2012 annual report

The past year held a rather intense focus for PICA, working with the community to ensure that the ecological integrity of Brooks Point Phase III will be protected for the future.

Serving on the PICA Board of Directors during the past year have been:

Sylvia Pincott - President
Eleanor Brownlee - Vice President
Rhondda Porter - Secretary
Ursula Poepel - Treasurer
Graham Boffey - Shingle Creek
Sue Kronen - Speaker events
Davy Rippner - Technical services and website

Many thanks to each of them for sharing their diverse talents and efforts throughout the year on behalf of PICA - and for agreeing to continue on the Board for the coming year.

PICA Website and New e-mail Address

A recent event that has been achieved through these diverse talents is our new Website - penderconservancy.org - for which we sincerely thank our PICA techie, Davy Rippner, for many many hours in production. Peter Easthope spent many hours in getting us started on this, and our thanks go to him also. We hope you will take time to drop in at penderconservancy.org for a visit.

We have a new e-mail address, too, so please make a note of that - penderconservancy@shaw.ca

Brooks Point

First and foremost, I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the amazing Brooks Point Committee, chaired by Paul and Monica Petrie. What a team! They have been working tirelessly over the past 18 months to ensure protection of the ecological integrity of the property that we refer to as Brooks Point Phase III, located between the present Brooks Point and Gowland Point parklands. This intermediate parcel was purchased by the CRD, with borrowed funds, in late 2010, but with the option of subdividing the land to recover some of their capital cost.

Our community awareness and fund-raising campaign of 2011 was to bring a strong incentive to the CRD to retain the property in its entirety. We received wonderful community support, and approximately $130,000 was raised. This is being held pending a positive commitment from the CRD that they will not subdivide the land. Unfortunately their decision has been delayed, what with elections last November and now a new CRD Parks Committee. We are back on their agenda for June.

In the meantime, a bit of Pender Magic has happened with the sighting of the endangered Sharp-tailed Snake on the property in question! Added to the treasured Chocolate Lilies and Camas that abound there, this will surely encourage a decision to put the ecological integrity of the land first.

PICA is no longer actively fund-raising for Brooks Point, having turned that over to TLC The Land Conservancy of BC, who are committed to paying the interest on the CRD loan and to paying down a one-third portion of the capital cost. We are very grateful to TLC for this, and for the active role taken by Bill Turner, their Executive Director, in negotiating and encouraging purchase of Phase III by the CRD. 

We also thank Walter Kohli and Ina Timmer of Poet's Cove Resort, who have been working closely with TLC in support of their campaign.  You may have noticed the TLC Chocolate Lily bars available around our community.  Your purchase of these goes in support of TLC and their Brooks Point campaign. 

A recent project of our Brooks Point Committee has been preparation of a summary report to the South Pender Local Trust Committee. This acknowledges LTC financial assistance for the preparation of a laminated trail guide that can be picked up at the trail head, used for "walk-abouts" and returned at the end of a visit. This report may be viewed on our website.

As part of the report, appendices are included that list the wonderfully diverse flora and fauna of Brooks Point. Thanks to Trallee Dun, Jill Ilsley and John Chapman for taking on this project. Extending from this, we will also soon have a separate Brooks Point Bird Check List available for visitors to the Point.

Protection of the Shingle Creek Watershed

PICA, represented by Graham Boffey, is heading up the Shingle Creek community Watershed Acquisition Committee working towards the purchase and conservation of the 43 acre Shingle Creek watershed, which is essential to the water supply of the Magic Lake Community. Also on this committee are representatives from the North Pender Island Local Trust Committee, Capital Regional District, Magic Lake Sewer and Water, PI Parks and Recreation, and Magic Lake Property Owners' Association.

A brochure on the project was distributed to the Magic Lake community during the year, and a baseline ecological inventory was prepared for the property. We appreciate the assistance of a grant from the CRD that covered the costs of these steps along the way.

We have been advised by Nature Conservancy Canada that PICA has been chosen as recipient of a conditional grant in the amount of $458,000 towards purchase of the watershed. This is a “matching” grant, however, requiring that we come up with similar funds to complete the purchase. To this end, a grant application has been submitted to the Royal Bank of Canada "Blue Water Project", but we won't hear the results of this until July. From the funds raised we must also establish an endowment fund of approximately $116,000, with ongoing interest from the fund being available for managment and maintenance of the land.

In March a Letter of Intent to Purchase was presented to the owner of the Shingle Creek property. This past week we received her response that she is now not interested - something of a shock to the hard-working Committee, to say the least. We will continue to work on this on behalf of the community.

Financial Audit

The requirement of an annual financial audit is a condition of applying for large grants such as those needed for Shingle Creek. We have thus, to date, had Audits prepared for us for the years 2010 and 2011. Our CRD grant covered the cost of the first audit, but we are seeking further assistance to cover the second, and ongoing audits.

Conservation Covenants

Placing conservation covenants on privately held land continues to be a major focus for PICA, and in the past six months we have established covenants on three more North Pender properties - bringing our total to 16 covenants on approximately 36 acres. Another covenant is currently in process. We are very grateful for the caring generosity of covenanting property-owners who wish to see their land protected in perpetuity. And, we also appreciate the excellent partnership that we have with Islands Trust Fund, who are co-covenant holders for these properties.

