Garry Oak Ecosystems Recovery Team (GOERT)
Our Impact Why We Exist
Based in Victoria, BC, we coordinate efforts to protect and restore Garry Oak and associated ecosystems and the species at risk that inhabit them.
In the rainshadow of the Vancouver Island Ranges, one of Canada’s richest ecosystems is also one of its most endangered. Less than 5% of Garry Oak ecosystems remain in a near-natural condition. More than 100 species of plants, mammals, reptiles, birds, butterflies and other insects are currently officially listed as "at risk of extinction" in Garry Oak and associated ecosystems. Several species have already been eliminated.
The Garry Oak Ecosystems Recovery Team (GOERT) is working to save these endangered species and the habitats they need for survival. Your help is needed. You can play a valuable part in a comprehensive recovery program to protect this rare habitat and save the plant and animal species at risk of local or global extinction.
A National Treasure Garry Oak ecosystems are a unique national treasure. Thousands of plant and animal species inhabit Garry Oak ecosystems. They are the richest land-based ecosystems in coastal BC, they are a defining landscape characteristic of this region, and they are an integral part of the culture of this area. First Nations have harvested foods and medicines from Garry Oak ecosystems for hundreds of years, and in some areas, Garry Oak meadows were tended and deliberately burned to enhance the production of camas and other food sources.
Garry Oak Distribution In Canada, Garry Oak ecosystems are found on southeast Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands, and in two locations in the Fraser Valley. They are also found in Washington, Oregon, and California (where the trees are often known as Oregon White Oaks). They exist nowhere else in the world.
Our Story What We Do
GOERT was formed in 1999 to coordinate efforts to protect and restore endangered Garry Oak and associated ecosystems and the species at risk that inhabit them.
Our Recovery Implementation Groups (RIGs) are working to complete the science-based information necessary for ecosystem and species recovery, minimize ongoing site and species losses, and motivate public and private protection and stewardship activities.
Only a concerted, long-term effort to conserve what is left of Garry Oak and associated ecosystems in Canada can halt the ever-increasing threat to their species at risk.
GOERT’s recovery planning approach considers ecosystems as well as individual species at risk. Recovery planning in Canada has historically taken a species-by-species approach, but national initiatives now recognize the importance of incorporating a wider scope in some circumstances. The ecosystem-based approach makes sense in this case, as so many species at risk occur in the same geographical area in Garry Oak and associated ecosystems.
Our Programs How We Do It
Bring Back the Bluebirds — the Western Bluebird Re-introduction Project. We are beginning year 3 of an ambitious 5-year project to re-intoduce extirpated (locally extinct) bluebirds to Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands.
Species at Risk Outreach — contacting private and public landholders who have species at risk on their land and helping them protect and restore the species at risk populations.
Local Government and First Nations Outreach — working with local governments and First Nations to provide resources needed for protection and recovery of species at risk in Garry Oak habitat.
Resources for protection and restoration of Garry Oak ecosystems — our popular Garry Oak Gardener's Handbook, comprehensive restoration guide, species at risk and invasive species field manuals, and much more.
What You Can Do
With growing funding, the Garry Oak Ecosystems Recovery Team can continue to reach out to local governments and others who manage the remaining fragments of Garry Oak habitat in this region, the only place they exist in the world. Protection and restoration of habitat is needed to halt the decline of more than 100 species at risk. We are truly humbled by the dedication and hard work of so many partners working to save rare plants and animals and their habitat. With your support, we can continue this momentum.