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CRD Regional Parks Landscape Evaluation Representation and Connection


Introduction The purpose of the project is to use available landscape information to identify areas with high natural values. These results are a decision support tool that will help us identify priority areas for potential future regional parks. We want to improve our results by combining other information, land use designations, landscape values and opportunities, local knowledge and expertise. We are engaging with First Nations, government agencies, timber companies and the public. Your feedback will help us to update our land acquisition program for the future. We are seeking your feedback on this process and would appreciate it if you could review the supporting information and complete the related survey https://www.crd.bc.ca/project/regional-parks-landscape-evaluation-project.


Objectives • Inform priorities for parkland acquisition • Compile data and create natural values maps • Find areas with high natural value that represent the CRD • Connect valued areas and existing protected areas • Incorporate local knowledge and experience


Objectives In 2019, our land acquisition strategy concludes, and will need to be renewed. Current Board direction is to shift our focus for future acquisitions to “West of the Sooke River� in the Juan de Fuca Electoral Area. We are doing a landscape evaluation to identify areas with high natural value. To do this, we created themed maps that were analyzed to identify where the values are that we are seeking and that are not represented in our existing protected areas. We also examined how we might connect these sites to create a protected area network. This analysis is a decision support tool not a decision making tool. It is a starting point for discussion and for the inclusion of other factors outside of this analysis. We are undertaking a public engagement program to share this work and learn about other values and aspirations for the landscape. This work will augment the map data with social, economic and recreational values as well as additional conservation values to support the development of a new land acquisition strategy.


Sidney

Port Renfrew

Victoria Sooke

Capital Regional District

Landscape Evaluation Project

Planning Area Key Locations Study Area

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5 Kilometers

UTM Zone 10N NAD 1983 Date: 30/10/2018

10

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Study Area The study area for this evaluation is defined by the Growth Management Planning Area (GMPA) which is all the CRD lands on Vancouver Island. The study area is over 200,000 hectares anchoring Vancouver Island to the Juan de Fuca Strait and the Salish Sea. The analysis includes all of the Growth Management Planning Area so that we can better understand what we have already protected and then to look for those values not yet represented. The Gulf islands are not included in this analysis. The Islands Trust Conservancy has recently completed a conservation plan for that area.


Capital Regional District

Landscape Evaluation Project

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5 Kilometers

UTM Zone 10N NAD 1983 Date: 10/10/2018

10

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Parks/Protected Areas and Watershed Federal Park

Provincial Park

Municipal Park

Regional Park

Provincial Ecoreserve

Water Supply Area = 1000 Hectares

Municipal Park

Provincial Ecoreserve

Provincial Park

Federal Park

Regional Park

Greater Victoria Water Supply Area


Current Protected Areas We have been very successful in establishing a regional parks system over the past 52 years with an emphasis on the eastern portion of the study area and most recently in the Sooke Hills. Regional Parks make up 13,000 hectares or 9% of the total area. The CRD also manages the Greater Victoria Water Supply Area that protects over 20,000 hectares. Along with Federal, Provincial and municipal parks, 25% of the study area is protected. However, our park system does not reflect the diversity of landscapes and habitats across the region.


Approach 1. Information: •

Develop landscape themes (maps)

2. Representation: •

“Prioritiz-R” evaluates the landscape and identifies areas that represent the diversity of natural values we are seeking

3. Connection: •

“Linkage-Mapper” connects “core” areas across the landscape

4. Summarize 5. Apply other knowledge and values


Approach To do this work we relied on available information through a variety of sources to identify environmental values or themes. These themes were analyzed using a computer modelling program called Prioritizr-R. It is based on Marxan, a conservation planning tool developed in Australia and now used in over 100 countries. We have worked with the UBC Faculty of Forestry to develop and run the model and interpret the results. The model seeks to optimize. It identifies areas where natural values are most efficiently captured to reach our conservation targets with minimal cost. We also applied another conservation software known as Linkage Mapper that analyses complex landscapes to find low cost connections between high value areas. We have summarized the results so that it can be combined with other information, landscape values, local knowledge and expertise.


