When Ruby Chapman and her brothers applied to the local
government to build a guest cottage on their ocean-front property,
they learned that a brackish marsh on their property that the
family had always referred to simply as 'the swamp' was an
extremely rare and unique ecosystem to the region. When the
family recruited the help of ecologists to investigate the values
of the marsh, a treasure hunt ensued. Camas, chocolate
lilies, pacific silverweed and Arctic rush were just some of the
special, and in some cases endangered, plants the family
discovered. After that, Ruby and her family were inspired to
protect their 'swamp'.
A brackish marsh is a wetland have has a mix of both fresh and
salt water. The Reid Chapman marsh is tucked between two bays
on Gabriola Island, and is fed by freshwater runoff from the upland
areas and a continued inflow of saltwater from the incoming
tides. In 1999, the Reid Chapman family protected the
marsh permanently with a conservation covenant.
Today, the Reid Chapman family still enjoy the property and
their special swamp, watching the wildlife come and go and each
season makes its mark on the landscape. The knowledge that
the unique and rare species will be protected long after they're
gone is the greatest gift the covenant has given them.