcome and much appreciated.
2-Protect the lakes! Prevent erosion and manage your nutrients. Eroding soils increase nutrient transport to the lakes. Keep compost and manure piles covered. Treat and infiltrate runoff using bioswales or raingardens. Get your septic systems maintained or upgraded. Learn about and practice Coexisting with Beavers, our number one partner in climate change adaptation. Contact FOCI if you are interested in restoring wetlands on your property.
3-Volunteer to help with the project. Contact Miranda Cross at if you'd like to volunteer or for more information. We will need help with planting native plants, and invasive species management of the restored wetlands.
For background information, studies, and reports visit the FOCI website. We will be updating our website soon with more information about the project – stay tuned!