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The Brookswood Habitat Status Report

Prepared by:
Langley Environmental Partners Society
For more information contact:
Elaine Anderson, MCIP, P.Ag.
Wildlife Program Coordinator
4700 224th Street (mailing address)
Langley BC
V2Z 1N4
Volume four in a six volume series

March 2006

Project Partners
The Brookswood Habitat Status Report was made possible through generous support

In-kind support and Steering Committee representation has come from:

The Township of Langley; Wildlife Habitat Canada; Habitat Conservation Trust Fund;
BC Ministry of Environment; BC Ministry of Agriculture and Lands; Langley Field
Naturalists; Central Valley Naturalists; Community Mapping Network; Fisheries and
Oceans Canada; Environment Canada Canadian Wildlife Service; and Greater
Vancouver Regional District.
Thanks also go out to those individuals who have worked on the project and compiled
and collected the data necessary for its completion: Caroline Astley, Carla Brown, Kim
Burbidge, Ann Jackson, the Yeah Crew 2003, and Leanne Leith.

Overview 7
Goals 7
Purpose 8
Introduction 8
Wildlife Habitat Conservation Strategy 8
Township of Langley 9
Opportunities and Constraints10
Brookswood Overview11
Mapping Overview12
Habitat Requirements Principles14
Edge Habitat15
Patch Size15
Other Values Related to Wildlife Habitat Conservation17
Brookswood Habitat Analysis18
Related Research18
Land Cover of Brookswood19
Interior Habitat in Brookswood21
Corridors in Brookswood22
Figure 4 Corridors and patches in Brookswood24
Dug-out ponds24
Focal Species25
Habitat Ranking26
Region #126
Region #227
Region #328
Region #428
Identification of Sensitive Areas29
Planning for Wildlife29
Appendix I: Location of Brookswood36

These values are based on the habitat requirements of a series of focal species.
Focal species are birds, mammals, amphibians and reptiles chosen to represent
a larger groups of organisms based on their habitat requirements, ease of
monitoring, public appeal, and regional/national importance.38
Appendix III: Habitat Requirements39
Appendix IV: Forest Habitat Guidelines41
Appendix V: Wildlife Use of Various Sized Habitats44
Appendix VI: Patch Principles46
Appendix VII: Ranking System48
Appendix VIII: Observed Species in Brookswood49
Appendix IX: Focal Species List52
Appendix X: SHIM Methodology53
Appendix XI: Glossary of Terms56

This report reviews the wildlife habitat mapping conducted by the Langley
Environmental Partners Society focusing on the community of Brookswood. It is one of a
series of habitat status reports for the Township of Langley. It provides general
information on habitat requirement principles and specific information on key habitat
areas in Brookswood. This report was created to provide decision makers and community
members with information to help support wildlife habitat conservation at the local level.
There is currently a high level of connectivity in Brookswood. These connections should
be maintained and enhanced where possible. Gaps in connectivity should be identified
and restored in order to enhance wildlife habitat in Brookswood. Connectivity allows
wildlife to disperse to other areas. Wildlife may need to disperse to find food, mates, or
new territories.
The areas in this report that have been identified as high priority for conservation are
those patches with a good diversity of vegetation, large size, adjacency to agricultural
fields, location near or on streams, creeks or wetlands, presence of interior area, and
opportunities for connectivity. These areas are very valuable as wildlife habitat. In some
cases there may also be opportunities for passive recreation.
When development does occur, it is recommended that it happen with greenspace and
wildlife in mind. For example, by placing culverts under major roads, roadkill may be
lessened; by leaving wildlife trees and large patches of habitat connected with others,
there is room for species to move through an area and away from the effects of
development, and; by incorporating landscape elements such as ponds, hedgerows and
native plants, some habitat may be preserved.
1. Conserve, enhance, and restore wildlife habitat patches and corridors in both
riparian and upland areas
2. Provide multiple connections between habitat patches wherever possible
3. Integrate wildlife protection measures into Township bylaws, policies and
4. Develop an implementation program to protect wildlife habitat
5. Set wildlife habitat conservation targets. For example: increase coniferous forest
habitat in the Township of Langley to 5% of total land over by 2008.
6. Install wildlife tunnels where major roads (greater than two lanes) cross wildlife
7. Identify potential wildlife escape routes in areas that will be developed.
8. Develop in phases in order to maintain enough habitat so that wildlife can escape
developing areas.

9. Other methods of reducing wildlife stress and mortality associated with

development should be explored prior to development.

The purpose of this report is to identify key areas needing protection in the community of
Brookswood based on the habitat mapping conducted by the Langley Environmental
Partners Society (LEPS). The report is intended to provide decision makers with
information to help guide policies and programs that support wildlife habitat
conservation. It will also serve as a valuable tool for community members and
stewardship groups interested in wildlife habitat conservation.

The Brookswood Habitat Status Report is one of a series of Habitat Status Reports
produced by LEPS for the Township of Langley. This report provides an overview of the
LEPS Wildlife Habitat Conservation Strategy, methodology, mapping, list of species
observed in the Brookswood area, land cover maps, and recommendations for habitat
conservation in the community of Brookswood. The appendices provide more detailed
information on environmental features in the community of Brookswood, species found
in the community of Brookswood, and general habitat requirements.

Wildlife Habitat Conservation Strategy

In 1999, LEPS initiated an innovative habitat mapping project called the Wildlife Habitat
Conservation Strategy. It was initially funded by the Real Estate Foundation, Habitat
Conservation Trust Fund, Wildlife Habitat Canada, McLean Foundation, VanCity
Community Fund, EcoAction, and the Township of Langley. The Strategy was developed
in conjunction with a Steering Committee comprised of representatives from the
following organizations:
Langley Environmental Partners Society
Township of Langley Planning and Development, Engineering, Parks and
Environment Canada Canadian Wildlife Service
BC Ministry of Water, Land and Air Protection
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
BC Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries
Greater Vancouver Regional District
Central Valley Naturalists
Langley Field Naturalists
Habitat Canada Trust Fund (participated through correspondence)
Wildlife Habitat Canada (participated through correspondence)

This cooperative approach has been very successful and several of the project partners
are interested in developing similar strategies with other local governments.
The Wildlife Habitat Conservation Strategy recognizes that although development is
driven by demand, it does not need to be at the expense of wildlife and wildlife habitat.
Important areas of habitat can be identified before development occurs and steps can be
taken to ensure that wildlife habitat in these areas is protected. This report focuses on the
opportunities for wildlife habitat protection in and around the community of

Township of Langley
The Township of Langley has a population of approximately 100,000. The population is
estimated to grow to between 156,300 173,700 by 2031 (Township of Langley, 2006).
Urban development in the Township is focused within five key communities with the
remainder of the Township (approximately 75%) contained within the Agricultural Land
Reserve (ALR). Land within the ALR is subject to the provisions of provincial
legislation, specifically the Agricultural Land Commission Act and the Farm Practices
Protection (Right to Farm) Act. These acts limit municipal jurisdiction in the ALR
creating both opportunities and constraints for wildlife habitat conservation (Anderson,
Since land in the ALR is intended to be used primarily for agricultural purposes, the
opportunities for wildlife habitat conservation are constrained by the need to maintain
this area for agriculture. On the other hand, the agricultural area provides a wide variety
of wildlife habitat and there are opportunities to work with the farming community to
optimize the land for agriculture, while providing wildlife habitat. Since wildlife can also
have a detrimental effect on farming operations, a balance must be found to ensure that
wildlife habitat conservation does not compromise agricultural productivity (Anderson,
Similarly, in the urban areas of Langley, there are also opportunities and constraints to
wildlife habitat protection. Over 1500 hectares of land has already been set aside for
greenways, trails, or parks in Langley. These areas offer recreational opportunities for the
community as well as various forms of wildlife habitat. As development occurs in
Langley additional greenways, trails, and parks will be created. The development process
offers the opportunity to identify, conserve, and restore wildlife habitat areas. Ultimately,
protection of wildlife habitat is a shared responsibility and the sustainability of the
community requires an approach that is economically, environmentally, and socially
viable (Anderson, 2005).

The Greater Vancouver Regional District (GVRD) is currently working with its partners
(including Langley) to develop a Biodiversity Conservation Strategy in order to
understand, identify and conserve a diversity of natural habitats and life-sustaining
functions in the region. A key goal of this initiative is to provide partners and
stakeholders with information and tools to help prioritize resources and conservation
efforts, and to create regional benefits through local actions. The GVRD notes that,
collectively, urban green spaces can have a major impact on ecosystems and contribute to
biodiversity (GVRD, 2003).
The majority of habitat in the Township of Langley is classified as herbs, grasses, and
row crops (39%). Approximately half of this habitat is in the Agricultural Land Reserve
(see Table 1). The rarest forms of habitat include coniferous forest, wetlands, and shrubs.
Each of these habitat types make up just 2% of that habitat in the Township of Langley.
Table 1

Percent Habitat Types in the Township of Langley

Habitat Type
Exposed soil
Planted tree farm
Row crops
High intensity
Moderate intensity
Low intensity
Dug-out pond

2002 (ha)

% of total


Opportunities and Constraints

Although urban development is often seen as causing the demise of wildlife and wildlife
habitat, this does not have to be the case in the Township of Langley. There may be
opportunities during development to set aside wildlife corridors, natural parks, and install
wildlife tunnels under major roads. There may also be opportunities to engage more
wildlife sensitive development practices, such as staging development over a period of
time so that wildlife have a chance to escape the area that is being developed.