Themes • 10 main themes; 58 data layers: Theme 1

• • • • • • • • • •

Terrain Land Cover Landscape Position Slope Aspect Elevation Forest Species Forest Age Riparian Vegetation Salmon and Trout

Theme 2 Theme 3 Theme 4

Landscape

https://smartgrowth.org


Themes Data collected represent a focus on physical landscapes and key habitats. The intent is to plan for a park system that represents the regional diversity of landscape features and connects them together as a protected areas network. A full set of reference maps are available on the CRD website. The Prioritize-R model evaluates 10 main landscape themes that are divided into 58 data layers. Each data layer is represented at a 1 hectare resolution. The program optimizes land selection by achieving a target for each value. The target indicates how much of the value we want to capture in our solution.


Natural Value Targets • Landscape value targets: • 17% - 2010 Aichi Treaty • 30% - Conservation Research

• Target the values – not the land base • To find an optimal solution you need a “cost” layer


Natural Value Targets We chose two baseline targets that help us evaluate how well we represent the diversity of landscape values. The core conservation target is set at 17% as defined by the Convention on Biological Diversity Aichi Treaty. This is a treaty that was signed by Canada in 2010 and is recognized in many conservation policies. The treaty emphasizes effective and equitable management, ecological representation and well connected protected areas. The 30% target reflects a value that has been recognized by several landscape ecologists as an effective level of conservation for functioning ecosystems. The model can optimize by finding different landscape values in the same location so the outcome will be value based and not just a proportion of the land. The solutions can be overlaid so that the 17% target is nested at the core of the 30% target. The solution is further refined to minimize cost. We applied a cost layer based on road density as a surrogate for human activity. This is a shift in thinking as our current parks are all road accessible and relatively close to where we live. Using road density, we would expect that high value areas away from roads (human activity) are more likely to be selected than similar areas near roads.


Landscape Analysis Solution A

Theme 1: 17% Theme 2: 25% Theme 3:

0%

Prioritiz-R

Theme 4: 50%

Solution B

Landscape https://smartgrowth.org

Muffins Oven Loaf


Landscape Analysis Landscape modelling is technically complex. An analogy is the concept of baking: 1. When you want to bake, you look in your cupboard and see what ingredients you have, which is similar to identifying your landscape values. 2. A cookbook sets the quantities for each ingredient. That is the same as establishing target values for each landscape theme. 3. The baking ingredients go into the oven and, the landscape values go into Prioriz-R. 4. Depending on the recipe you will get a different result. Depending on the targets, you will get a different landscape solution.


Terrain Themes: • • • •

Slope Aspect Elevation Landscape Position


Terrain To illustrate the concept of landscape themes, this slide shows an area about 10 km square. This is a PlanetScope satellite image that we used to classify land cover. It is very similar to an aerial photo. By adding terrain, you get more depth in the landscape in terms of slope, aspect and elevation.


Water Features Themes: • • • •

Lakes, Ponds Streams and Rivers Wetlands Riparian habitat


Water Features Adding water features and riparian vegetation provides more context showing valley bottoms where the water flows. The Sooke River and estuary is visible on the left.


Land Cover Theme:

• Non-forested land cover


Land Cover The classified satellite image shows non-forested land cover including human development in orange, red and yellow with natural features like bedrock in purple and open bluffs in light brown.


Land Cover Themes:

• Forest Stand-age Class


Land Cover We have added provincial forest inventory data so that forest can be described by stand age from young to mature classes in lighter to darker shades of green respectively.


Land Cover Themes:

• Forest Stand-leading Species


Land Cover We can also describe stand leading tree species such as Douglas fir in dark green, alder in pink and big leaf maple in magenta.


Scaling Up

Example Map Area


Scaling Up It is instructive to look at a small area for detail but the power of our data is that we have continuous or seamless information at this level of detail for the entire study area. This allows us to scale up for regional analysis. Following are a few examples.


Land Cover and Forest Stand Age Class Water

Establishing (1-20)

Shrub

Pole Sapling (21-40)

Herb

Young Forest (41-80)

Wetland

Mature (81-139)

Bedrock / Shoreline

Older Mature (140-249)

Agriculture

Old Growth (250+)

Grass / Anthropogenic

Capital Regional District

Landscape Evaluation Project

0

5 Kilometers

UTM Zone 10N NAD 1983 Date: 30/10/2018

10

.

