Submitted by SSIC
Thanks to an outpouring of local support, Salt Spring Island Conservancy (SSIC) announced this week it is in the final stretch of fundraising, with $20,500 left to raise in its effort to acquire and protect 15.5 acres of rare lowland coastal temperate rainforest on Salt Spring, known as the Creekside Rainforest.
This last spring, SSIC launched a community fundraiser for the Creekside Rainforest. Thanks to the generosity of many donors — and a major grant SSIC applied for and received — the acquisition project now needs to gather just a fraction of its goal of $440,000. But organizers say SSIC, along with fundraising partner The Land Conservancy of BC, need to meet that goal by Oct. 13.
SSIC says the Creekside Rainforest is rich in biodiversity, and contains two ecological communities that are provincially classified as imperilled. The land is home to Western red cedar up to 250 years old, enormous bigleaf maples draped in moss and lichen, and numerous species associated with older rainforests, including many at risk.
“The property’s deep ravine, higher than normal rainfall, and northerly aspect, combined with the continuous forest canopy, create an exceptionally cool and moist microclimate,” according to a press release from SSIC. “Island wildlife use this property as a corridor and water supply and, for species under stress from climate change, the Creekside Rainforest is a cool and moist refugium.”
Cusheon Creek, one of the few salmon-bearing streams on the island, flows through the land. Salmonids, swimming upstream to their spawning and rearing habitat, benefit from the creek’s cool temperature, maintained by the tree canopy’s shade, according to SSIC.
Concerned neighbours initiated this conservation effort in fall 2021, with SSIC continuing and expanding these efforts over the past months. Upon completion of the project, SSIC says it will establish a nature reserve to ensure that the land is protected in perpetuity, with public access through planned hiking trails. To learn more about what makes the Creekside Rainforest unique, and help to protect it, visit saltspringconservancy.ca/creeksiderainforest or email email@example.com.