Similarly, the presence of a large contiguous agricultural area in the Township poses both
opportunities and constraints. These agricultural areas need to be protected for agriculture
for the benefit of farmers, the local community, and the region. The agricultural area
provides a good deal of important wildlife habitat, but since it is a working landscape the
amount and type of habitat available is, to some extent, dictated by the type of agriculture
that is practiced. For example, greenhouses may take up large areas of land, but there
may be opportunities to provide hedgerows along fence lines. Similarly, while open fields
may provide habitat for wildlife, wildlife can cause serious damage to crops. These issues
need to be considered when planning for wildlife habitat conservation.
Within these constraints lie opportunities for co-existence with wildlife. By providing
wildlife with their own places to live and feed (e.g. forests and fields) and transit routes
(e.g. corridors) to move along, we have the opportunity to enrich our entire community.
Providing natural areas for wildlife and people contributes to the social, environmental,
and economic value of Langley. The wildlife habitat mapping illustrates that there are
still some important wildlife habitat areas in the Township of Langley. There is still time
to preserve what is left and restore the fragments in between. However, we need to plan
and act now. If we allow these natural areas to be lost, we lose a part of our past and a
part of our future.

Brookswood Overview
The Brookswood/Fernridge community is located in the southwest corner of the
Township of Langley. The boundaries of this community are roughly 44 Avenue to the
north, 210 Street to the east, 196 Street (municipal boundary) to the west and 20 Avenue
to the south. The total land area for Brookswood/Fernridge is 1,345 hectares (3,324
acres), with an approximate population of 13,500.
The Brookswood/Fernridge neighbourhood contains important and scarce wildlife
habitat. It contains 37.5% of all the coniferous forest in the Township of Langley. This is
the highest percentage of coniferous forest of any of the neighbourhoods in the Township.
Only 2% of the land base in the Township of Langley is coniferous forest, making
coniferous forest one of the rarest habitat types in Langley. This neighbourhood is
expected to undergo a community plan review within the next five years to accommodate
increased urban development. There are numerous environmental concerns in this
neighbourhood including: the highly vulnerable *Brookswood aquifer, rare coniferous
forest, 122 confirmed wildlife species including 9 red or blue listed species, and habitat
connectivity to adjacent agricultural areas and municipal and regional parks.
*ranked 1A heavily developed, highly vulnerable by Kreye, Ronneseth, and Wei (BC
Ministry of Environment)

Mapping Overview
In order to ensure accuracy, a scientific method for habitat classification was selected.
The Sensitive Habitat Inventory and Mapping (SHIM) method was chosen because it is
user-friendly and it is also the same method used for the watercourse classification
mapping in the Township of Langley. This approach ensured that there would be
consistency in methods between the watercourse classification and the wildlife habitat
mapping. More detailed information on this approach can be found in Appendix X.
Information on the SHIM process is also available at
The interpretation of land use/cover was based on colour orthophotos of the Township
from 1995 at a scale of 1:5000 with a minimum polygon size of 10 m2. The mapping was
updated in the summer of 2003 using the 2002 colour orthophotos. Using SHIM, each
section of habitat was identified by drawing a polygon around it (using GIS) and
assigning a land cover class (Figure 1). Mapping of the complete land cover in the
Township of Langley was accomplished using ArcView and MapInfo. These GIS
software applications allow the user to view different classes of land cover which are then
digitized into polygons. The software also allows the user to create themed maps
representing different variables and classifications. Habitat classifications used to identify
the polygons include:
Broadleaf forest (deciduous trees including alder, cottonwood, maple etc.)
Coniferous forest (pine, spruce etc.)
Mixed forest (containing both broadleaf and coniferous species)
Planted tree farms (used for pulp production)
Row crops
Exposed soil
High intensity development (areas with over 40% impervious surfaces asphalt
and /or concrete i.e. parking lots)
Moderate intensity development (areas with between 10-40% impervious
Low intensity development (areas with < 10% impervious surfaces i.e.
subdivisions with lawns)
Herbs and grasses
Dug-out ponds (open water)
Once the polygons were identified, a confidence rank was assigned (high, medium, and
low) to identify which polygons required further investigation. Polygons surrounding
developed or developing areas which were assigned a low confidence ranking were
identified first and a crew was sent out during the summer months, when trees were in
full leaf, to ground-truth the polygons for accuracy. These results and any other

information gathered during habitat assessments were then incorporated back into the
mapping and into an Access database for analysis.

Figure 1

Sample of Digitized Polygons

Habitat Requirements Principles

This section provides an overview of some general habitat requirement principles.
Appendix IV contains the USDA guidelines for habitat features, patch size, and form.
Specific habitat requirements for Brookswood are discussed in the following section.
The greatest impact due to urbanization (including agriculture, forestry, and other
industries) on biodiversity has been the loss of habitat and fragmentation of the
landscape. Habitat fragmentation occurs when contiguous natural areas are reduced in
size and separated into discrete parcels (ELI, 2003). The smaller the habitat patch size the
greater the probability that a species will disappear because larger patches tend to have
more natural resources and healthier ecosystems. Connectivity between patches generally
improves the opportunity for species to thrive (ELI, 2003; Fleury and Brown, 1997;
GVRD, 2002).
Fragmentation represents a serious threat to wildlife, as it reduces the ability of the
wildlife to feed, breed, and disperse and can result in the loss of some species within the

area (ELI, 2003; Fleury and Brown, 1997). While most native species are likely to
diminish as a result of habitat loss and fragmentation, some species will thrive as a result
of urbanization (McKinney, 2002). In addition to loss of native flora and fauna, the
introduction of invasive species further erodes habitat value for wildlife (Cullington and
Associates, 2002; McKinney, 2002).
Edge Habitat
Habitat fragmentation also results in the creation of edges. These edges can be both
beneficial and detrimental depending on the adjacent land uses and the species present.
The greater difference in structure between the edges, the greater the impact on the
wildlife. The effect of the edge on wildlife also depends on the patch size. The smaller the
patch size the greater the edge impact on interior species. Pest and predator species often
thrive in edges that are adjacent to urban development. Urban edges also introduce
pedestrian, pet, and vehicular traffic causing some wildlife species to avoid such areas
(ELI, 2003; McKinney, 2002; Kreyling, 2001).
Riparian areas are very important to wildlife habitat because they frequently support a
high level of biodiversity (ELI, 2003; Fischer and Fischenich, 2000). Riparian buffers
provide habitat and dispersal routes for some wildlife species and are buffers are often
protected through regulatory mechanisms (ELI, 2003).
Patch Size
A patch refers to a relatively homogenous type of habitat that is spatially separated from
other similar habitat and differs from its surroundings (Forman, 1995). The amount of
habitat that needs to be protected depends on the species and local conditions. The
literature indicates patch sizes ranging from 0.0004 ha up to 220,000 ha depending on the
species in question. This wide range indicates that scientists are not able to establish a
generic patch size or habitat requirement. Habitat requirements are entirely dependent on
the target species in question (ELI, 2003).
In recognition of the unique situation of an urban environment where the majority of the
landscape is, or will be, developed, scientists recommend protection of existing habitat
and identification of areas for habitat restoration. Reducing the degree of isolation
between habitat patches by establishing wildlife corridors is identified as an important
component of species protection (ELI, 2003; Melles et al., 2003; Fleury and Brown,
1997; GVRD, 2002; McKinney, 2002). Where protection of existing habitat is not
possible, restoration and/or enhancement should be explored. The development process
offers the opportunity to set aside or restore areas that might not otherwise be protected
for wildlife. Benefits are also achieved by combining wildlife habitat protection with
passive recreational use, such as trails or picnic areas.

