ISSN 1188-603X

No. 541 July 31, 2019 Victoria, B.C.
Dr. A. Ceska, 1809 Penshurst, Victoria, BC, Canada V8N 2N6


From: David Peterson , Richard Fonda, Douglas Houston, Kurt Jenkins, Howard Sprouse, & Andrea Woodward.

It is with great sadness that we mark the passing of Dr. Ed Schreiner, a respected long-time member of the plant science and ecological community in the Pacific Northwest. His scientific studies focused on the Olympic Peninsula of Washington state, where he lived and worked for most of his life. His research encompassed a broad range of topics in conservation biology, including the ecology of endemic and rare plant species, backcountry human impacts and restoration, the role of ungulates in the forest and alpine ecosystems, and long-term monitoring in forest ecosystems.

Born in Seattle, Washington, Ed received all his academic training at the University of Washington, including a Ph.D. in Forest Ecology from the College of Forest Resources in 1982. He began working as a botanist at Olympic National Park in 1973, igniting a lifelong passion for the ecology and flora of the Olympic Peninsula. His knowledge of this botanically rich region grew steadily as he hiked hundreds of miles of mountain trails as part of his on-the-job education, becoming an authority on the vegetation ecology of even the most remote corners of the park. This knowledge served him and others well for many years after he traversed that rugged terrain.

Already a veteran employee of Olympic National Park, Ed was hired as a research biologist there in 1986, with an office in Port Angeles. He remained in this position for the rest of his career, working for both the National Park Service and U.S. Geological Survey. He was an affiliate faculty member at the University of Washington and a member of the Ecological Society of America and British Ecological Society. An Honorary Lifetime Member of the Northwest Scientific Association, he took special pride in being Editor-in-Chief of Northwest Science (1998-2001), where he handled over 160 manuscripts.

One of Ed's significant accomplishments was the publication of Flora of the Olympic Peninsula, on which he worked for many years with lead author Nelsa Buckingham and co-authors Thomas Kaye, Janis Burger, and Edward Tisch. Beyond an inventory of vascular plants, this book provides insight into the diverse plant geography of the Peninsula, providing a foundation for long-term vegetation management and conservation of rare species. In addition to documenting over 100 species not previously known to exist on the Peninsula, this flora improved our understanding of the biogeography of the region, influenced by isolation and glacial movement, as distinct from but with connections to the rest of the Pacific Northwest.

Ed was especially interested in the ecology of the endemic Olympic Mountain milkvetch (Astragalus australis var. cottonii [M.E. Jones] S.L. Welsh) and devoted many years to its monitoring. Milkvetch was one of several species concern in alpine and subalpine communities, a focus for restoration in Olympic National Park and other national parks and wilderness areas in the Pacific Northwest. His devotion to long-term monitoring demonstrated the value of temporally rich data as the basis for the conservation of endemic plant species.

Ed made landmark contributions to our scientific knowledge about the effects of ungulates on ecosystem structure and function. His studies with Douglas Houston and others demonstrated that Roosevelt elk modify old-growth forest structure and composition and that their herbivory is an important ecological process in these forests. The discovery that elk herbivory profoundly affects the distribution and abundance of understory communities changed the way ecologists view these iconic forests. He also documented that non-native mountain goats had significant effects on the productivity of high-elevation plant species, with herbivory causing accelerated erosion in sensitive plant communities. This research contributed to the scientific basis for the removal of mountain goats from Olympic National Park, a program that exists to this day.

Ed also helped develop a framework for long-term monitoring of the ecological condition of vegetation in national parks in the Pacific Northwest as part of a nationwide National Park Service program. This work contributed to vegetation management by establishing protocols for permanent plots to monitor vascular and non-vascular species. In a related effort, he convened a seminal workshop on research and monitoring on the Elwha River in preparation for removal of two dams, a landmark restoration effort.

Beyond his work as a scientist, Ed was devoted to small-scale farming and plant propagation. On the land adjacent to his home near Port Angeles, he grew an abundance of vegetables, fruits, and flowers, specializing in diverse varieties of iris and dahlias. He also milled wood from nearby lands and was an accomplished woodworker. He and his wife Linda lived off the land as much possible. He is survived by Linda and their children Dawn, Norma, and Peter.

Ed was always generous with his time and knowledge, especially with younger scientists and students, serving as a mentor and participating in many field trips. When Ed had something to say, students paid attention, as did his peers. Ed lived an abundant and rewarding life. He touched the lives of many and will be greatly missed by friends and colleagues throughout the Pacific Northwest.