If you have land that you care for, and wish to see it cared for in perpetuity, please contact us for more information. We are very fortunate on Pender to have the opportunity of financial assistance from the Nancy Waxler-Morrison Biodiversity Protection Fund to cover covenant costs.

A conservation covenant could bring considerable savings in future property taxes – a 65% reduction on the covenanted portion of your land, under the Islands Trust Natural Areas Tax Exemption Program – NAPTEP. Taken another step further through the federal Ecological Gifts Program, there can also be significant savings on income tax over a five-year period.

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Conservation Projects

Project Eagle Watch

Headed up by our Eagle Watch champion, David Manning, and thanks to a very caring private donor, we continued to sponsor Project Eagle Watch last year, and look forward to continuing through 2012. Our wings are not being spread quite so far now, with PICA support now covering North and South Pender, rather than the many islands beyond. Monitoring also includes nests of Ospreys (1, and possibly 3 last year), Peregrine Falcons (1, possibly 3), and Great Blue Herons (none known for 2011) - nests protected year-round by the BC Wildlife Act.

In 2011 there were 13 active Eagle nests on the Penders, with 12 eaglets fledged. For 2012, the count is 16 active nests in 19 territories.

Thanks to David, and to the many individual monitors who keep track of “their” nests from day to day, and for the boaters who provide transportation for shoreline viewing. If you are interested in sharing your raptor nest observations, please talk to David about joining the monitoring team.

Earth Day Beach Cleanup, and monthly “Adopt-a-Beach”

Once again the people of Pender showed that they care, with their wonderful support of PICA's Annual Earth Day Beach Clean-Up. Quantities of debris arrived at our Medicine Beach Market drop-off, all warmly welcomed and sorted by our Islands Trust Trustees - from North Pender, Gary Steeves and Ken Hancock, and from South Pender, Liz Montague and Mike Jones. Thanks to all for your diverse offerings, and to our trusty Trustees for being on the receiving end!

Many thanks, also, to Amanda Griesbach who once again coordinated the day for us, to Pender Islands Waste Management who escorted more than half-a-ton of beach debris to the Hartland Landfill, and to the CRD for their funding assistance.

We are thankful that quantities picked up on the Earth Day Cleanup are considerably less than our first Earth Day pickup three years ago - thanks to our team of more than 50 Adopt-a-Beach volunteers who patrol their 40 designated beaches on a monthly basis. Plastic continues to dominate the debris - particularly styrofoam slabs, chunks, and tiny particles, so lethal in the marine food chain.

We are delighted that roadside debris was included again this year, as the Pender Pacers broke their stride along several kilometres of roadway, and gathered as necessary. I still find it very difficult to imagine anyone throwing something out of a car window onto our beautiful roadsides, always questioning in my mind, "what would it look like if everyone did that?"

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Purple Martin Recovery Program

In the 1990’s the Western Purple Martin came close to extirpation in southwestern British Columbia. PICA has participated in the Purple Martin Recovery Program since 2007, with specially designed nest boxes mounted on pilings in several locations along Pender shores. We recently installed 5 more boxes at the Hope Bay dock.

There was great excitement in July of 2010, when 15 chicks were banded and successfully fledged from our Pender boxes.Our population expanded in 2011, with 31 young and/or eggs observed and 19 birds banded. Two banded birds were observed while in flight, but were too distant to determine the origin of their bands. It looks like we have birds back this year, but we haven't yet determined numbers.

These birds have an incredible migratory journey of 22,000 km - to the Amazon Basin and back. We are thankful that we have been able to welcome them home to Pender!

Nest Box Building Workshop

In February we held another Nest Box Building Workshop for the young, and young-at-heart. This year we focused on two box designs - for Chestnut-backed Chickadees and for Violet-green Swallows. Twenty-five boxes went home with participants, to be placed out in welcome for resident Chickadees, and returning Swallows.

Hope Bay Stream

All going as planned on Wednesday, May 16, a representative from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans will be here to stock Hope Bay Stream with 10,000 Chum Salmon fry. This has been a long-anticipated event, and we will celebrate its happening!


Shoreline Education

Our major community education focus this year will be on Shorelines. We are very fortunate that Sara Steil, whose heart has long been immersed in the world of the waters around us, has taken on this challenge on behalf of PICA. Our plans, at the moment, are to hold a half-day workshop in October, to acquaint the community with the intricacy of our shoreline ecosystems, and the need for very careful stewardship as part of our shoreline activities.

Forage Fish Monitoring

Our Forage Fish Monitoring project is proceeding and, although we are not directly involved, we are very much in support of an eel grass mapping project for the Penders. Forage Fish are the vitally significant little fish that feed the larger fish, and on up the marine predator chain to the Orca’s. Forage fish depend upon undisturbed shorelines and eel grass meadows just off-shore for their successful reproduction and survival.

All in all, it has been a busy and rewarding year. The teamwork of our Board is much appreciated, and we sincerely thank our many individual members for their support. I would particularly like to acknowledge my husband Keith for always being there for us – consulting, listening, fetching, carrying, loading, unloading – with n’ere a complaint!

The beauty of the natural world draws us to these islands. Their careful stewardship depends upon each of us. It is a privilege, on behalf of PICA, to share the message of caring.

On behalf of PICA Board of Directors
Sylvia Pincott, Chair
May 2012

Letters from the Board of Directors

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