Broom Busters!

Mid March 2009

Crew: Jack Newman, Hugh Todd and Gord Debad

The Cook Creek connector runs downhill from the Inland Island Highway's Exit 87 to a T-junction at the "Old" or Coastal Highway, 19A.  The connector acts like a continental divide, with the south (east) ditch running into Chef Creek, and the other into Cook Creek.  MOT has made excellent use of settling ponds to keep sediment out of these two important salmon creeks.  As one traverses the inter-highway route, the broom-covered hillsides are very striking.  There appears to be a war on, between the alders and the broom, with patches of each attempting to overtake territory from the other.  As broom is an invasive plant, capable of producing prodigious amounts of seeds, various volunteer groups are making war upon it.

Jack Newman was involved with the clean-up of the 29th Street Connector at Courtenay, and is now working on the Cook Creek Connector. His student crew (during Spring Break) are Hugh Todd and Gord Debad.  FBSES received full funding from the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure to remove as much broom as possible in the window provided by Spring Break.  The plan is to eventually plant conifers to shade the broom sprouts, once the elder broom plants have been set back by cutting and (for the smaller plants) pulling.

Some shots of the "before", taken March 12, after about 2 hours of work ...

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The first casualties of the chainsaw.
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The tool (brush puller) - suitable for small plants only.
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The crew, Hugh, Gord and Jack.
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The job at hand.
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One plant, hundreds of seeds.
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An acre of broom on the hill, and lots more to work on.
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Note the contest between the alders and the broom.
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Always thinking of our workers, Judy brings doughnuts for the first coffee break.

March 25

dsc_0027.jpg (246579 bytes) The connector is lined with broom - both sides of the highway. dsc_0028.jpg (211973 bytes)  A clean hilltop dsc_0034.jpg (151058 bytes) South side cleaned up
dsc_0033.jpg (193817 bytes) The alders kept the broom down near the intersection with Hwy. 19A dsc_0036.jpg (124979 bytes) They also cleaned up Hwy. 19A in the area near the intersection. dsc_0037.jpg (135428 bytes)Looks like a wood pile.  Wonder how broom burns in a wood stove?
 dsc_0030.jpg (169624 bytes)  07:30 The M.O.T. crew arrive to chip the broom. dsc_0029.jpg (135145 bytes) Flaggers getting ready to route traffic. dsc_0035.jpg (126914 bytes)  Is that a fire in the chipper? Never saw one smoke like that ...