The corridor consists of three distinct segments, Courtenay to Victoria, Parksville to Port Alberni, Duncan to Lake Cowichan. The Courtenay to Victoria and Parksville to Port Alberni segments are still in place to operate rail however the Duncan to Lake Cowichan segment has been turned into a trail.
In total the corridor is approximately 295 kilometers in length with a right of way that generally extends 50 ft. in each direction from the center of the track. In some places the right of way is significantly larger however the 50 ft. rule applies in most instances.
The staff of the Foundation is continuously engaged in the management of the land which make up with the corridor. That involves the management, development and implementation of crossing agreements, statutory right of ways with various utilities, contractors, and private interests. In addition, the Foundation deals with the day to day issues that arise on the corridor. Working closely with First Nations, regional districts, and municipalities, the Foundation strives to ensure the corridor is maintained and protected
In 2006 an Integrated Pest Management Plan (PMP) was prepared by Streamline Environmental Consulting Ltd. in accordance with the BC Integrated Pest Management Act. Streamline Environmental are specialists in environmental management; environmental regulations; and biology & impact assessment.
Within this Pest Management Plan a careful strategy of herbicide application is identified to control vegetation within the railway ballast. As described in the PMP herbicides will be applied ONLY in on the railway ballast (Zone A) to eradicate weed growth and improve safety. No herbicides will be applied in Pesticide Free Zones identified in the Inventory Report.
Ecological Approach to Vegetation Management
ICF commissioned a report by Mr. David Polster on vegetation management concepts available for the E&N Corridor. The report outlines the Ecological Approach to Vegetation Management.
Mr. Polster holds a M.Sc. (University of Victoria, 1977) in vegetation ecology and has worked in the fields of restoration and vegetation management since graduation. Mr. Polster was involved in the development of a vegetation management strategy for CP Rail in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s and was instrumental in the development of the prototype steam treatment machine.
An Ecological Approach to Vegetation Management
Polster Environmental Services
This report outlines an innovative approach to vegetation management based on an ecological approach (Polster and Landry, 1993). The ecological approach to vegetation management seeks to use the natural ecological attributes of the vegetation to achieve the required corridor management objectives. Understanding the manner in which plants grow and the way vegetation patterns develop allows management strategies to be applied that make both ecological and economic sense.
This report outlines the two components of the Ecological Approach: Thermal Weed Control, and Successional Distancing.
Pest Management Plan
This document details the Pest Management Plan (PMP) completed for the E&N Railway Company (1998) Ltd. The pest being managed in this case is solely limited to intolerable vegetation.
Expertise and input was sought from a wide array of sources including weed control specialists, plant ecologists, government agents, environmental specialists, vegetation maintenance contractors and the public.
A Review of Alternative Vegetation Control Techniques
The Island Corridor Foundation retained Streamline Environmental Consulting Ltd. to conduct a worldwide review of vegetation control methods to determine whether there were available technologies that could be incorporated into vegetation management on the E&N Railway in order to reduce or eliminate the use of chemical herbicides.
This report provides a brief review of the most common technologies that are being considered globally by railway and other right-of-way vegetation managers. The review also considers innovative solutions that have been proposed by local inventors for use on the E&N Railway. This report found no commercially viable alternative for vegetation management.
Inventory Data Report
This report has been prepared to accompany the Resource Users Database prepared by Streamline Environmental Consulting Ltd. The inventory of environmental features along the Victoria Subdivision was conducted by Adam Compton, R.P.Bio of Streamline with the assistance of Bryon Reed and Al Kutaj of E&N Railway Company (1998) Ltd. The inventory required seven field days, and started in Victoria on February 13, 2006 and concluded February 21, 2006 in Courtenay. This period provided excellent conditions for conducting the inventory: visibility of features was good as deciduous trees had not yet leafed out, and watercourses were readily identified as winter rains provided high base flows but the inventory was outside of the period of storm or flood conditions.
The main objective of the inventory was to determine the location of features along the railway that require specific consideration with respect to the Pest Management Plan (PMP); in particular, watercourses, wells and water intakes.