Ministry of Environment

Environmental Stewardship Division

SEI Update

A publication of the Sensitive Ecosystems Inventory Project No. 4
August 1999

Using the SEI in the Cowichan Valley

If you are the proud owner of a sensitive ecosystem in the Cowichan Valley, expect a call from the E-team!

The Cowichan Community Land Trust (CCLT) is embarking on a program to contact landowners with sensitive ecosystems on their property. The purpose is to inform landowners that they have something very special on their land, and offer the opportunity to learn more about these ecosystems and ways to protect their natural values.

Six knowledgeable and enthusiastic young people have been hired using E-team funding. And because they cannot cover the entire region, they will focus their efforts on ecosystems identified by the Sensitive Ecosystems Inventory (SEI).

E-team member Nadine King notes that "Many people in the area don't realize they have something special on their property. We are trying to help educate and to give people another source for information."

Over the next few months, the E-team will meet with landowners, answer their questions, conduct research, develop a brochure, conduct workshops and give presentations.

This is the fifth year for the CCLT's landowner contact program. Project coordinator Valerie Harrison says that the SEI maps provided the perfect
focus for this year's work. "This builds on our previous efforts and enables us to build community education around these unique and special areas."

The Cowichan Tribes are also hiring a six-person E-team to gather ecosystem data on their reserve lands, remove exotic vegetation, and plant native species. The SEI will be used to identify sites where field data needs to be collected. The team will be able to share data on existing SEI polygons and sites not previously included in the inventory.

The Cowichan Tribes E-team will also be using both traditional and contemporary environmental teachings to build awareness in the community about sensitive ecosystems and their stewardship. Coordinator Jana Kotaska says, "Once we understand the impacts of our actions on the land and resources we depend on, we are open to looking for less destructive ways to do things."

SEI staff are providing training and support to both E-teams.

For further information contact Valerie Harrison, CCLT, (250) 746-0227 or Jana Kotaska, Cowichan Tribes, (250) 748-3196.

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