From: Jenifer Penny & Frank Lomer

This year's Botany BC took place in the quaint gold rush and ski resort town of Rossland, British Columbia June 20th to 23rd, 2019. The town offered up many historic sites and architecture, great coffee and bakeries and good dining out. Our meeting space, the Rossland Union Miner's hall, was home to the first metalliferous mines union local in BC circa 1898. As an added bonus for plant lovers, it appears to have one of the highest garden escape rates in the province as most of the typical garden-grown species known to escape were observed throughout the town: germander speedwell (Veronica chamaedrys), fennel (Foeniculum vulgare), giant butterbur (Petasites japonicus), white stonecrop (Sedum album), Spanish stonecrop (Sedum hispanicum), lamb's ear (Stachys byzantine), hedgerow geranium (Geranium pyrenaicum), and costmary (Tanacetum balsamita), among many others (Taxonomy and Nomenclature follows Mackenzie et al. 2016; BC Conservation Data Centre, 2019). The latter four are rarely found naturalized in BC and collections were made for the UBC herbarium.

Thanks to the organizing committee (Elizabeth Easton, Craig Delong, Michael Keefer, Iraleigh Anderson, Valerie Huff, Eva Cameron and Jenifer Penny), the line-up of activities included presentations, field trips and a digital photography course led by Shauna Davis.

This year's field trips were to Record Ridge, Pend-d'Oreille River, King George VI Provincial Park, and Centennial wetland with appearances by many rare plants which mostly only occur in this region of the province.

Presentations were delivered on Ecosystems of the West Kootenay/Southern Monashees by Deb MacKillop, The Blue and the Red and the better off dead: Stories of three plants of conservation neglect in the West Kootenay, Why should we care about wildflowers? by Valerie Huff & Brenda Beckwith, and Introduction to the Geology and some plant highlights of Record Ridge by Michael Keefer and Jenifer Penny, and Economical botany & ethnobotany of the Kootenays - from contact to present times by Michael Keefer.

On the first day, the group visited Record Ridge to enjoy easily accessible serpentine meadows that are just southwest of the town. This ecosystem is extremely rare in the region with grassland vegetation predominating where elsewhere in the region a shrubland would develop. Ecosystems like it are also uncommon throughout central BC because of the parent material (ultramafic rocks) and not yet classified by BC Forests, Land, and Natural Resource Operations and Development. This parent material also contains minerals of interest for extraction creating a juxtaposition of values at the site. The wildflower display was pleasant with a lack of non-native species. Four species of lomatium (Lomatium ambiguum, L. dissectum, L. geyeri, and Lomatium macrocarpum), bitterroot (Lewisia rediviva), nettle-leaf giant-hyssop (Agastache urticifolia), spreading rockcress (Boechera divaricarpa), Parry's silene (Silene parryi), grey hawksbeard (Crepis intermedia), and Rocky Mountain aster (Ionactis stenomeres) were common. The botanical highlight, however, was the opportunity to see a plant rarely seen in BC (only otherwise known from the Tulameen area) and listed by COSEWIC (the Committee on the Endangered Wildlife Species in Canada): mountain holly fern (Polystichum scopulinum). This species was overlooked when the annual botanists meeting had previously been in the west Kootenays at the 2002 Castlegar Botany BC.

On the second day, thanks to our local hosts, Valerie Huff, Brenda Beckwith and Iraleigh Anderson, who directed us to the best sites to see the diversity the area has to offer, participants got to enjoy the driest and hottest area in the region along the Pend-d'Oreille River, a river which mainly passes through the United States (WA, ID, MT), and is considered a tributary of the Columbia River, the confluence of which occurs in British Columbia. The river system has been altered by five dams throughout its length, including two in BC (Waneta and Seven Mile dams), and consequently, the riverine habitat is highly disrupted. Despite this, in the 24 km that runs through BC, it still harbours healthy ecosystems of native plants and several rare or infrequent plant species. There are three vascular plant species not seen elsewhere in the province (Clarkia rhomboidea, Erysimum capitatum var. purshii, and Scutellaria angustifolia ssp. angustifolia, the latter two are listed by the Conservation Data Centre as imperilled or vulnerable). Other infrequently seen taxa include giant goldenrod (Solidago gigantea var. shinnersii), false pimpernel (Lindernia dubia var. anagallidea), Mexican muhly (Muhlenbergia mexicana), and purple meadowrue (Thalictrum dasycarpum) all observed on the river shore. In addition, Lemmon's needlegrass (Achnatherum lemmonii spp. lemmonii) was discovered on the dry hills. It is the first record east of the Coast Mountains in BC, though frequent to the south in Washington. Yet another significant plant to note is showy milkweed (Asclepias speciosa), which is a host plant for monarch butterflies. Botany BC participants were encouraged to check for monarch larvae on the underside of leaves of the plants, but unfortunately, none were seen.

