Victoria, BC - The Capital Regional District’s Mill Hill Restoration Project is beginning its eleventh year. This successful, science-based project brings community members together with Regional Parks’ staff under the common goals of restoring a valuable remnant Garry oak ecosystem and recovering rare and endangered plants.
The park is closed on Wednesday, June 6, as crews remove massive bundles of Scotch broom by helicopter. Thanks to the dedicated work of staff and volunteers, more than five metric tonnes of invasive shrubs were removed from 5.6 hectares in 2011. Over the last ten years, almost 63 tonnes have been removed from about 16 hectares throughout the park. The biomass is then sent to a commercial facility for processing as biofuel.
“Before the project started, seven rare plant species were known to occur at 32 sites in the park. Now, 13 rare species have been found at about 180 sites,” said Lloyd Rushton, General Manager of CRD Parks and Community Services. “In the tracking of these rare plants, we are seeing a marked increase in the nationally listed plant-at-risk White-top Aster. Monitoring is also demonstrating that, after an initial flush of invasive grasses following broom removal, native plants are increasing relative to the number of invasive plants.”
Mill Hill Regional Park represents a valuable remnant Garry oak stand that is a treasure worth protecting. The park includes about 20 hectares of Garry oak ecosystems and represents one of the highest concentrations of plants at risk in the province. This long term undertaking receives financial support of the Government of Canada through the Federal Department of the Environment.
More information on the restoration project can be found here.
Laurie Sthamann, Communications Coordinator
CRD Regional Parks