ItemAn environmental study of Esquimalt Harbour : Part I. Historical inputs, marine sediment contamination, and biological uptake(2015-06-23) Bright, D.A.; Reimer, K.J.; Beaman-Dodd, C.; Dushenko, W.T.The Environmental Sciences Group (ESG) of Royal Roads Military College, in consultation with the Environmental Protection (EP) Pacific and Yukon Branch of Environment Canada, is conducting an environmental study of Esquimalt Harbour, British Columbia. This report documents the results of Part I of this investigation and considers sediment contamination and associated contaminant uptake in mussels, Mytilus trossulus, and Red Rock crabs, Cancer productus. Contaminant concentrations in sediments provide an appreciation of the overall health of the harbour. Spatial distributions of contaminants (i.e. contaminant locations), together with historical data, permit the identification of current and past contaminant sources. Surface sediment samples were collected from 24 stations (locations) in basin areas of the harbour, as well as from 26 stations, close to the shoreline, in proximity to possible contaminant inputs. Inorganic elements (arsenic, cadmium, copper, lead, mercury and zinc), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and tributyltin were found in some sediments at concentrations which exceeded natural or background concentrations by one to three orders of magnitude. Sediment contaminant levels were highest in Constance Cove - particularly near major ship construction, maintenance and repair facilities; elevated concentrations were also found near jetties in the western harbour. Contaminant levels were lower toward the center and northern portions of the harbour, and toward the harbour mouth. The majority of the results were similar to contaminant concentration ranges for sediments from other urbanized/industrialized areas such as Vancouver Harbour and portions of Puget Sound. Maximum concentrations of PCBs, P AHs and mercury in Esquimalt Harbour were high, however, even in comparison with these other major harbours. It would be valuable to compare the Esquimalt results to marine sediment quality criteria or guidelines that could predict the environmental consequences or impact associated with the determined values. Unfortunately, there are currently no such criteria which have found universal acceptance. It should be noted, however, that contaminant concentrations in several of the Esquimalt Harbour sediment samples exceed existing U.S. and proposed Norwegian criteria/standards/guidelines. Tissue levels of several inorganic elements, PCBs and P AHs in mussels and Red Rock crab leg muscle or hepatopancreas indicate that the higher contaminant concentrations in Constance Cove are accompanied by increased biological uptake. Environmental impact associated with the sediment contamination can therefore be expected. Part II of this study, currently in progress, will directly examine contaminant effects on bottom-dwelling organisms in Esquimalt Harbour. Collectively these reports will provide the first comprehensive environmental evaluation of any harbour in the Greater Victoria region. ItemFive-year invasive species management plan : Royal Roads property(2015-05-06) Rietkerk, Jeff; Francis, AlyneOrnamental plant species, such as English holly (Ilex nquifolium) and English ivy (Hedera helix), which are maintained in the formal gardens and grounds of the Royal Roads property, have spread as invasive species into the surrounding forest. Other invasive species, such as Scotch broom (Cytisus scoparius) and gorse (Ulex europneus) have been introduced from outlying areas to opportune locations on the property. Invasive species are drastically affecting the ecology and heritage values of the property and the surrounding community. Consistent management of these invasive plant species has not occurred on the property, and an inventory of the current distribution of invasive plants was conducted in January 2003 as part of a five-year Invasive Species Management Plan. The Environmental Office of Physical and Environmental Resources at Royal Roads University commissioned the project through the Department of National Defence (Directorate of Realty and Engineering Policy) and the CFB Esquimalt Natural Resources Program. This Management Plan is one of several ecological studies currently being conducted on the property. The management plan included survey and ecological information on six prominent invasive plant species on campus, and removal and remediation methods for each species. A Geographic Information System (GIS) component aided with the ranking and prioritizing of the infestations, based on their site characteristics, and was used later in prescribing the removal method. Results from the inventory indicated that approximately 80% of the property now has some degree of invasive species infestation, not including the invasive plant species present on the formal university grounds. The inventory found Scotch broom, Himalayan blackberry and gorse growing in open areas and along forest and road edges; English ivy and Daphne present along forest edges and undermixed canopy; and English holly growing throughout the entire property, including forested areas with dense canopy. Unlike a Garry Oak ecosystem, the closed canopy associated with a coniferous forest at Royal Roads is a limitation for broom and gorse; but ivy, Daphne, and holly were found to be spreading into most sections of the forest interior. These shade tolerant species pose the biggest threat to the defining ecology of the Royal Roads property, which also includes some smaller Garry Oak sites. Removal is anticipated to be a long-term management commitment and includes methods such as hand pulling, brush cutting, herbicide applications and site soil remediation. This report, combined with a GIS theme and database of the survey and work plan, is a tool to assist the Department of