The group had the opportunity to visit a restoration site in the Seven Mile dam area where Erysimum capitatum var. purshii had been discovered and successfully propagated. The species is documented from the area from boulder rubble on the steep slope below Pend d'Oreille Road (Lomer 96-38; V219172) but was not known to occur in the restoration site. The restoration site contains both a new natural observation, from which seed was taken to expand its footprint at the site. The restoration was successful, with an even larger population in what appears to be a suitable habitat for the species. At this time of year, ripe fruit can be observed, and some were taken to determine if we indeed have the variety correctly identified since specimens in the United States have all been identified as Erysimum capitatum var. capitatum. The fruits observed were 4-angled, with mostly 2- and 3-rayed hairs, and wingless seeds, thus confirming our identification. A North American racer (Coluber constrictor) was also observed on the site under coarse woody debris placed at regular intervals, a species of snake listed by the Committee of Endangered Wildlife in Canada as Threatened in 2015.

The last day of field trips involved a visit to Centennial wetland, another restoration project, this one in the town of Rossland. It has areas of rare wet-meadow, shrubby wetland, ephemeral ponds and a great diversity of plants and amphibians. Eva Cameron and Valerie Huff, who were responsible for the transformation of this area from the highly disturbed ecosystem it was to the healthy wetland complex it is today, toured the group around showed them the rare plant, Oregon checker-mallow, Sidalcea oregana, which unfortunately was not yet in bloom.

The final day also included a hike up a well-known biking trail in King George VI Provincial Park (the bike trails here represent some of many in Rossland, which is considered the mountain bike capital of BC). At this location the final rare plants of the meeting were seen: the woolly blue violet, Viola sororia, and wild licorice, Glycyrrhiza lepidota.

Last but not least, on the final evening of the meeting, participants were treated to an amazing 100-mile dinner conceived by meeting organizer, Craig Delong and local caterer Caley Mairin, and brought to fruition with assistance from Marie Therien and Michele Desjardins. The meal included a choice of stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) or sorrel soup (Rumex acetosella), and other delectable dishes such as crustless asparagus quiche, 'awesome chicken stew' with dinner buns baked at a local bakery using Treasure Life flour from Creston, and fresh-churned butter from Jerseyland Organics in Grand Forks. Fresh local strawberry shortcake was the finishing touch to a delightful meal. After the hearty local meal, and a round of applause for the cooks, the crowd decided where in the province the group would go next year. It was a close race between Haines Triangle and Wells Gray Park, but the latter was victorious.


B.C. Conservation Data Centre. 2019.
BC Species and Ecosystems Explorer. B.C. Ministry of Environment, Victoria B.C. Available: (July 20th, 2019).
MacKenzie, W.H., J. Penny, D. Meidinger, & T. McIntosh. 2016.
Vascular and non-vascular plant species list for British Columbia with synonymy and data codes: version 10. [ACCESS 2010 Database]. Province of British Columbia.
Accessed on-line:


British Columbia Forests Minister Doug Donaldson unveiled new steps that aim to protect some of the province's largest trees during a news conference in Francis/King Regional Park on Wednesday, July 17, 2019. The government will protect 54 trees. In the Capital Regional District (in Victoria and on the southern tip of Vancouver Island) - one Arbutus, two Douglas firs, three Sitka spruce and one western red cedar, documents show. The giants will be surrounded by a one-hectare buffer (i.e., by a circle with ca. 113 m in diameter). Donaldson says the "exceptionally large and old trees" were selected from 347 on the University of B.C.'s Big Tree Registry. (Times Colonist July 18, 2019)

