The journey to eradicating an invasive species is a tough one, but Mark Cacovic is optimistic.
The View Royal man and 30 volunteers, in partnership with View Royal, spent more than 20 hours in the mud to remove ‘parrot’s feather’ from Stoneridge Wetlands, an area opposite of Victoria General Hospital along Watkiss Way.
Also known as myriophyllum aquaticum, parrot’s feather, is an aggressive species with a reputation of replacing native vegetation. Named by its feather-like leaves, parrot’s feather grows below and above the water level and develops strong underground roots. Dense growth creates pools of stagnant water, which can lead to the increase of mosquito breeding grounds. The parrot’s feather was believed to be introduced into the View Royal area about five years ago.
“Wetlands are really critical to our ecosystem even though they’re often seen as a detriment that should just be filled in with housing or farmland,” said Cacovic, spokesperson for the View Royal Parks habitat restoration volunteers.
“A lot of local birds need to swim and hunt for food in these waters, but some invasive species grow out of control and congest the area.”
On top of the removal efforts, the group planted more than 4,000 native plants to help reclaim the area.
Cacovic said the toughest part was drudging through shin-deep mud, under rainy conditions and smoky skies.
With the help of an excavator, the group cleared the majority of two ponds. Cacovic is excited for the life cycle of the wetlands to begin again.
Volunteers plan to add basking logs for turtles, birds and snakes to sit in the sunshine in the coming weeks.
“There was a point when no more aquatic birds were coming,” Cacovic said. “We’re so glad to be able to go out on a boat, even a rubber dingy and continue the clean up for years to come. It’s such a fabulous spot.”
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