Wildlife corridors link existing patches of fragmented habitat by connecting bands of
native trees, grasses and shrubs. Corridors provide wildlife with access to larger total
areas of habitat. This improves the health of wildlife populations, provides conduits to
allow dispersal of individuals and their genes, inhibits the movement of some invasive
and exotic species, and may increase the biodiversity of an area. A corridor can be
defined as a linear landscape element which serves as a linkage between historically
connected habitat/natural areas,[facilitating] movement between these natural
areas (McKenzie, 1995). A discussion on the size and shape of patches and corridors can
be found in Appendix VI.
The term greenway has numerous meanings. The following definitions were approved
by the Township of Langley Mayor and Council in October 2003 (Township of Langley,
2003). These definitions make an important distinction between greenways based on their
value to humans and to wildlife.
Recreational Greenway
Primary purpose is to provide connections between amenities (e.g. parks, schools,
commercial uses) for pedestrians and cyclists
May provide wildlife habitat and a visual barrier as secondary purposes
Ecological Greenway
Primary purpose is to provide a continuous corridor of potential or existing
wildlife habitat (for small mammals, song birds and raptors) to connect wildlife
reservoirs (e.g. forests and fields)
May provide a recreational connection and a visual buffer as secondary purposes
Visual Greenway
Primary purpose is to provide a visual buffer to screen urban development
May provide a recreational connection and wildlife habitat as secondary purposes
The distinction between these greenways is important to note, since a recreational
greenway may serve the needs of humans without serving the needs of wildlife. On the
other hand, an ecological greenway respects the needs of wildlife first and humans
second. Ecological corridors should retain native vegetation and other habitat features to
provide for wildlife needs.
Fleury and Brown (1997) differentiate between corridors primarily intended for wildlife
and those intended for recreational needs: A corridor could have a social or ecological
purpose. A social corridor is primarily concerned with the recreation needs of humans,
while an ecological or wildlife conservation corridor views wildlife movement as a
priority (p. 165). These distinctions are particularly important for some very sensitive
species of wildlife, but may be less important in areas where wildlife species are more

tolerant of human interaction. LEPS wildlife data includes detailed information about the
type of habitat preferred by each species of wildlife found in the Township of Langley.
This information could be used to identify areas where shared use will pose the least
negative impact to wildlife.
Environment Canada (2004) recommends that in order to maintain biodiversity, the first
priority should be to preserve existing habitat. If this is not possible, restoration should be
based on past and present conditions. In other words, restoration should consider preEuropean settlement conditions in the context of current conditions. Environment Canada
(2004) also recommends that site preservation and restoration should take into account
attributes that would benefit species at risk.
McKinney (2002) suggests that native animal biodiversity can be increased in developed
areas by revegetation with a diversity of native plant species. Allowing for ecological
succession in these areas enhances both plant and animal diversity and tends to reduce the
prevalence of non-native species. A diverse landscape also provides benefits to the
community by helping to reduce pest species and improving the aesthetic value of the
Other Values Related to Wildlife Habitat Conservation
The values associated with protection of wildlife habitat extend beyond preservation of
individual wildlife species. Protected areas can improve aesthetic values, provide green
space for recreational activities, help moderate temperature, provide shade, decrease runoff from streets and other impermeable surfaces (ELI, 2003; GVRD, 2002; Hudson,
2000; ONeill, 2002).
Wildlife corridors can also provide economic benefits. In a recent study of the Sturgeon
Banks riparian zone (Richmond), Cougar Creek (Delta) and Kanaka Creek (Maple
Ridge), property values were assessed depending on their adjacency to greenbelts. The
values of Sturgeon Banks properties adjacent to the greenbelt were assessed at 13.5%
higher than those not adjacent to the greenbelt; the Cougar Creek properties were
assessed at 11.9% higher; and the Kanaka Creek properties at 14.5% higher (Quayle and
Hamilton, 1999).

Focal species are selected in order to simplify wildlife monitoring. The focal species
approach utilizes a set of animals that represent a certain habitat and may act as indicators
of other species presence (see Appendix IX for the focal species list for Langley). The
focal species chosen for Langley were based on the following criteria:

Representative of all habitats (open water, grass, etc.);

A provincial/national focal species;

Provincially/federally listed as at-risk;
Easily monitored;
In need of specific habitat requirements in some cases; and,
Migratory vs. resident species.

In order to determine if habitat conservation efforts are successful in Brookswood, it will

be necessary to monitor both habitats and wildlife. Monitoring is generally performed by
qualified biologists who are able to sample species, identify key species, and conduct
vegetation studies. As LEPS does not have the resources or personnel to carry out
detailed analyses, LEPS will rely on data collected through volunteer monitoring
programs. Data collected through these programs will be used to track the status of focal
species and habitats. Coupled with historical data collected for many sites around
Langley, LEPS will be able to infer the health of wildlife populations and the effects of
conservation or development.

Brookswood Habitat Analysis

The analysis for Brookswood was performed by interpreting the land cover types
identified in the digitizing process, analysing land use data where available, and assigning
a qualifier (see Appendix VII). A short description based on appearance in the aerial
photo and information gathered through ground-truthing (where available) was created
and then inserted into an information file for each polygon. The file contains such data as
vegetation species, disturbances, and changes to land cover or use. This information is
vital for determining which habitat patches are worth preserving, and which may be
restored. By knowing what types of habitat are present in a given area, and by gathering
information on species observed in the area over time, indications on the health of the
area and the richness (or poorness) of biodiversity are provided. Appendix VIII presents a
list of observed species in Brookswood.
Related Research
The Ontario Region of the Canadian Wildlife Service (CWS, 2000) has produced a
document outlining a series of guidelines for several different types of habitat. A
summary can be found in Appendices V to VII. These guidelines were developed to help
decision makers guide development and restoration projects on forest and wetland
habitats landscapes undergoing fragmentation. The guidelines are useful for establishing
a baseline of how much habitat an area should contain versus how much there is actually
present. They provide an indication of areas that should be focused on for restoration and
protection purposes. The minimums set out by the CWS represent ideals for preserving
the maximum diversity of wildlife species in terms of complete and unfragmented

Optimal habitat form and function for all habitat types are available through fact sheets
produced through the Biodiversity Conservation Strategy for the Greater Vancouver
region, and are summarized in Appendix III.

Land Cover of Brookswood

Brookswood is a unique neighbourhood in the Township of Langley because it has the
highest percentage of coniferous forest of any of the neighbourhoods in the Township.
Coniferous forest makes up only 2% of the entire Township of Langley. Most of this
coniferous forest is within the neighbourhood of Brookswood. In fact, 37.5% of the
coniferous forest in the Township of Langley is in Brookswood. This may be partly due
to the fact that the lots in Brookswood are not connected to sewer and rely on their own
private septic systems which require a minimum lot size of acre.
Coniferous trees form an almost contiguous canopy layer across most of Brookswood,
despite the presence of houses beneath the trees. Relatively large tracts of coniferous and
mixed forest also exist throughout the community. These are connected by coniferous
trees planted in backyards and along property lines. The effect is that of a large
coniferous forest in the midst of a rapidly growing community.

Brookswood is adjacent to agricultural land and close to the regional Campbell Valley
Park. As a result the Brookswood area provides one of the last vestiges of habitat for
species that use coniferous forest for some or all of their life cycle. These species, once
prevalent throughout Langley, have few places left to inhabit. The protection of forest
patches and corridors in Brookswood is of utmost importance. Without these patches and
corridors, species that were previously numerous in the area will be lost. Species such as
the Douglas squirrel and pileated woodpecker will be lost to remnant forests such as
Campbell Valley Park and may well become extirpated in the region in the near future if
the patches and corridors are lost in Brookswood.
Despite the rarity of coniferous forest in the Township of Langley and the prevalence of
coniferous forest in Brookswood, the habitat here is threatened by impending
development. Clear cuts are already occurring on the larger lots in Brookswood.

Township tree protection policies appear to have no effect on the removal of this crucial
habitat. Unless strict measures are taken against habitat destruction, the rich coniferous
habitat found in Brookswood and the multiplicity of species that currently use this habitat
will be lost forever.

Figure 2

Brookswood Land Cover by Habitat Percentage

For the whole Brookswood neighbourhood, the majority of land use/cover falls under
three categories:

Coniferous forest (37.5%)

Dug out pond (29.5%)

Moderate intensity (12.5%)

These three categories account for 79.5% of land use in the neighbourhood.

Interior Habitat in Brookswood

Edge is defined as the part of the forest 0-100 metres in from the physical edge of the
patch. Interior is 100-200 metres from the edge and deep interior is 200 metres or more
from the edge of the patch (CWS, 2000). Most of the forest cover in Brookswood is
fragmented by urban development and roads. However, there may be some habitat that
functions as interior habitat despite the presence of fragmentation, such as riparian areas
in Anderson Creek.

Figure 3

Illustration of Edge Habitat

The inside rings represent habitat approximately 100 m from the edge of the patch, the
dots on the inside represent habitat approximately 200 m from the edge, and the outside
rings represent the approximate edge of the patch.

Corridors in Brookswood
The CWS recommends wildlife travel corridors be a minimum of 100 m wide. In
Brookswood, this may not be feasible, therefore a goal of 30 100 m should be set by
municipal planners in order to provide sufficient travel habitat for a variety of species.
The lower end of this scale, 30 m, should be the absolute minimum width for a wildlife
corridor. Although some species will use this width of corridor, it should be noted that
this size will support the lowest diversity of wildlife species.
In designing wildlife corridors, it is important to know which species may be using them,
where the important habitat areas are located, if they were once linked and what is the
best way to link them. The primary goal of the corridor, to allow movement from one

area to another, is best achieved when there is an abundance of interior habitat within the
corridor itself. By making the corridors as wide as possible, the amount of edge habitat is
lessened, and wildlife will flow more freely through them.
The figure below illustrates (shown in green) where corridors and patches currently exist.
The blue line indicates the Brookswood neighbourhood boundary. It is easy to see how
important existing corridors are to wildlife movement through the neighbourhood.
Further fragmentation of these corridors and patches is likely to have devastating effects
on native wildlife.