Study Area

Protected Areas 0

50000

100000

Hectares

150000

200000


Land Cover and Stand (forest) Age Class Land cover is dated July 2017. This provides a classification of “cover� or what you see from above. Land cover provides a broad characterization of human activity but also represents natural values like forests, water features, meadows, rocky outcrops and wetlands. The classification is based on provincial standards. Anthropogenic (human) land cover is most noticeable in the urban and agricultural areas in the eastern part of the study area. As you move west, the land cover is predominantly forest. The provincial forest inventory is based on 2014 data and provides stand age. In this map, dark blue is old growth greater that 250 years old, dark greens are mature forest between 80 and 250 years old and the lighter tones are young forest less than 80 years of age. Forest stand age tells a story of resource development. Much of the landscape has been logged historically and this activity continues resulting in a predominance of younger stand ages with old forests primarily found at higher elevation and in steeper terrain. There is a considerable amount of old growth forest along the San Juan Ridge.


Capital Regional District

Landscape Evaluation Project

0

5 Kilometers

UTM Zone 10N NAD 1983 Date: 04/10/2018

10

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Landscape Position

Study Area

Lower slope, valley drainage

Midslope, shallow valleys, plains

Midslope, local ridges

Upper slope, hilltops, ridges

Protected Areas

Upper slope, headwaters 0

20

40

Percent %

60

80

100


Landscape Position This map describes position in relation to the surrounding landscape and is derived from Provincial terrain data. The complexity of the landscape is expressed as valley bottoms, ridge tops, mid slopes and headwaters. These features highlight corridors across the landscape as well as potential barriers to movement. Ridgetops, shown in light grey often represent drier open landscapes while valley bottoms (shown in dark green) are often densely vegetated rich moist ecosystems. Connecting across these natural corridors is important to provide for seasonal migration of wildlife. As climate change impacts increase, many plants and animals will benefit from protected habitat corridors across a range of elevations.


Results


Results We ran several scenarios to give individual values more or less emphasis. The different scenarios identify very similar core areas consistently. This map shows a solution with higher target values applied to older forest and lower targets applied to anthropogenic features. Areas of high natural value are shown for the baseline 17% target in green and the baseline 30% target in yellow. This shows representative target areas regardless of existing protected areas. If values are identified in parks they may be selected but if there are more optimal areas outside they are selected first. Just under 30% of the highlighted areas identified are contained in existing protected areas.


Capital Regional District

Landscape Evaluation Project

0

5 Kilometers

UTM Zone 10N NAD 1983 Date: 25/10/2018

10

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Total Planning Units - Hectares

Priority Areas Highest

Low

High

Lowest

Medium

Not Included in Analysis


Landscape Planning Units When looking at a large area, watersheds or drainage basins are meaningful ecological boundaries. We created 129 landscape units based on watershed characteristics. This allows us to summarize the 1 hectare model results and provide a rank for each landscape unit. In this map, the darker shades indicate higher natural values overall. The top ranked planning units or the two darkest shades represent 52 landscape units or about 35% of the study area.


Capital Regional District

Landscape Evaluation Project

0

5 Kilometers

UTM Zone 10N NAD 1983 Date: 02/11/2018

10

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Core Target Areas 17% Core Area

Landscape Connectivity High Connectivity Low Connectivity


Building Connections Using the 17% core areas, we explored how well they can be connected in a protected area network. The Linkage Mapper program analyses the space between core areas to find the path of least resistance based on avoidance of natural or man made barriers. We selected slope, road density and human development as impediments to connected landscapes. Core 17% areas are greyed on the map and the landscape is shaded from green for areas of good connection potential though to red and white shades for poor connection potential.


1 1

2 2

Capital Regional District

Landscape Evaluation Project

Land Evaluation Results 17 %

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5 Kilometers

UTM Zone 10N NAD 1983 Date: 30/10/2018

10

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30 %

Public Input 2010 Results

3 3

1

Fairy Creek Watershed Area

2

Muir Creek Watershed

3

West Bank of the Sooke River


Public Survey Results - 2010 In 2010, the CRD undertook a number of surveys with local residents to find out what areas were deemed as important for park establishment. These 20 different areas are overlaid in red on our results. There is quite a bit of overlap between model outputs based in 2017 and survey results from 2010 but there are also some interesting anomalies. The three following examples illustrate this.


