Enhancement project making a difference on New West ravine

Goats could be called into action to help with the ecological project that’s underway in Glenbrook Ravine.

Kyle Routledge launched the ecological initiative in 2017, with New Westminster Environmental Partners getting on board in 2018 and adopting it as one of its projects and the Invasive Species Council of Metro Vancouver supporting the project. During six events held in 2018, volunteers removed invasive plants and started planting native species.

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“Overall, I'm very pleased with the progress we've made so far,” Routledge said. “Enthusiasm has been high, which says a lot considering how unpleasant blackberry removal can be. I know that there have been instances of people meeting each other for the first time in the ravine, then running into one another elsewhere in the community and being able to have a nice conversation because of the work they've done together.”

About 125 volunteers from toddlers to folks in their 80s attended events in 2018. Volunteers removed about 350 square metres of Himalayan blackberry in 2018 and about 250 square metres in 2017.

In 2018, volunteers planted 235 native plants, including big leaf maple, vine maple, thimble berry, salmon berry, Oregon grape, oceanspray, snowberry, Indian plum and red-osier dogwood.

“You can absolutely see a difference in the ravine, if you are looking at the area where we did the work,” Routledge said. “It doesn't look as nice in the winter, when many of the native species we planted have lost their leaves, but you can certainly see where the blackberry has been removed.”

Routledge hopes volunteers, including some four-legged friends, could help with work being planned for 2019.

“Plans for 2019 are to continue on, make more progress on the area we have been tackling,” he said in an email to the Record. “We hope to grow our volunteer base in 2019 and to have more great community-building success like we have experienced over the past two years. I would really like to get some goats in the ravine to eat away at the blackberry in advance of any weed removal days.”

Jennifer Lukianchuk, the City of New Westminster’s environmental coordinator, is pleased with the “great work” that’s been happening in Glenbrook Ravine and commended Routledge and volunteers for their efforts. She noted the city contributed a grant toward the enhancement project.

“You know what I really liked about it? It was a nice community effort and it’s a really nice way for people to connect,” she said. “They want to do something in the community. They want to do something environmental. It gives them that opportunity to get out there and be part of something larger, something that is coordinated.”

For more information on the Glenbrook Ravine enhancement project, contact Routledge at kyleroutledge@gmail.com.


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