Figure 4

Corridors and patches in Brookswood

Dug-out ponds
Dug-out ponds are ponds that have been excavated or maintained. They are mostly
cleared of vegetation and may be under sudden human induced water fluctuations. They
comprise almost one-third of the habitat in Brookswood. Although these dug-out ponds
are man made and generally do not have the diversity of a natural wetland, they do
support many species of migratory and resident birds. Enhancement and restoration
would make these dug-out ponds even more wetland-like and improve the biodiversity
of the area.

A healthy wetland is important for water quality. They purify surface water by breaking
down, trapping or removing nutrients, agricultural run-off and organic waste. They
recharge groundwater supplies by soaking up surface water and allowing it to seep back
into the soil, and they reduce the severity of floods by retaining water and releasing it
slowly (Ducks Unlimited Canada, 2004).
Wetlands also play a role in mosquito control. The mosquito thought to be most
responsible for transmitting West Nile virus, the Culex mosquito, is not found in
wetlands, but primarily in close association with humans. This species breeds mostly in
standing water such as in barrels, drains and catch basins (Ducks Unlimited Canada,
2004). Sources of standing water in urban areas are generally not beneficial wildlife
habitat, so mosquito populations can reproduce unchecked (IWCP, 2004). In a healthy
wetland, several species of birds, mammals and insects live in the wetland and are natural
mosquito predators (IWCP, 2004).
The CWS guidelines state that wetlands that are round or square are the best candidates
for rehabilitation and preservation. One method to preserve and protect both dug-out
ponds and wetlands is by ensuring that a naturally vegetated buffer of at least 30 m
surrounds the body of water. This can be in the form of grass, shrubs and/or trees and
should be allowed to mature naturally to allow features beneficial to wildlife to occur.
Other methods include the control and restriction of pesticide and fertilizer use in
adjacent fields, restriction of livestock access, and invasive species control.

Focal Species

Douglas Squirrel Tamiasciurus douglasii

The Douglas Squirrel, while not red- or blue-listed, is declining in urban environments
due to loss and fragmentation of habitat. The Douglas squirrel can still be found in
Brookswood, although it is likely that with further development, this charming fellow
will be locally extirpated.
These squirrels should not be confused with the larger Eastern grey squirrels. The grey
squirrel (which can be either black or grey in colour) are not native to British Columbia

and are considered to be an invasive species here. The grey squirrel population has
exploded over the past ten years as the Lower Mainland has developed. The Eastern Grey
Squirrel adapts easily to fragmented landscapes, doing well in urban environments. In
fact, locally they are a good indicator of a degraded natural landscape. The Douglas
squirrel, on the other hand, is a good indicator that sufficient contiguous coniferous forest
exists to support this species and other species that require coniferous forest habitat.

Habitat Ranking
The ranking process uses six categories: size, forest diversity, proximity to watercourses
(riparian), adjacency, forest interior, and connectivity. Based on a numerical score
obtained through the system outlined in Appendix VII, four regions in Brookswood have
been identified as important for preservation. Zones that contain coniferous trees in any
large amount are especially important as these represent the original climax forest of the

Region #1
Location Anderson Creek
Description The riparian area adjacent to Anderson Creek has steep ravines with a
good deal of native vegetation including Douglas fir trees, Western red cedar, and a
variety of ferns. Some of the ravine is prone to erosion due to the proximity of trails and
houses, tree removal, and natural processes. This area is important for birds, terrestrial
wildlife, and fish (including salmon). The large trees provide shade to the creek which
benefits spawning salmon. The riparian corridor provides a contiguous travel route for
terrestrial wildlife and stopover points for birds. The trees also help to keep the steep
banks from eroding. Much of this region is already protected by the Fisheries Act.
However, there are opportunities to connect this riparian corridor to upland corridors and
existing patches of forest.
Importance in Brookswood This region is very important for ecosystem integrity in
Brookswood. It offers a variety of rich contiguous habitat.
Importance in Langley As Anderson Creek is part of the Nicomekl Watershed, this
region is very important to the Township of Langley. By maintaining this region in as
natural a state as possible, the water running in the creek will be more likely to support
salmon and other aquatic species.
Recommendations This region should be preserved in as natural a state as possible,
restored where necessary, and connected to ecological corridors and patches throughout
the community.

Figure 5

Key Habitat Areas in Brookswood

Region #2
Location South of 32nd Avenue; along Surrey border; east of 196th Street; west of 204th
Description This region contains important patches of coniferous forest. Although the
habitat is fragmented, it is in close proximity to Region 1 and may provide connectivity
to the south towards Campbell Valley Park and to east towards Rees and Sunrise Lakes.
Importance in Langley This region contains a good deal of coniferous forest.
Coniferous forest is one of the least common habitats in the Township of Langley,
although historically it would have made up a substantial portion of Langley.
Consequently this region represents some of the last coniferous forest in Langley.

Recommendations The patches within this region should be retained and connections
between the patches and other regions should be enhanced to allow movement for a wide
variety of species.

Region #3
Location Located south of 28th Avenue; east of 196th Street; west of 204th Street
Description This region contains patches of mixed forest and coniferous forest.
Although fragmented, these patches are close enough together to offer good connectivity.
There is also a small wetland adjacent to broadleaf forest.
Importance in Brookswood The variety and continuity of habitat in this region along
with its adjacency to other important habitat areas make this region a valuable asset to
Importance in Langley This region is important to the Township of Langley because it
provides a variety of fairly contiguous habitat. This will provide travel corridors for a
wide range of wildlife species to feed, breed, and disperse.
Recommendations Ensure that the wetland is protected and that connectivity is
maintained or enhanced through this region and into adjacent regions.
Region #4
Location South of 36th Avenue; north of 28th Avenue; east of 204th Street; west of 216th
Description This region includes Rees Lake, Sunrise Lake, and two medium sized
wetlands. These lakes and wetlands provide habitat for a wide variety of wildlife species.
The region also contains numerous broadleaf and mixed forest patches.
Importance in Brookswood The forested patches provide connectivity to the lakes and
wetlands in this region, regions 2 and 3, as well as to the agricultural areas outside the
Importance in Langley There are relatively few lakes in the Township of Langley.
This region contains two large lakes connected to a variety of forest patches throughout
Brookswood. This region offers great potential for contributing to biodiversity in the
Recommendations Enhance Rees and Sunrise Lakes to improve habitat for wildlife.
Encourage landowners along the lakes to provide habitat for wildlife. Maintain
connections between forested patches, to regions 2 and 3, and to adjacent agricultural
land. Establish connections to Region 1 to provide additional routes for wildlife dispersal.

Identification of Sensitive Areas
It is vital that the areas identified as important or sensitive in this analysis be explicitly
recognized and protected in Township policies and programs. Tools for protection include
conservation covenants, community stewardship, development permit areas, and
municipal acquisition. The areas that have been identified in this report as high priority
for preservation are those patches with a good diversity of vegetation, large patch size,
adjacency to agricultural fields, proximity to streams, creeks or wetlands, presence of
interior area, and connectivity. These areas are very valuable as wildlife habitat. In some
areas there may also be opportunities for passive recreation.
There is currently a high level of connectivity in Brookswood due to Anderson Creek,
large lots, and lines of coniferous trees along roads and private properties. These
connections should be maintained and enhanced where possible. Gaps in connectivity
should be identified and restored in order to enhance wildlife habitat in Brookswood.
Connectivity allows wildlife to disperse to other areas. Wildlife may need to disperse to
escape habitat destruction, find food, mates, or establish new territories. Dispersal also
allows populations to intermingle and reduces the likelihood of inbreeding (which
reduces wildlife diversity and viability).
Planning for Wildlife
When development does occur, it is recommended that it happen with greenspace and
wildlife in mind. For example, by placing culverts under major roads, roadkill may be
lessened; by leaving wildlife trees and large patches of habitat connected with others,
there is room for species to move through an area and away from the effects of
development, and; by incorporating landscape elements such as ponds, hedgerows and
native plants, some habitat may be preserved.
1. Conserve, enhance, and restore wildlife habitat patches and corridors in both
riparian and upland areas
2. Provide multiple connections between habitat patches wherever possible
3. Integrate wildlife protection measures into Township bylaws, policies, and
4. Develop a municipal implementation program to protect wildlife habitat
5. Set wildlife habitat conservation targets. For example: increase coniferous forest
in the Township of Langley to 5% by 2008.
6. Install wildlife tunnels where major roads (greater than two lanes) cross wildlife

7. Identify potential wildlife escape routes in areas that will be developed.

8. Develop in phases in order to maintain enough habitat so that wildlife can escape
developing areas.
9. Other methods of reducing wildlife stress and mortality associated with
development should be explored prior to development.