Fairy Creek


Fairy Creek The first area is Fairy Creek


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1

2

3

Kilometers

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Fairy Creek Basin

San Juan River


Fairy Creek The Fairy Creek Basin and the San Juan River flats were identified in 2010 (red areas) and most of these areas are also highlighted in the Prioritize-R model outputs (17% target in green and 30% target in yellow). Fairy Creek Basin is around 1300 hectares in size and is the last remaining watershed in the region that has not experienced large scale forest harvesting. The San Juan River is the largest river and the largest watershed in the region. It supports 9 species of salmon and trout with major tributaries such as Harris Creek, Lens Creek and Renfrew Creek. The large alluvial river flats and estuary are somewhat unique in the region supporting mature stands of Sitka spruce, red cedar and cottonwoods.


Fairy Creek Edinburgh Mountain (CVRD)

Braden Creek

Fairy Creek Basin San Juan River

Avatar Grove

Gordon River

PRNPR


Fairy Creek Google Earth View from the southwest.


Muir Creek


Muir Creek The second area is Muir Creek


Muir Creek

. 0

1

2

Kilometers

3


Muir Creek Muir Creek Watershed was identified in 2010 (red shading). Since that time, considerable forest development has shifted much of the watershed to recently logged establishing forest. While most of the river corridor itself is protected under forest regulation, the current conservation value of the upland areas is reduced and as a result, this area was not selected in the 2017 model other than the headwaters on the two main stems of Muir Creek at the top of the image (17% target in green and 30% target in yellow).


Muir Creek Sooke River 2

Tugwell Creek

1 3

Kirby Creek Muir Creek


Muir Creek Google Earth View from the south.


Gollege Creek


Gollege Creek Gollege and Demamiel Creek


3

2 Golledge Creek

Sea to Sea Regional Park

1

iver eR

Soo k

Upper DeMamiel Creek Muir Creek

. 0

1

2

Kilometers

3


Gollege Creek The west bank of Sooke River was identified in 2010 (red shading) but Gollege Creek and upper Demamiel Creek were not. In the current analysis the combined area of these basins was identified and makes up an area of about 5,500 hectares – comparable with Sea to Sea Regional park, Sooke Hills Provincial Park and the adjacent provincially managed lands - just across the Sooke River. Gollege Creek has three sub-basins that are all selected in the analysis. In addition, Upper Demamiel Creek is also selected along with Boneyard Creek and the western bank of the Sooke River. Similar to the Sea to Sea Regional Park, this area is mostly mature Douglas fir forest interspersed with rocky outcrops.


Gollege Creek Tugwell Lake

DeMamiel Creek

2

Leach River

1 Golledge Creek

3

Sooke River Leechtown Peden Bluffs Diamond Lake


Gollege Creek Google Earth View from the east.


Summary •

Landscape themes based on the best information available

The data focus is conservation values

Results of the model are a starting point for decision support and not a final product

Your input to this process will • •

Evaluate and improve the model results Provide local knowledge and expertise on social values and recreational opportunities


Summary The analysis is based on available information. The results show areas with a high concentration of natural values and corridors that could connect them. This does not necessarily reflect other landscape values like recreation, social or cultural values or economic realities. We will also take into consideration other land use designations ranging from Old Growth and Wildlife Management Areas to a diversity of crown tenures from wind farms to gravel quarries. Forest tenures and licenses are also in place on much of the provincially managed land. These will be overlain with the model results to reflect other constraints or opportunities on the landscape. We are engaging with First Nations, government agencies, timber companies and the public and feedback will help us to update our land acquisition program for the future. These results are a decision support tool. We want to improve our results by combining other information, land use designations, landscape values and opportunities, local knowledge and expertise.


Sidney

Sooke Reservoir

Sooke

Riv

er

Port Renfrew

Victoria

Sooke

Capital Regional District

Landscape Evaluation Project

Land Evaluation Results 17 % Target 30 % Target

0

5 Kilometers

UTM Zone 10N NAD 1983 Date: 05/11/2018

10

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Landscape Connectivity High Connectivity Low Connectivity

This map represents the combined outcome of the landscape analysis. • The areas of high natural value are shown in green (17% target) and yellow (30% target). • The rest of the landscape reflects the connections between these areas indicating high connection potential (in green shades) through to low connection potential (in red and white shades).


What’s Next? We are seeking your feedback on this process and would appreciate it if you could complete the related survey.

Landscape Evaluation Representation and Connection  

Representation and Connection

Landscape Evaluation Representation and Connection  

Representation and Connection