French Creek Estuary
Region North America
Land and habitat protection
British Columbia (B.C.) is home to the richest diversity of plants and animals in Canada. It is the country's most biologically diverse province, with 14 ecological zones and a wide range of ecosystems, including coastal rain forests, dry interior grasslands, alpine tundra, and northern boreal forest.
The estuary between Qualicum Beach and Parksville on Vancouver Island is a critical gathering place for thousands of eagles who rely on tall mature trees buffered from human activity to feed on clams dislodged by surf and tides, and other nutrients. It is also the habitat for 19 species at risk, including herons, marbled murrelets, northern red-legged frogs, western toads, and Townsend big-eared bats, among other wildlife like beavers, owls, and cougars.
Estuaries are rare, making up roughly 2% of B.C.’s coastline, but they are highly productive and diverse, bridging land, and ocean as a place for species to come for food and shelter. They also play a key role against climate change, acting as protective buffers, absorbing floodwaters, and dissipating storm surges.
BC Parks Foundation’s Work in French Creek
BC Parks Foundation is an independent registered charitable foundation with a mission to enhance and expand British Columbia’s world-class parks system. Working closely with Indigenous communities, the organization promotes public interest, engagement, and involvement of all as it seeks to protect ecosystems.
BC Parks Foundation has secured an agreement to purchase 23 acres of the French Creek estuary to protect rare and fragile ecosystems.
How Age of Union Is Helping
As part of a $14.5m gift to BC Parks Foundation, Age of Union supported a crowdfunding campaign meant to purchase 23 acres of an eagle reserve in the estuary.
Age of Union’s mission for this area is to protect:
- 3 rare and fragile but vital ecosystems;
- 19 at-risk species;
- 150-year-old coastal douglas fir and western red cedars;
- 2 salmon species and trout-bearing creek;
- A critical gathering place and habitat for eagles.
Co-founder and Chair, Save Estuary Land Society
Denise Foster witnessed the power people hold to protect nature at a 1974 protest at Skagit Valley Provincial Park. When a potential development at the French Creek estuary on Vancouver Island threatened the Bald eagle habitat, she co-founded the Save Estuary Land Society and mobilized the greater community to protect it. With a background in human kinetics, Denise admits she isn’t the usual face of conservation but believes anyone with determination and passion can make a difference.