This report has identified some of the threats to wildlife habitat, identified important
wildlife habitat areas, and offered suggestions on protection of those areas. Each day
more wildlife habitat is lost to development. A holistic approach to wildlife habitat
conservation must be taken. Currently, there is little legislation in place to protect
terrestrial ecosystems and wetlands on private lands, and the responsibility lies primarily
with municipalities to protect their own resources. The LEPS Wildlife Habitat
Conservation Strategy mapping has identified that there are still some important pieces of
habitat left in Langley. However, it will take a concerted approach with municipal staff,
developers, LEPS, and community members working together to determine how to best
protect wildlife habitat in the Township of Langley.
Table 2 summarizes the issues and visions developed by LEPS in consultation with
Township of Langley municipal staff. It is a simple recipe card of information that
decision-makers can refer to when developing policies and programs.
Table 2
Issues and Opportunities
Fragmentation of upland habitat
Protect and enhance urban forest and upland
Loss of dispersal habitat for wildlife
Connect or maintain connections between
resulting in human-wildlife conflicts and forested patches in urban areas
wildlife sinks
Loss of biodiversity in urban areas and
Maintain and enhance biodiversity in urban
problem wildlife
areas by using native plants in parks,
greenways, and development sites
Degradation of aquatic and riparian
Protect and enhance streamside and aquatic
Loss and degradation of wetlands
Protect and restore wetlands
Wildlife mortality on roads and removal of Incorporate wildlife values into new
important habitat
developments and construction projects
Little known about wildlife use of habitats Monitor wildlife populations and habitats over
and/or occurrences of wildlife
the long term
Lack of knowledge in general public
Provide education materials to the general
public regarding stewardship and wildlife

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Accessed February, 2003.
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Conservation Corridors with Specific Application to Southwestern Ontario. Landscape
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University Press, Cambridge:USA.
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Appendix I: Location of Brookswood

Appendix II: Optimal Form and Function

These values represent the optimal form and function of habitat required by species in the Township of
Langley. They are based on the requirements of focal species (Appendix XI) identified through the Wildlife
Habitat Conservation Strategy and are meant to act as general guidelines.
At least 1400 ha in size or smaller wetlands (> 0.5 ha) that are well
connected and within 200 m of each other
Dense emergent vegetation > 2 m tall
50:50 emergent vegetation:open water ratio
Permanent or long-lasting water 0.5 2 m deep with a sediment bottom
Coarse woody debris
Mudflats or flooded areas
Surrounding forests or grasslands 2500 ha in size
Close to forests or agricultural fields
Canopy closure 30 75%
Shrub cover 50 100%
Old field (lightly grazed land, fallow fields) > 50 ha
Close to or surrounding large woodlots > 120 ha
Adjacent to wetlands that are > 2 ha
Native grasses 25 30 cm tall
Large farm fields with water sources within 100 m
Grain fields are best
Leafy cover crops are also beneficial
Scattered buildings
Corridors on either side of streams should be at least 30 m wide
Upland stands 300 1000 ha
Coarse woody debris, snags and litter on forest floor
Wildlife corridors minimum 30 m wide to > 100 m wide
Groves of alder and willow that are > 0.4 ha
Trees > 30 years old
Deciduous forest
Canopy cover 50 70 %
Some openings in the canopy
Adjacent to wet meadows, wetlands, grassy areas etc.
A variety of species and various aged trees
Some trees > 15 cm in diameter
Upland forests 300 ha in size
30 m wide riparian corridors on either side of stream
Trees > 100 years old
Coniferous forest
Open space and a moist environment
Snags and coarse woody debris on forest floor
Some trees > 15 cm in diameter
Contain elements of above deciduous and coniferous forest with a mix of
Mixed forest
both coniferous and deciduous trees of varying ages and sizes
Patches of shrubs 20 ha in size
Shrubby openings close to bare ground or old field with tall trees nearby
Shrubs must be dense enough to conceal nests
Must have water nearby
Patchily distributed shrubs
Riparian shrubs also require open water and dense alder and willow thickets
in association
Buildings, bridges and roadsides for nesting and roosting
High Intensity
Sites close to water and alternate nesting (i.e. forests)
Bird and bat boxes made available

Moderate Intensity and

Low Intensity


Open water

Some areas 300 ha or larger (i.e. parks)

Backyards and gardens with native plants and fruit or nut bearing species
Feeders and boxes available
Adjacent to natural habitat i.e. farmland, parks or wetlands
Parks etc. should be equipped with ponds where possible and the use of
pesticides and fertilizers should be discouraged
Clean, clear open water < 2 m deep
Coarse woody debris and shorelines
100 ha in size where possible or in close proximity
Emergent vegetation:water ratio should be 50:50
Adjacent to forest, grass or herbaceous habitats
Buffer strip of habitat 15 150 m wide between open water and any

These values are based on the habitat requirements of a series of focal species. Focal species
are birds, mammals, amphibians and reptiles chosen to represent a larger groups of organisms
based on their habitat requirements, ease of monitoring, public appeal, and regional/national

Appendix III: Habitat Requirements

Important habitat features:
Composition of habitat relates to the number and variety of tree and plant species present, the ages of the
trees and plants, and the number of forest characteristics (downed wood, snags etc.) that make up the patch.
In general, the more diverse a patch is the better the habitat contained within it, and the more likely it will
be home to native species and other species dependent on forest characteristics.
Size of habitat is relatively easy to determine when examining forest patches. The larger the patch, the more
interior there will be and the greater chance there will be interior dependent forest species present. As these
species are some of the most sensitive to disturbance and forest loss, this indicator works well when
assigning a higher rank to a large patch.
Adjacency relates to the habitat located beside, or in proximity to the forest patch. This could include
agricultural land, shrubs, low intensity development, open water or wetlands. Depending on the species,
farm fields can be very important when located beside a forest patch, and low intensity development may
provide foraging habitat while the adjacent forest provides shelter and roosting sites.
Connectivity or potential for connectivity are also important aspects of habitat. Connected patches provide
good habitat as they allow for wildlife population to flow from one area to another (see section 3.2 for a
discussion on corridors). Potential for connectivity can be viewed as corridors that once existed between
two disconnected patches, or as large patches that through constant disturbance have been reduced to small,
disjunct patches. Connected patches are a high priority for preservation, and potentially connected patches
are high priority for reconnection through restoration work.
Sensitivity plays an important role in habitat analysis as well. If an area has a wetland, or is a good patch of
forest with deep interior, the area will be classified as sensitive. Escarpments, ravines and other
geographical features can also be classified as sensitive due to their unique geological characteristics. In
addition to physical features, the presence of rare plant and animal species are key indicators for classifying
an area as sensitive.

Human Impacts
Human impacts can also play an important role in the analysing features of wildlife habitat. Roads create
their own hazards to wildlife through roadkill, dust, noise and toxins (i.e. road salt). The effects of road
noise and pollution can be measured up to 100m into a forested area from the road edge (Underhill and
Angold, 2000) and can negatively impact songbirds, amphibians and small mammals. Therefore it can be
assumed that if a road fragments a forested area, the habitat value in that patch would be lower than if it
were a complete, uninterrupted patch.
Trails running through a patch create more opportunities for humans to gain access to the area. The effects
on wildlife may include: abandonment of nest or roosts due to flushing; injury or death by domestic
animals; pollution through litter and increased run-off from paved trails; soil compaction; and destruction
of vegetation. Well managed trails can have less impact as they may incorporate porous paving materials,
fencing and dogs-on-leash areas, which help reduce disturbances to wildlife.

Appendix IV: Forest Habitat Guidelines

Summary of Canadian Wildlife Service Ontarios Forest Habitat Guidelines:


% of forest cover

Minimum 30% of a watershed should be in forest cover

Size of largest forest patch

% of watershed that is interior
forest (100 m and 200 m from

At least one 2 km2 forest patch which is a minimum 500 m wide

Forest shape and proximity

Patches should be square or round to maximize interior area and be in

close proximity, within 2 km, to adjacent patches.

