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Where Eagles Soar

Photo by Melanie Leeson Photography

It's Official! 

Twenty-three acres of land at the French Creek Estuary has been purchased by the BC Parks Foundation and leased to the Regional District of Nanaimo to be managed as the French Creek Estuary Nature Preserve.
THANK YOU to all the donors, volunteers and supporters who made this incredible project a reality. 

The Save Estuary Land Society is assisting the Regional District of Nanaimo in developing a Management Plan for the Nature Preserve in collaboration with the Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Region Research Institute, Friends of French Creek Conservation Society, Arrowsmith Naturalists and Mid-Vancouver Island Habitat Enhancement Society to ensure it will be actively protected to conserve and enhance natural habitats, sensitive ecosystems, and biodiversity.
We'll keep you informed about future ways you can become involved in volunteer projects and science based studies at the Nature Preserve.

Bald Eagle & Great Blue Heron Nest Tree Identification Project
The Save Estuary Land Society was awarded a $3,600 grant from the BC Parks Foundation's "25 x 25 Initiative" for which we are very grateful. Click here to discover how you can become involved in their initiative to protect 25% of British Columbia by 2025:   “25 x 25" Initiative

The Nest Tree Identification Project is led by Sandra Gray, a long term Vancouver Island Wildlife Tree Stewardship area coordinator with over 20 years experience studying nesting habits and locations of Bald eagles & Great Blue herons from Nanoose to Deep Bay along east Vancouver Island. Forty-five amazing community volunteers are in the field with binoculars and spotting scopes observing over 70 nests and have even discovered new ones. Over 650 observ
ation reports have been submitted - that's a lot of data! Thankfully skilled staff at the Vancouver Island University and Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Region Research Institute have generously offered to compile the data for submission to the BC Ministry of Water, Land & Resource Stewardship to update their database on these nesting sites.

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Photo by Mike Yip

 The loss of available nesting and feeding habitats,   disturbance from human activities, and the effects

 of climate change have reduced the capacity of   these birds to thrive and successfully raise young.

 Data from this project will contribute toward the   protection of these iconic and magnificent birds. 

 Funding for our project runs out March 31, 2023.

 We hope to secure additional funds to continue     gathering info to learn about the success of the   eagles and herons in raising & fledging young.


French Creek Estuary Nature Preserve

Photo by Save Estuary Land Society

Estuaries are rare, making up only 2.3% of BC's coastline. But they are highly productive and diverse, supporting thousands of species of wildlife that use it for food, shelter and to raise young.

Acting as a protective buffer, estuaries play a key role in climate change, absorbing flood waters and dissipating storm surges.

The French Creek Estuary feeds the spectacular Salish Sea. Each year, in the area in front of the estuary, high winds and surging waves dislodge thousands of Gaper clams, tossing them on shore as a feast for hundreds of Bald eages and other wildlife. Eagles also gather here to feed on herring and hake.

Towering Trees

Featuring mature growth, the area is home to iconic western red cedars, some over 150 years old. These are vital for eagles, who need mature older trees buffered from human activity. It is part of a globally endangered coastal douglas fir forest ecosystem and ranked critically imperiled as part of the douglas-fir/dull oregon-grape ecosystem according to the BC Conservation Data Centre.

Photo by Save Estuary Land Society

Species at Risk

This area is part of east Vancouver Island's eco-crisis region and one of nine most at-risk areas in southern Canada due to development, forestry and other pressures.

Photo by Melanie Leeson Photography

Ecological values . . .

  • 3 rare and fragile ecosystems

  • 19 species at risk

  • 150 year old coastal douglas fir and western red cedars

  • 2 salmon and trout bearing creeks

  • Vital wetlands and riparian areas

  • A critical gathering place and habitat for eagles

Among the species at risk are peregrine falcons, great blue herons, marbled murrelets, northern red-legged frogs, western toads and townsend big-eared bats. Other wildlife also rely on the area, such as beavers, otters, owls, deer, bears, cougars and other migratory birds.

Photo by Wayne Duke

Photo by Wayne Duke

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