Learn about the restoration effectiveness of living shorelines

Comox Valley Nature is pleased to host a free online lecture by Jason Toft. The lecture entitled “Restoration Effectiveness of Living Shorelines in the Salish Sea.” is on Sunday January 17, 2021, 7:00 pm PST and is open to the public.

Shoreline armoring has altered many intertidal beaches. Living Shoreline techniques aim to improve shoreline conditions by re-creating some of the functions of natural shorelines. Recent design implementations include complete removal of armoring, as well as eco-engineering approaches. Learn about how ecological monitoring of these sites can inform shoreline planning now and into the future.

Jason Toft is a senior research scientist at the University of Washington School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences. Since 2000 he has focused on nearshore restoration and the effects of shoreline armoring in Puget Sound. He also studies the ecological interactions of juvenile fishes and invertebrates within estuarine systems.

Given the current situation with the Covid-19 virus, Comox Valley Nature has made arrangements to have a live, online webinar for the presentation. You will need to register in advance. Check the system requirements for attendees here.

Register here

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

This is an excellent opportunity for the public to learn more about this vital topic.

If you are new to Comox Valley Nature, find out more about us here.

Although CVN lectures are free, donations of any size ($4.00 is suggested) from non-members who attend are always appreciated.

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Christmas Bird Count – Wrap-up meetings December 15 and 20

Although Comox Valley Nature is not organizing the Christmas Bird Count this year given the recommendations of Public Health authorities, and given that our insurance does not cover any liability due to the pandemic, some birders in the Valley are independently carrying on the tradition while taking appropriate precautions (household groups, distancing, masks). The data they collect will be forwarded to Bird Studies Canada, as always.

For those birders doing the counting and for anybody else who is interested, CVN has organized two virtual follow-up meetings (to take the place of the usual pot-luck dinner) to share results and socialize. Each meeting will be in the form of a GoToMeeting webinar held using the facilities of the Canadian Society of Environmental Biologists.

To attend you need to register in advance using the links below. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

For the Deep Bay count, the wrap-up meeting will be held on December 15 at 7:00 pm.

Register for the Deep Bay webinar

For the Comox area count, the wrap-up meeting will be held on December 20 at 6:30 pm.

Register for the Comox webinar

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Toothed fungi, part 2

From an email from Jocie to the Botany Group on December 7.

Here is Alison’s 2nd instalment of the toothed fungi. [See this post for the first instalment.]

Alison’s notes

[Click a photo to enlarge it.]

Next on the list is in the Sarcodon genus, the dark brown cap with scales  of Sarcodon imbricatus looking not unlike an aging Hydnellum aurantiacum. The photos #1 & 2, showing cap and underside, were taken by Jocie in the Merville Woods at Williams Beach Road. It can also be found up in the Park (e.g. Divers Lake area). There is another similar species found locally – S. scabrosus distinguished  by darker underside and dark bluish coloration at the base of the stipe. A third species – Sarcodon fuscoindicus – is a stunning purple/dark blue, which could have been included in the “Blues and Greens” note. I found it in 2016 in the forest at Nymph Falls, but at the moment my photo is MIA, so here is a link to an image by Michael Beug in E-Flora.

Another toothed fungus that has sometimes been confused with the hydnella is the Phellodon genus which is common in the valley and up to the subalpine. Photo #3 from the Comox Lake Bluffs Ecological Reserve is Phellodon tomentosuswhich has a beige to brown centre and off-white margin on the cap, and beige on the underside. Phellodon atratus is also found here – with a dark centre and lighter margins on the cap and greyish/purplish teeth on the underside.  

Phellodon tomentosus

A quite different fungus in the tooth category is Hericium abietis (commonly known as bear’s head). It is usually found on dead conifer trunks, sometimes still standing, more often horizontal (photo #4). Its species name suggests that it is specific to true firs (Abies genus) but it can also be found on Douglas Fir – as in the photo. The cross-section on my kitchen table (photo #5) shows the spiny “teeth” more clearly – it is a choice edible (sautéed to a crisp and mixed into a garlicy hummus is my favourite.). 

One of the most intriguing fungi in the forest falls into this category, namely Auriscalpium vulgare or earpick fungus (photos #6 & 7).  Far from “common” (= vulgare) in its appearance, this tiny (5 cm high / 2 cm across the cap) fungus is often hard to find in the late fall, growing on its fir-cone on the forest floor – it blends in perfectly with the browns of dead leaves and fallen cones.

Finally a PS on the weather. It has been so mild this fall, apart from one short spell of sub-zero temps, that many shrooms are continuing to appear.   There has been a second flush of large Lobsters on our property and on December 2nd I picked some rather large, perfect chanterelles  – 15 cm in length and 12 across the cap.  This is the latest I have ever picked chanterelles in good condition, not softened by frost. This Fall has produced bumper crops of chanterelles, hedgehogs and many other species edible and otherwise. After three seasons where conditions were far from ideal (long hot summers lasting into October), this year has been optimal in terms of temperature and moisture at the right times. Fungi are highly sensitive to their environment!!!  It is a pity that this year we have not been able to conduct fungus ID sessions in the field and forest – photos are a poor second best.  Next year we hope….

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Courtenay River Airpark 2020 Report

This years 2020 Restoration Report for the Courtenay River Airpark has been posted on the Comox Valley Nature Website. It is under publications on the top bar of the page. Click on this and go to Wetland Restoration. I wish to thank all the volunteers who helped keep the project going for its 26th year.
A limited number of hard copies are also available.
Thanks once again.
Frank Hovenden

Restoration Project 2020  Courtenay River Airpark






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