Fragmented landscapes and


Corridors for wildlife movement should be a minimum of 100 m wide

Forest quality

Watershed forest cover should be representative of the full diversity of

species composition and age structure found in the ecoregion

Greater than 10% forest cover 100 m from edge, greater than 5% forest
cover 200 m from edge

Percentage of forest cover: for these guidelines, a 2 km2 patch is considered to be an absolute minimum to
allow for interior forest area, although the probability of detecting true forest interior species in a patch of
this size may be as low as 20-30% (CWS, 2000). As the amount of available forest declines, so does the
number of forest-dependent species, including birds, mammals, amphibians and reptiles. The most affected
species are forest-dependent birds; therefore they are the best indicators of habitat quality. Many birds have
very specific habitat requirements and if these are not met, the species will not populate the area in
question. The disappearance of a bird species from an area is a good indication of habitat loss. Some of the
most stringent birds in terms of interior forest habitat needs include the pileated woodpecker, the brown
creeper and the red-breasted nuthatch.
It is important to note that although we recognize a corridor as a connection between patches, most species
do not see it as such. They will see a corridor as a continuation of desirable habitat and once they have
entered it, their movement is channelled and restricted, and they will naturally move into the next patch.
Due to this restricted movement, it is important to retain the integrity of the corridor otherwise its purpose
is lost.
In the following diagram, patches of habitat are connected with corridors. The diagram on the left shows a
thin corridor with very little interior area. This type would encourage the passage of edge species only, and
interior dependent species would remain stranded within the habitat patches. The picture on the right shows
a corridor with a good amount of interior area allowing for the dispersal and migration of a great many
species. As well, the buffer zone surrounding the corridor and the exterior areas of the corridor and patches
can be used to include low intensity recreation (i.e. hiking, etc.), development and/or agriculture. Buffer
zones can also be managed also for desirable edge species.

(Adapted from: USDA, 1999)

Corridors for wildlife can also be found in the form of riparian corridors, grassed fence lines where the
grass is not mown, hedgerows, and connected agricultural fields. Unfragmented corridors are the ideal,
however backyards and gardens may also serve as stepping stones or corridors if they contain native
species and are located in close proximity to each other.
When designing corridors and patches it is important to incorporate human activities. Trails are important
as they provide access for the public, but they can also be highly disruptive to wildlife. Informal trails in the
form of bike, horse and foot paths through the underbrush can cause a great deal of damage by trampling
plants and encouraging the growth of invasive plant species. Dogs running off leash disturb birds and small
mammals. One method for minimizing wildlife disturbance is to create formal trails along the outside of the
corridor or patch in the buffer area and to concentrate human activities there. Fencing can exclude dogs and
bikes, and can be used to erect signage. By limiting the amount of human activity in the middle of these
areas, they are able to regenerate and age naturally. Sensitive and shy species are not exposed to
disturbances and have a better chance of reproducing successfully.
An alternative to corridors is providing a network of small forest patches that can be used as stepping
stones to help preserve populations, but these would have to be managed as a whole and protected from
removal to maintain their benefits (McKenzie, 1995).
The best interior habitats are found in patches that are square or round. The amount of interior habitat is
maximized in these shapes, while an irregular-shaped patch has less viable habitat to be used and is
generally more edge than interior in composition.

Appendix V: Wildlife Use of Various Sized Habitats

Although having suitable sized patches alone may be suitable for some species, it is important to have
connections through wildlife corridors as discussed in the previous sections. Many species need to disperse
and establish territories once they have left the nest/den, others have large ranges where they feed, and
corridors connecting patches of suitable size help preserve a network of habitat that some native wildlife
require. The following table from CWS gives a good indication of how wildlife use different patch sizes of
habitat and which species may be found:
Patch Size (ha)








Common mammals grey squirrel, A wide variety of generalist species

common birds American crow, a none of which are dependent on
few forest birds black-capped
chickadee, western wood -pewee
A few common edge birds downy Some common grassland species
woodpecker, brown-headed
may be present meadow vole,
cowbird, some mammals may be short-tailed shrew
present - chipmunks
Still dominated by edge species,
may have very small areas of edge Some common grassland birds
habitat hairy woodpecker, may be savannah sparrow, Western
large enough to support some
species of salamander
Very small populations of interior
species winter wren, brown
Most grassland mammals and a
creeper. Area sensitive species may few more birds
be present
Still mostly edge but will support
small populations of most birds More bird species Northern
warblers, flycatchers except those harrier, short-eared owl
with very large home ranges
All forest-dependent bird species,
many still with low numbers and Grassland-dependent species
may be absent if there is no
suitable habitat nearby
Suitable for almost all forest birds,
some forest-dependent mammals Almost all grassland species
present but most still absent

These guidelines provide a good framework for the amount of habitat that should be preserved if it still
exists in a patch. According to the CWS information, in terms of forest rehabilitation guidelines, a 200 ha
patch will support 80% of forest interior birds species; a 100 ha patch will support 60% of forest interior
bird species; a patch 50-75 ha in size will support some interior bird species but several will be absent and
edge species will dominate; a patch 30-50 ha in size may support only a few interior bird species; and a
patch less than 20 ha will support only those species which use edge and interior habitats (CWS, 2000). The
information presented here represents patches that would be found in a fragmented urban landscape. In the
interest of biodiversity, bigger is definitely better. With a larger forest patch, edge effects are lessened and
interior forest dependant birds will be more successful. As edge increases, nest predation and the
occurrences of invasive species increases. The more suitable habitat there is, the richer the diversity of

species that will use it and the more complete the ecosystem. Deep interior and interior areas are only found
in those patches of forest large enough to support a good diversity of species. These numbers are meant to
be used as guidelines only, and it is unlikely that the results predicted here would prove true in all

Appendix VI: Patch Principles

The following principles serve as a general summary to guide the restoration and preservation of important
habitat patches (USDA, 1999):

Connected patches are better than separated patches. They increase habitat by providing wildlife
access to larger total areas of habitat which in turn increases the success of populations. They also
provide safe access to a variety of habitats throughout a species home range. Connected patches
allow for dispersal and migration of wildlife as well as seeds and spores of various native plant
species. Corridors and their connections may also prevent the movement of undesirable exotic
species by blocking the movement of the wind and improving the landscape to better suit native
Where possible, it is recommended that corridors be placed in areas of historic connection, as
animals are more likely to use them. If this is not possible, connections can be made in new areas,
but their use must be studied. In some cases, isolated populations can develop unique genetic
specializations, which could be lost if unique populations are allowed to interact with other


Continuous corridors are better than fragmented corridors. Gaps in a corridor interrupt the
movement of species through it. This is devastating especially for interior dependent species. The
ability of a species to cross a gap depends on its speed, its tolerance for edge conditions, the length
of the gap, and the contrast between the gap and the corridor habitat. The presence of a road or
other hazard will also determine the success of a species crossing that gap. Gaps allow for the
movement of undesirable species through creation of edges and facilitate movement across the
corridor which creates disturbed areas. Exotic species thrive in these disturbed areas.


Wider corridors are better than narrow corridors. Corridors at the regional or watershed level
generally act as transitional habitat for species moving through them. The longer this takes, the
more important the habitat function becomes. A wider corridor will have less edge and more
interior effectively increasing the number of species able to use it.


Multiple corridor connections between patches are better than one. This is especially important at
a small scale. If there are multiple paths for an animal to take, then it is more likely to use them
and complete the journey from one patch to another. It is usually by chance that a species makes it
from one patch to another. By increasing the numbers of connections, the chance that the journey
is completed successfully is increased as well.
The placement of multiple corridors and small, closely located patches of habitat between larger
patches creates additional escape and dispersal routes for wildlife. If a corridor is lost through
development, disaster etc., then there is still connectivity between patches.


Structurally diverse patches and corridors are better than simple ones. Diversity in this case refers
to both the different vertical layers of a patch, as well as the number and types of plant species
occurring there. Vertical layers are the amount of litter on the ground, the amount and types of
herbs and grasses, the cover provided by shrubs and small trees, different aged (and sized) trees
and shrubs, and finally the amount of canopy cover provided by trees. A variety of heights it
importance as it allows the best cover at all levels. Each layer may provide different food, cover
and nesting requirements for a variety of species. Horizontal layers include the adjacency of fields,
wetlands and other forested areas to the patch and/or corridor in question. If there are a variety of
habitats in proximity to the corridor and habitat patches, then the overall quality of the corridor is
Diversity surrounding the corridor is also important. Within the corridor, a diverse number of
native species of trees and shrubs should be used, including fruit and nut-bearing species. The area
surrounding the corridor should have transition zones of grasses or shrubs, and should be located
adjacent to various habitats such as pastures, wetlands, old field etc. Encroachment of invasive
species can be avoided. A source of fruits and nuts for consumption is available for both the
wildlife and property owner.

The guidelines for the composition of a hedgerow include:
At least two rows of woody plantings;
25% of the trees and shrubs should be evergreen for year-round cover; and
A strip 3 m (10 ft) wide on either side planted with grasses or native plants (USDA, 1999).
Hedgerows (large, long stands of trees, shrubs and plants which act as a barrier) have many benefits to the
land owner. They create a windbreak for homesteads and fields, known as shelterbelts. Shelterbelts have
been proven to reduce the wind velocity on the lee side by 8 to 10 times which may help control soil
erosion. They act as traps for snow which in turn increases the amount of moisture available for the land.
They also act as fruit and berry producing areas on the landscape, and as living fences preventing
movement of invasive species, pests and other unwanted organisms.