Tree speciesUBC#LocationTownshipDistrictLand statusLat.Long.
Coastal Douglas-fir47Red CreekPort RenfrewCapitalProvincial land48.579422-124.220905
Arbutus53Porlier Pass Rd.Galiano IslandCapitalProvincial land48.995405-123.584673
Sitka spruce69Meares CreekTofinoAlberni-ClayoquotProvincial land49.150336-125.858006
Western red cedar70Meares CreekTofinoAlberni-ClayoquotProvincial land49.158184-125.868061
Yellow-cedar106Bigtree CreekSaywardStrathconaUnknown50.307743-125.763893
Pacific yew107Capilano LkN VancouverVRDWatersheds49.375435-123.128059
Pacific yew109Capilano LkN VancouverVRDWatersheds49.375435-123.128059
Pacific yew110Capilano LkN VancouverVRDWatersheds49.375435-123.128059
Coastal Douglas-fir121Crown CreekN VancouverVRDWatersheds49.390752-123.103294
Engelmann spruce141Joffre CreekMount CurrieSquamish-LillooetProvincial land50.368535-122.552806
Interior Douglas-fir153Little Lichen MtScotch CreekColumbia-ShuswapProvincial land51.072856-119.419218
Garry oak156Somenos CreekDuncanCowichan ValleyProvincial land48.789583-123.697023
Yellow-cedar158Lyon LakeHalfmoon BaySunshine CoastProvincial land49.653191-123.888711
Yellow-cedar160Lyon LakeHalfmoon BaySunshine CoastProvincial land49.653191-123.888711
Sitka spruce175San Juan BridgePort RenfrewCapitalProvincial land48.587922-124.186631
Engelmann spruce179Shuswap R.CherryvilleNorth OkanaganProvincial land50.812490-118.394432
Western white pine180Shuswap R.CherryvilleNorth OkanaganProvincial land50.812500-118.394444
Western larch187Chain LakesCranbrookEast KootenayProvincial land49.193422-115.462570
Western white pine192Victoria PeakSaywardStrathconaTfl 5050.044912-126.133103
Black cottonwood210Sumas RiverChilliwackFraser ValleyProvincial land49.136214-122.076735
Black cottonwood211Sumas RiverChilliwackFraser ValleyProvincial land49.135891-122.076838
Interior Douglas-fir218Hembrie RidgePrincetonOkanagan-SimilkProvincial land49.562902-120.485494
Interior Douglas-fir219Hembrie RidgePrincetonOkanagan-SimilkProvincial land49.562974-120.485350
Ponderosa pine225Hembrie RidgePrincetonOkanagan-SimilkProvincial land49.562939-120.485354
Interior Douglas-fir293Lower Goat R.McBrideFraserProvincial land 53.533517-120.685622
Sitka spruce309Yakoun R.Haida GwaiiSkeenaProvincial land53.434111-132.277361
Sitka spruce311Yakoun R.Haida GwaiiSkeenaProvincial land53.434361-132.276694
Sitka spruce312Yakoun R.Haida GwaiiSkeenaProvincial land53.434750-132.275389
Yellow-cedar336Marion CreekPort AlberniAlberniTFL49.207610-125.313849
Yellow-cedar337Marion CreekPort AlberniAlberniTFL49.207400-125.314430
Pacific yew341Quatse LakePort HardyMt WaddingtonTFL50.656395-127.547346
Sitka spruce349Yakoun R.Haida GwaiiSkeenaProvincial land53.433722-132.277944
Sitka spruce350Yakoun R.Queen CharlotteSkeenaProvincial land53.433555-132.277361
Interior Douglas-fir351OyamaLake CountryCentral OkanaganProvincial land50.112778-119.311917
Western redcedar358White RiverSaywardStr'conaTFL50.181214-126.001681
Interior Douglas-fir360Rosebud Mtn.Prince GeorgeFraser-Fort/P.G.Provincial land53.419500-123.126917
Coastal Douglas-fir386Gordon RiverV. Port Renfrew CapitalTFL48.646220-124.450510
Interior Douglas-fir406Finlay CreekPeachlandCentral OkanaganProvincial land49.761330-119.860100
Sitka spruce413Yakoun R.Haida GwaiiSkeenaProvincial land53.382500-132.283800
Sitka spruce414Yakoun R. (Br 40)Haida GwaiiSkeenaProvincial land53.506000-132.146900
Sitka spruce415Yakoun RHaida GwaiiSkeenaProvincial land53.357000-132.286000
Sitka spruce416Yakoun RHaida GwaiiSkeenaProvincial land53.356000-132.287500
Sitka spruce417Yakoun RHaida GwaiiSkeenaProvincial land53.358000-132.286000
Interior Douglas-fir422Duck LakeLogan LakeThompson-Nicola Provincial land50.300100-120.500100
Interior Douglas-fir438Lac des RochesBridge LakeCaribooProvincial land51.516680-120.620830
Sitka spruce439Graham IslandHaida GwaiiSkeenaProvincial land53.632800-132.215200
Sitka spruce440Graham IslandHaida GwaiiSkeenaProvincial land53.632800-132.213300
Sitka spruce441Graham IslandHaida GwaiiSkeenaProvincial land53.253000-132.094000
Sitka spruce442Graham IslandHaida GwaiiSkeenaProvincial land53.606000-132.209000
Western redcedar443Graham IslandHaida GwaiiSkeenaProvincial land53.606000-132.224000
Western redcedar447Central WalbranPort RenfrewCapitalTFL48.660935-124.579457
Sitka spruce450Mossome GrovePort RenfrewCapitalWoodlot Lic.48.587525-124.190626
Sitka spruce451Mossome GrovePort RenfrewCapitalProvincial land48.587046-124.186820

