We’re happy to have this success story to tell about the conservation of Garry oak habitat during land development. Owned and managed by Habitat Acquisition Trust (HAT), Matson Conservation Area along the WestSong Walkway on the Esquimalt waterfront features Victoria Harbour’s last remaining Garry oak ecosystems. Through many partnerships and hours of dedicated community involvement, the land was donated by Mandalay Developments (Swallow’s Landing), and is now managed as a demonstration site for urban habitat conservation and community education.
Matson Conservation Area is an ecologically diverse native urban landscape demonstrating an innovative balance of habitat protection and development where visitors and the community learn about habitat values and actively care for the land.
The one hectare site features meadows, rock balds, and vernal seeps, fringed by arbutus woods and wet ravine forest. Camas and other native plants grow beneath the perched walkway that leads up to a unique view of the city and Inner Harbour. At the top, a drought-resistant naturescape garden planted by volunteers requires no irrigation.
The management plan for this area focuses on two goals: to restore the integrity of ecological processes, structures, and functions through ongoing community land care activities; and to protect cultural and historic features while providing no-impact community access for education and appreciation.
The Friends of Matson Lands have been caring for this site and protecting it from insensitive development proposals for twenty years, and now residents of Swallow’s Landing are joining the conservation activities.
Several events are hosted every year including naturescaping, weed control, and nature tours. Please contact HAT for a group tour, upcoming events, and ongoing volunteer opportunities.
Matson Conservation Area and other case histories are featured in our Success stories: benefits of protecting Garry oak areas during land development.
250-995-2428 | Website: www.hat.bc.ca
Partners: Mandalay Developments, Township of Esquimalt, Friends of Matson Lands, and Nature Conservancy of Canada.