National Defence and Royal Roads University in adaptively prescribing and monitoring removal and remediation of invasive plant species infestations, and recording and tracking the progress. ItemNatural history survey results on Royal Roads lands (Victoria Natural History Society)(2015-01-27) Morgensen, Norm; Victoria Natrual History SocietyDuring the last 15 months, Victoria Natural History Society's Green Spaces Project (GSP) volunteers contributed about 1,135 hours to conduct a detailed survey of, and to map the ecological and other natural aspects of all the Department of National Defence lands, over which Royal Roads University now has custody. The site has three main ecological (and geological) zones: the older (and old growth) forest clad plateau above and to the south, west and north of the main built campus area; a much smaller bedrock outcrop zone in the southeast corner; and the large riparian seepage zone on a wide arc perimeter abutting Esquimalt Lagoon west of Cottonwood Creek. Within these general zones are a rich variety of geological, ecological and culturally modified sub-systems and conditions, worthy of interest, and many worthy of further study.Where logging has taken place, most of it was done over 100 years ago, and the site is still richly endowed with true old growth trees. Indeed of the largest coastal Douglas firs measured on the site, 7 would qualify among the top 11 largest diameter trees of that type in the Province. The forest and its under-story, especially on the west side of the site, is generally varied and healthy. Riparian aspects ofthe.site also vary from the merging fresh and salt (tide) water estuary conditions at the mouth of Cottonwood Creek, to the large seepage zone caused by the draining of the plateau that forms the upland part of this site, and extends far beyond. Even the seepage zone has considerable ecological and geological variety, resulting from occasional slight, erosion caused, land rises that allow enough soil aeration to support some non-riparian ecosystems. On one of these is probably the last outpost of Sitka spruce on southeastern Vancouver Island. · Much of the interface between the plateau and the riparian seepage zone consists of what appears to be an actively, but slowly eroding, in-forest escarpment, seepage at the base of which carries the sediments away and causes further slippages. This is a condition that is unknown to us and may be rare. Two post ice-age kettles, caused by slow melting ice lenses, were found , both in excellent condition. · The site was found to be surprisingly rich and varied from an ecological standpoint. Also, many new archaeological features were found there. It is one of only three similarly sized diverse sites that touch the urban containment boundaries of Greater Victoria. As such, given the high ecological quality and both the containment and connectivity of this site with respect to other nearby green/blue spaces, it would make a fine "Stanley Park" type nature preserve, being easily accessible from the adjacent, planned major high density residential/commercial area in this part of Col wood. Details of all GSP survey findings are contained on accompanying maps, feature lists and in the more detailed general report. The GSP strongly recommends the preservation and at some locations, enhancement of all natural features on this site. It recommends that future campus development be concentrated only in already disturbed parts of the site. ItemVictoria and Esquimalt Harbours ecological inventory and rating. Phase 1: intertidal and backshore(2014-07-03) Westland Resource GroupSince European settlement in the mid-1800s, Victoria and Esquimalt Harbours have experienced extensive urban development. Nonetheless, today's harbours still contain important habitats for fish, birds and wildlife and are the centerpiece of the Greater Victoria urban area. The environmental, economic and social value of the harbours to the residents of the Capital Region and to visitors has grown in recent years, making the protection and restoration of harbour ecosystems increasingly important. In 1997, the Victoria and Esquimalt Harbours Environmental Action Program (VEHEAP) began the Victoria and Esquimalt Harbours Ecological Inventory and Rating (HEIR) project. The intent of the HEIR project was to systematically inventory the ecological features and to rate the ecological value of intertidal, backshore, and subtidal portions ofVictoria Harbour, the Gorge, Portage Inlet, Esquimalt Harbour and Esquimalt Lagoon. This report presents the results of Phase 1, which covers the intertidal and backshore portions of the harbours. Phase 2 of the HEIR will inventory and assess the subtidal portions of the harbours. ItemPresent and historical uses within the south coast harbours of the Capital Regional District(2014-07-03) Drinnan, R.W.; Couch, T.The Capital Regional District (CRD), as part of its responsibilities in developing a Liquid Waste Management Plan (L WMP), is reviewing the environmental quality of the south-coast harbours. To assist in this process, an assessment of the shoreline and water uses within these harbours has been carried out. The acquisition of such information, especially that pertaining to historic industrial activity, facilitates the assessment and interpretation of observed environmental impacts such as trends in sediment chemistry data. The compilation of information on harbour use also serves to generate baseline information which may be consulted in the future as part of any coordinated management scheme which would review possible conflict of interests with respect to shoreline and water activities within the Capital Regional District harbours ( eg. dock facility development impacting herring spawning grounds). In essence, the background information presented may be utilized to assist in the planning, management and regulation of harbour uses and activities.