The Bowen Island Conservancy has worked with the Islands Trust Fund to secure the 18 hectare Fairy Fen Nature Reserve. The Province of British Columbia recently transferred the 18-hectare parcel to the Islands Trust Fund through the provincial Free Crown Grant program. The new nature reserve protects a rare wetland ecosystem and undisturbed forested area.
What is Fairy Fen?
Fairy Fen is described by biologists as one of the most undisturbed, biologically diverse, and ecologically rare fens in southern British Columbia (a fen is a wetland fed by ground or surface water and is neutral or alkaline in its chemistry, supporting a high diversity of plant and animal species).
Fairy Fen protects unique plants, such as Labrador Tea, bog St. John’s-wort, bog cranberry, and a wide variety of sedges and mosses. Western Bluebirds use Fairy Fen as part of their migration route, Pileated Woodpeckers are often heard in the trees, and Bald Eagles frequent the skies above.
Efforts to acquire Fairy Fen began more than five years ago when the Islands Trust Fund asked the Bowen Island community to select its highest priority areas for the Free Crown Grant program. Once Fairy Fen was confirmed as the first choice, the Islands Trust Fund partnered with the Bowen Island Conservancy to satisfy the conditions of the transfer, including raising the funds needed to pay for the appraisal, land survey and management plan.
Fairy Fen will be a critical link in Bowen Island's Cove to Cape Greenway. Acquisition of the land will reduce the risk of logging and residential development around the fen, and upcoming improvements to the trail system will also reduce damage caused by unauthorized users of off-road vehicles.
24 Nov 2011: Fairy Fen Management Plan approved by ITF
The Islands Trust Fund and Bowen Island Conservancy are planning the future of the Fairy Fen Nature Reserve, and the management plan that was prepared in early 2011 has now been approved (part of the preparation process involved asking the community for input during a Public Consultation period).
Download the Management Plan (PDF, 37 MB).
17 Mar 2012: “Creating Wetlands: Primary Succession, Water Quality Changes, and Self-Design over 15 Years”
An interesting technical article on wetlands has recently been published in the journal BioScience, relevant to Fairy Fen and other wetlands, whether natural or constructed.
14 Nov 2011: Fairy Fen reveals its magic to scientists
Dr. Karen Golinski (research consultant who originally recommended that the Fen be designated an ecological reserve, and Dr. Kendrick Brown (paleoecologist at the Canadian Forest Service) visited the Fen to collect soil samples for radiocarbon dating and further investigations.