Urban Biodiversity Enhancement and Restoration (UBER) Group at Haliburton Watershed. We are a group of volunteers, including professional biologists and the interested public, dedicated to enhancing and restoring biodiversity in urban environments.
Our group undertakes projects that maximize biodiversity and wildlife habitat in small remnant green spaces within urban landscapes. Our current focus is the Haliburton Brook watershed. Our initial projects have been concentrated at the Haliburton Community Organic Farm. The projects not only use ecological restoration techniques to bring back historic habitats, but also enhance wildlife habitat and biodiversity values by building new features such as wetlands, installing bird-boxes, and planting native shrub hedgerows. Our goal is to connect the projects at Haliburton Community Organic Farm, which is near the headwaters of Haliburton Brook, to the larger Elk/Beaver Lake and Colquitz watershed by restoring Haliburton Brook and its riparian areas.
Our group is a volunteer organization. We meet the first Saturday of every month for a hands-on work party at Haliburton Community Organic Farm. Once a year we meet informally to talk about projects for the coming year. We maintain notes of our activities during the work parties and other volunteer projects each month, noting techniques and inputs to restoring the ecosystems. We do not have formal status as a stand-alone not-for-profit society but work under the umbrella of the Haliburton Community Organic Farm Society.
Our projects are currently focused on land leased from the Municipality of Saanich and managed by the Haliburton Community Organic Farm Society. Our future projects on restoring Haliburton Brook will need partnership from Saanich Parks, Planning and Storm Water Management sections, Royal Oak Burial Society, Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, CRD Water, and CRD Parks.
Our current projects include the building of two temporary ponds, and establishing wet meadow and Garry Oak meadow restoration sites. We are also engaged in public and environmental education through tours and talks. We have mentored students from University of Victoria and Camosun College, and have provided hands-on environmental education for over five years for the Institute for Global Solutions program at Claremont High School.
The projects described in Question 5 are ongoing. Our next major project is to restore a riparian area within the limits of the Haliburton Farm. Our long term goal is the restore connectivity to the Elk/Beaver Lake ecosystem by restoring Haliburton Brook and its riparian areas.
People can participate in our projects by joining the monthly work parties. Some volunteers then take on a leadership role in sub-projects that they formulate with the guidance of the project leaders and work independently during other times of the month. There are no professional requirements. All that is needed is a passion and dedication to urban biodiversity conservation, ecological restoration and enhancement, environmental education, or simply a fascination for the natural world.
Our group is completely volunteer run and managed. We obtain project funding from various grants to build wetlands and to purchase equipment and supplies. Previous funders included the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation (HCTF/PCAF), TD Fund for the Environment, Mountain Equipment Coop and various in-kind contributors.
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