Appendix VII: Ranking System

(Adapted from Brophy, 1999)

< 1ha

1 5 ha

5 10 ha

10 20 ha

Monoculture or

Forest Diversity

single aged

Some diversity



To high intensity

Forest Interior

None (edge)





To moderate
Some interior
In proximity (<
2 km)


> 20 ha
Structurally &

Compositionally diverse

To wetland/riparian,

To low intensity

To intensely used


agricultural land

Good interior

Some deep interior

shrubs, fields etc.

Deep interior

Well connected

Part of large forest >

(> 2 connections)

20 ha

connected (1 - 2

low intensity ag.,


Based on this system, excellent habitat would score 26 or 27 points (depending on adjacency) while poor
habitat would score 6. This ranking system is somewhat subjective, but gives some indication of areas of
importance. Ranking was also based on whether the site was a candidate for preservation and/or restoration.
Sites of high diversity, interior and adjacency are ranked medium, high or top for preservation, while sites
that are less suitable for habitat but have potential for wildlife habitat are ranked medium, high or top
priority for restoration.
Top sites for preservation are considered the best in habitat quality and of need of measures to protect them.
High sites are of very good habitat quality and should be considered for protection, and medium sites are of
good habitat quality and would benefit from protection.
Top sites for restoration are areas that may be connected to other sites of excellent habitat quality or may be
improved through easy measures to enhance their overall quality. High sites are in need of some restoration,
but may be expensive or of little value, medium sites may be areas of good habitat quality that are located
close to a road or other unsuitable habitat and would benefit from buffers, corridors or other habitat
enhancement, but may not retain good diversity or habitat.

Appendix VIII: Observed Species in Brookswood

Common loon* (rare)
Pied-billed grebe*
Horned grebe*
Red-necked grebe*
Western grebe* (rare)
Great blue heron
Green heron*
Black-crowned nightheron*
Canada goose
Wood duck
Green-winged teal*
Northern pintail*
Blue-winged teal*
Cinnamon teal*
Northern shoveler
American wigeon
Ring-necked duck*
Greater scaup*
Lesser scaup*
Common goldeneye*
Barrows goldeneye*
Hooded merganser*
Common merganser*
Red-breasted merganser*
Bald eagle*
Northern harrier
Sharp-shinned hawk
Coopers hawk
Northern goshawk*
Red-tailed hawk
Rough-legged hawk*
American kestrel
Peregrine falcon*
Ring-necked pheasant
Ruffed grouse*
American coot
Greater yellowlegs*
Lesser yellowlegs*
Western sandpiper*
Short-billed dowitcher
Common snipe
Wilsons phalarope*
Mew gull
Ring-billed gull
Glaucous-winged gull
Rock dove
Band-tailed pigeon*

Mourning dove
Common barn owl*
Western screech-owl*
Great horned owl*
Northern pygmy-owl*
Barred owl*
Long-eared owl*
Northern saw-whet owl*
Common nighthawk*
Black swift*
Vauxs swift
Annas hummingbird*
Rufous hummingbird
Red-breasted sapsucker
Downy woodpecker
Hairy woodpecker
Northern flicker
Pileated woodpecker
Olive-sided flycatcher
Western wood-pewee
Willow flycatcher
Hammonds flycatcher
Pacific-slope flycatcher
Western kingbird
Tree swallow
Violet-green swallow
Northern rough-winged
Cliff swallow*
Barn swallow
Stellers jay
Northwestern crow
Common raven*
Black-capped chickadee
Chestnut-backed chickadee
Red-breasted nuthatch
Brown creeper
Bewicks wren
House wren
Winter wren
Marsh wren*
American dipper*
Golden-crowned kinglet
Ruby-crowned kinglet
Townsends solitaire*
Swainsons thrush
Hermit thrush*
American robin
Varied thrush
American pipit*
Bohemian waxwing*
Cedar waxwing
European starling
Huttons vireo*

Warbling vireo
Red-eyed vireo
Orange-crowned warbler*
Yellow warbler
Yellow-rumped warbler*
Black-throated grey warbler
Townsends warbler*
MacGillivrays warbler
Common yellowthroat
Wilsons warbler
Yellow-breasted chat*
Western tanager
Black-headed grosbeak
Lazuli bunting*
Spotted towhee
Chipping sparrow
Fox sparrow*
Song sparrow
Lincolns sparrow
Golden-crowned sparrow*
White-crowned sparrow
Dark-eyed junco
Red-winged blackbird
Yellow-headed blackbird*
Brewers blackbird
Brown-headed cowbird
Baltimore oriole* (rare)
Bullocks oriole*
Purple finch
House finch
Red crossbill*
White-winged crossbill*
Pine siskin
American goldfinch
Evening grosbeak
House sparrow
North American opossum
Common (masked) shrew
Common water shrew
Dusky shrew
Trowbridges shrew
Vagrant shrew
Coast mole
California myotis*
Long-eared myotis*
Little brown myotis
Long-legged myotis*
Yuma myotis*
Hoary bat*
Silver-haired bat
Big brown bat
Townsends big-eared bat*

Eastern cottontail
Snowshoe hare*
Yellow-pine chipmunk*
Townsends chipmunk
Eastern grey squirrel
Douglas squirrel
Northern flying squirrel
Deer mouse
Bushy-tailed woodrat
Southern red-backed vole
Long-tailed vole
Creeping vole
Townsends vole
Norway rat
Black rat
House mouse
Pacific jumping mouse
Ermine (short-tailed weasel)
Long-tailed weasel*
Western spotted skunk*
Striped skunk
Mule deer
Long-toed salamander
Northwestern salamander
Western red-backed
Rough-skinned newt
Green frog*
Pacific tree frog
Red-legged frog*
Western toad*
Common garter snake
Western terrestrial garter
Northwestern garter snake
Northern alligator lizard
Rubber boa*
Painted turtle*
* denotes transitory species
or those rarely seen.


Appendix IX: Focal Species List

Open Water
Painted turtle
Hooded merganser
American coot
Townsends big-eared bat

Unaffiliated or Special
Belted kingfisher
American dipper
Common snipe

Long-toed salamander
Green-winged teal
Blue-winged teal
Marsh wren
Rough-skinned newt
Common yellowthroat
Wood duck

Young Coniferous,
Deciduous, and Mixed
Townsends chipmunk
Douglas squirrel
Yellow warbler
Willow flycatcher
Pine siskin
Downy woodpecker

Riparian Coniferous and

Riparian Mixed Forest
Pacific-slope flycatcher
Western screech-owl
Band-tailed pigeon
Mature Coniferous Forest
Pileated woodpecker
Northern flying squirrel
Brown creeper
Red-breasted nuthatch
Douglas squirrel
Olive-sided flycatcher
Winter wren
Mature Mixed and
Deciduous Forest
Great horned owl
Northern saw-whet owl
Western wood pewee
Western red-backed
Western tanager
Coopers hawk
Riparian Deciduous
Great blue heron
Willow flycatcher
Warbling vireo
Bullocks oriole
Riparian Shrubs
River otter
Western terrestrial garter
Virginia rail
Yellow warbler
Wilsons warbler
Green heron

American goldfinch
Western meadowlark
Grass- Improved Pasture,
Unimproved Pasture, Old
Field, Passive Recreation,
and Active Recreation
American goldfinch
Sandhill crane
Northern harrier
Red-tailed hawk
Barn swallow
Townsends vole
Savannah sparrow
Barn owl
Short-eared owl
Farm Fields
Common snipe
Trumpeter swan
Tundra swan
Northern pintail
Mourning dove

Cedar waxwing
Pacific tree frog
Barn swallow
Bewicks wren
House finch
Song sparrow
Northern flicker
At-Risk Species
Oregon spotted frog
Pacific water shrew
Red-legged frog
Painted turtle
Western grebe
American bittern
Sandhill crane
Green heron
California gull
Short-eared owl
Band-tailed pigeon
Snowshoe hare (esp.
Southern red-backed vole
(esp. ssp.)
Long-tailed weasel (esp. ssp)
Peregrine falcon (esp. ssp)
Townsends mole
Trowbridges shrew
Townsends big-eared bat
Keens long-eared myotis
Lewis woodpecker
Western meadowlark
Great blue heron
Trumpeter swan
Short-billed dowitcher
Western screech-owl
Barn owl

High Intensity
Intensity No Trees
Peregrine falcon
Big brown bat
Little brown bat
Brewers blackbird
Moderate Intensity With
Trees/Low Intensity
Rufous hummingbird
Spotted towhee
Dark-eyed junco
Violet-green swallow

Appendix X: SHIM Methodology

When interpreting aerial photos (orthophotos) the interpreter must be able to distinguish between different
types of vegetation, development and forest type. Each section of habitat is then identified by drawing a
polygon around it in a GIS and assigning a land cover class (see below).
When they are ground-truthing polygons, crews must be able to identify forest cover types including:
vegetation classes, degree of disturbance in an area, and significant wildlife trees. All of this information is
important as habitat changes rapidly in some areas, often in the space of a few months.

