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NALT Seeks Greater Protections for the Harewood Plains

Jun 30, 2023 | All Posts, Conservation, Media Release, News

The Nanaimo & Area Land Trust (NALT) is working with conservation partners to protect the Harewood Plains from development. The plains, located south of the Nanaimo Parkway east of Harewood Mines Road, are an area of thin soils over hard conglomerate rock resulting in open meadows skirted by trees and coastal Douglas fir forests. This unique geological feature is home to the City of Nanaimo’s floral emblem – the rare Hosackia Pinnata, along with other at-risk species.

NALT Executive Director Paul Chapman says the ecological integrity of the plains is threatened by a subdivision proposal recently presented to the City of Nanaimo. On April 18th, an application was submitted for the area of the plains that lies within the city boundary.

Identified as a priority for conservation by NALT and other agencies, the Harewood Plains are comprised of Coastal Douglas Fir forest and Garry oak meadows. Chapman describes the plains as “connected by hydrology to provide an area of rare abundance of forest and meadow flowers. In the spring, the forest floor and meadows progress through a series of colourful shows as plants emerge and bloom.”

NALT and other city environmental groups, including Nature Nanaimo, have formed a Harewood Plains Working Group to generate public awareness, raise funds, and reach out to provincial organizations to explore how the plains can be protected.

Two small city parks are adjacent to the 90 plus-acre property. A 26-acre area located at the eastern most end of the land is protected from development by a conservation covenant on the land. NALT co-chair Dean Gaudry says it’s not enough. “Second only to climate change, nothing imperils habitat as much as development. Roads and foundations will irrevocably interrupt the flow of water across the land which is a key component for the bounty of the plains.”

“The seasonal flow of water and the formation of vernal pools provide the conditions needed by these imperiled plant communities. It is not enough to identify a plant and protect its immediate vicinity. We need to look at what features support that rare plant or insect and protect that ecosystem. Anything less will fail,” says

Julia Roberts speaking on behalf of Nature Nanaimo agrees. “Development upslope of the already protected areas will sever the connections that are integral to the health of the plains. We need to follow those connections upslope to identify the area needed to ensure the delicate balance of the plains endures and protect it in its entirety,” she says.

“Everything is on the table,” says Paul Chapman, “This is a place we can’t afford to lose.”

For more information, visit www.nalt.bc.ca
Media Contact: Dean Gaudry 250-667-6050 treeisland6@gmail.com

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