Sources used in the compilation of this table:
  1. B.C. Ministry of Forests provided geographic coordinates of the 54 trees.
  2. UBC Big Tree Registry:

Forests Minister Doug Donaldson said the initial preservation is the start of a larger program to preserve old-growth forests, more than half of which are already protected on the B.C. coast. The 54 trees were selected from the University of B.C.'s big tree registry, which lists 347 trees that are on either private or Crown land and could be harvested under current regulations.

The B.C. Green Party accused the NDP government of using the big-tree project to distract from a lack of protection for coastal old-growth forest, citing 1,300 hectares of logging on Vancouver Island via the government agency B.C. Timber Sales.

"The amount the government says is protected has been inflated by unproductive forests that are not as ecologically valuable or economically productive," Green MLA Sonia Furstenau said. "Adding 54 trees to that number is not going to be enough to ensure that these forests are intact for years to come."

In the press release accompanying today's announcement, the NDP government claimed that 55% of the old-growth on BC's coast is protected. This figure is highly misleading for a number of reasons. The BC government is including vast areas of low-productivity sub-alpine and bog forests with little to no commercial value, which aren't endangered, and are ignoring largely cut-over private lands, which make up almost 25% of Vancouver Island's land base. They also lump the Great Bear Rainforest (where 85% of forests have been set aside from commercial logging) in with the south coast, where old-growth forests are highly endangered and where old-growth logging continues at a scale of about 10,000 hectares a year.

Finally, the BC government fails to mention how much old-growth has previously been logged on the south coast: almost 80% of the original productive old-growth forest and over 90% of the low elevation, high-productivity stands (e.g. the very rare, monumental old-growth stands currently being logged in the Nahmint Valley and other hotspot areas).

Donaldson has appointed Gary Merkel, a natural resource expert and member of the Tahltan Nation, and Al Gorley, a forester and former chair of the Forest Practices Board, to tour the province and make recommendations to the minister next spring.

B.C. Forests Minister is optimistic about the fate of the old-growth forests on Vancouver Island, but he has to protect the 24,000 jobs that rely on old-growth forests:

Hon. D. Donaldson: Well, old-growth forests are not being liquidated on Vancouver Island. We have over 500,000 hectares of old-growth forests on the Island, so old growth will not disappear from Vancouver Island. We do recognize the interests of local communities and other stakeholders in old-growth forests that reside outside those protected areas. I would refer the member to the hundreds of school children from a neighbouring First Nation who actually use the curling rink facility that I visited up in Port Hardy.

We're committed to protecting old-growth forests, as well as continuing with a vibrant forestry sector - the 24,000 jobs that rely on old-growth forests in this province. We're undertaking an old-growth management plan, and we'll be conducting public engagement soon on that plan. [B.C. Hansard, May 8, 2019, Afternoon.]


From: Adolf Ceska Times-Colonist 19 July 2019 A14 - Letters to the Editor

I am afraid that we cannot see the forest for the trees. It does not make sense to protect 54 trees in British Columbia and forget the forest. In the Capital Regional District, we should protect one Arbutus, two Douglas firs, three Sitka spruce and one western red cedar. We have to protect the whole ecosystem! In the Capital Regional District, protect all the old-growth forest! For me, the forest minister's news conference in Francis/King Park was a great new chapter from the Royal Canadian Air Farce.


From: Adam Olsen, May 14, 2019. Abbreviated from:

... Yet the Minister of Forests continues to try and walk the balance beam. We cannot preserve biodiversity by cutting old-growth forests. The obvious contradictions in his statements are deeply troubling. Something has to give because we cannot continue to speak out of both sides of our mouth. We either choose to sacrifice biodiversity or the old-growth logging industry. 79% of productive old-growth on Vancouver Island is already gone, and 90% of the high productivity old-growth in valley bottoms has been cut. Only 8% of old-growth trees have protection, and we are dangerously close to having nothing left.

At some point, the government needs to stop repeating the rhetoric of the 1990s and begin to transition the economy of communities dependant on the forest industry. An honest approach will recognize that the future of the forest industry is in tourism, selective logging and value-added industries. Old-growth trees are far more valuable in the ground than out. Their ecological and cultural value and significance far outweigh their value in lumber.

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