SHIM Land Cover Classification System

Land Cover Classes Used for Photointerpretation and Field Sampling



Coniferous forest


Broadleaf forest


Mixed forest




This area has a natural tree crown cover of 20 % or more of the total
polygon area, and at least 80 % of the trees are conifers
This area has a natural tree crown cover of 20 % or more of the total
polygon area, and at least 65 % of the trees are broadleaf.
This area has a natural tree crown cover of 20 % or more of the total
polygon area, but of the total trees no more then 80 % can be conifer and
no more then 65 % can be broadleaf.
The area has less than 10 % tree crown cover and natural shrubs constitute
20 % or more of the ground cover. Shrubs are defined as multi-stemmed
woody perennial plants, both evergreen and deciduous.



Exposed soil


surfaces (high


surfaces (medium


surfaces (low


Qualifier: d
The area has less than 20 % tree cover, less than 20 % shrub cover, and 20
% or more natural herbaceous cover. Herbs for this classification are
defined as grass-like vascular plants, including ferns and forbs, without a
woody stem. Some dwarf woody plants may be included in this category.
A class qualifier must be assigned to this category.
Qualifiers: ag, n, ur, r, d, and u
Areas where recent disturbance, either human or natural, has exposed the
soil substrate, such as in development sites or soil slides. The main
characteristic is exposed soil under active erosion processes.
Areas covered by highly impervious man-made surfaces such as pavement,
concrete, and buildings with total impervious area > 40 %. This class can
include industrial, commercial, and residential areas as well as roads and
Qualifiers: ag, ur, r, and d
Areas covered by moderately impervious man-made surfaces with total
impervious area between 10-40 %. This class is similar to the human made
surface (high imperviousness) class but more vegetation is present.
Qualifiers: ag, ur, r, and d
Areas of low impervious human made surfaces with total impervious area
< 10 %. Such areas may include low density suburban houses, barns, horse
tracks, paddocks, or gravel or packed soil parking lots.

ag, n, ur, r, and d


Row Crops


Planted tree farm


Dug-out pond or


Natural wetland


Areas of agricultural crops and farmland. Agricultural areas where rows

cannot be identified should be classified as Herbs/grasses with an
agriculture qualifier.
Areas used as tree farms, including Christmas tree farms, ornamental tree
nurseries, and fruit orchards.
Dug-out ponds, either of natural or man made origin, which have been
excavated and are maintained. They are mostly cleared of vegetation and
may be under sudden human induced water fluctuations.
This class includes natural wetlands which are largely undisturbed by
human modification and retain most of their natural characteristics.

Class Qualifiers Used for Photointerpretation and Field Sampling












This area may be used for agricultural purposes including hay fields and grazing
This area is dominated by native herb/grass species and its appearance is not
modified by human use.
This area is composed of residential lawns, and may contain clumps of shrubs
and trees. Vegetation is controlled and maintained by fertilizing, weeding,
mowing, and pruning.
This area is used for recreational fields, with heavily controlled and highly
maintained vegetation. Examples of this area include golf courses, school fields,
or parks.
This area has been recently disturbed and is undergoing early successional stages.
Vegetation may consist of native and non-native grasses and/or small shrubs, and
small patches of exposed soil may be visible.
The use of this area cannot be identified.

Class Qualifiers Used Only in Field Sampling




Veteran trees

The area includes young or mature forest with scattered large old trees within.

Wildlife trees

This qualifier will be used in combination with forest classes when snags are
present and have significant potential wildlife value.

Vegetation Structural Stages Used Only in Field Sampling






Low shrubs



Tall shrubs




Communities dominated by shrub vegetation less than 2 m tall; tree

seedlings may be abundant; time since last disturbance is > 20 years for
normal forest succession.
Communities dominated by shrub vegetation more than 2 m tall; tree
seedlings may be abundant; time since last disturbance is > 40 years for
normal forest succession.
Typically there is a high density of trees: the main characteristics of this
stage are: trees that have overtopped shrub and herb layers where self
thinning is not evident. Trees are usually younger than 40 years for
normal forest succession.







Old forest

The main characteristics of this stage are that self-thinning has become
evident and the forest canopy shows three distinct layers (overstory,
intermediate, and suppressed). Dominant trees are generally between 40
and 80 years of age.
The main characteristic of this stage is the canopy has begun to open and
the understory has become well developed. Dominant trees are generally
older then 80 years.
The main characteristic of this stage is a structurally complex forest with
snags and downed logs in all stages of decomposition and patchy
regeneration. Dominant trees are generally older then 250 years.


Appendix XI: Glossary of Terms

Biodiversity refers to all living things on the earth, the attributes that make them unique and the way they
interact with each other. It includes genetics, species, ecosystems and all the process of which they are a
Blue-listed Species a species that is vulnerable or sensitive and whose numbers may be affected
negatively by over-hunting, habitat loss or predation.
Broadleaf deciduous trees, where the leaves are shed in winter (e.g. maple, oak, elm etc.).
Canopy Class a ranking of the amount of canopy closure from 0-5:
0 = 0% coverage (no tree cover)
1 = 1 20% coverage
2 = 21 40% coverage
3 = 41 70% coverage
4 = 71 90% coverage
5 = > 91% coverage
Canopy Closure the amount of ground coverage produced by trees when the leaves are fullest. Generally
measured by how much of the sky is seen, and then subtracting this from 100 to obtain the density of the
canopy in a percentage.
Climax Forest the naturally occurring native forest type, characterised by a diversity of species and ages
of trees.
Compositional Diversity the amount of varying tree species in a forest, generally measured by number
of species present.
Coniferous trees that do not lose their leaves in winter. They are generally characterised by having thin,
flat, and/or needle-shaped leaves that are a deep green colour (e.g. fir, pine, spruce etc.). Also known as
Corridor see wildlife corridor
Deciduous see broadleaf
Dispersal the movements of young animals and birds away from their area of birth. This is generally
undertaken in order to set up new territories and find mates.
Extirpation a local extinction of a species. In some instances, extirpation may be as extreme as the
extinction of a species from the wild in Canada.
Geographical Information System (GIS) a computer system set up to create digital maps and databases,
and to perform statistical analysis on varying sets of data.
Ground-truthed a process where a team of individuals visits sites of interest or sites that are uncertain on
aerial photos and analyses them for canopy closure, composition and structure. They may also collect
information on wildlife features and any wildlife sightings.
High Intensity Development areas of highly paved surfaces known as impervious surfaces. Generally
these are areas of 30-60% impervious surface and are characterised by parking lots, gas stations etc.
Impervious Surface areas where rain and moisture cannot penetrate to the soil. Includes pavement,
asphalt, concrete and other paving or building materials.


Low Intensity Development areas of 10-30% impervious surfaces. These may include subdivisions and
homesteads. They generally have more trees than moderate intensity development and may have lawns and/
or gardens.
Matrix the background of habitat. The combination of forest, wetland, grassland and human habitation
makes up the matrix of an area.
Mature Forest depends on the life span of the tree species. Generally, these trees are 50-80 years old or
older, are larger than younger trees but have not reached their full height or width.
Moderate Intensity Development areas of 30-60% impervious surfaces. Generally have fewer trees than
areas of low intensity development.
Mixed Forest forest made up of a combination of coniferous and broadleaf trees.
Old Field fields of fallow land or grassland which have been left to grow and mature naturally and
contain several species of herbaceous plants and native grasses.
Old-growth Forest depends on the lifespan of a particular species. Many coniferous species are not
considered old-growth until they reach upwards of 350 yrs old while some deciduous trees may be
considered old-growth after only 150-200 yrs. Once a forest has reach old-growth status, the trees have
reached their full height and width and the forest is very well established.
Pervious surfaces that allow some rainfall and water to seep through them. An example of a pervious
paving substance is gravel on a walkway.
Polygon a shape described around a particular habitat feature that can be used to separate that feature out
from the rest of the area by a GIS and analysed.
Raptor: Bird of prey. Includes hawks, eagles and falcons.
Red-listed Species those species that are endangered or threatened. They are at high risk of extirpation.
Riparian habitat that is in close association to a watercourse such as a stream, river or creek. These types
of habitats tend to be moist and lush and fairly diverse. They are very important for many different species
of wildlife and fish.
Second Growth Forest depends on the life-span of the forest. Generally is defined as the forest that
grows after a disturbance and has reached up to 20-30 years of age. Trees are still small and thin but have
started to establish themselves.
Snag a standing dead tree. These are important for nesting and foraging species.
Structural Diversity the diversity of a forest as determined by the amount and quality of shrubs, logs,
snags, brush and litter. The more of the elements that are found, the more structurally diverse a forest is said
to be.
Understory the elements that make up the habitat underneath the tree canopy. These can include shrubs,
logs, brush, vines, saplings and leaf litter.
Wildlife Corridor long areas of forest, shrub or grassland are used to connect unconnected patches of
habitat. These are used by wildlife for movement and dispersal and act as an extension of natural habitat.