Project/Road buffer

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Project ID: 87

Project steward

Jan Steinman


The visual, noise, and atmospheric pollution from Fulford-Ganges Road is a constant drain or our collective psyches. We fear for children wandering out on the road. It keeps us from planting things that we think might pick up pollution. Visitors and prospective members mention it as an eyesore.

From the other direction, it is like living in a fish bowl. We find ourselves being unduly influenced by individual and collective perceptions of what others see. We need to keep a good public image, yet without being facetious or shallow about the strictly visual aspects of public perception. We want to be able to have a mess now and then, without worrying about what the greater Salt Spring community thinks about our mess.


Permaculture stresses that multiple functions support each element, and that each function supports multiple elements. To that end, a multi-level perennial vegetative barrier will fill the following goals:

  1. a strong visual break from the road,
  2. a modest sonic break from the road,
  3. air pollution mitigation and improved air quality,
  4. water management,
  5. a sustainable source of edible and non-edible plant products, including firewood.

Envisioned is a mixed coppice of willow, alder, and maple, with edible vines climbing on the existing deer fence, possibly with deliberate or natural understory.

Willow is a good self-starter in wet areas. Maple is the best for firewood. Alder is good kindling wood, and alder is a nitrogen fixer. Salal, blackberries, and other edible understory plants can fill in the gaps.

See the associated discussion page for background.


This project has been abandoned due to the agreement to liquidate EcoReality. Should that change, this project may be re-instated.

Goal or deliverable

A mixed coppice wood barrier of approximately ten metres, as far toward the road as possible, with climbing vines on the deer fence. This wood can then be cut in rotation indefinitely. Rotations should come from "slices" of the wood along its length, to preserve the barrier aspect, rather than clear-cutting cross-sections from the field through to the road.

Timeline, schedule, or end date

  • Willows should be planted in the wet season, spring or fall.
  • Time to effective buffer: approximately 3 years.
  • Time to coppice: approximately 15 years.


The following will necessarily overlap, and cannot be conducted in sequence unless adequate labour is available.

  • Research planting plan and vine species
  • Gather cuttings
  • Plant willow cuttings
  • Propagate alder and maple cuttings
  • Transplant alder and maple cuttings

Related/Prerequisite Projects

Financial budget

  • Intern work-exchange, at $10/day: $280
    from existing work-exchange budget

Labor budget

  • Design: Jan, 20 hours.
  • Review: members, 20 person-hours.
  • Gathering cuttings: 40 person-hours.
  • Rooting and nursing: 40 person-hours.
  • Transplanting: 80 person-hours.
  • Irrigation: 80 person-hours.

Cash Outlay


Labour, by person

4Carol Wagner6.525.9%
2Jan Steinman18.674.1%

Labour, by activity


Vehicle Use

"Vehicles" with no odometer, such as tractors or stationary equipment, are in tenths of an hour, rather than kilometres.

5Bubba39 km
5TOTAL:39 km


Jan SteinmanBubba2009-05-0319 km$8.132EcoRealityBrandon, cuttings for road bufferyes
Jan SteinmanBubba2009-04-0620 km$8.560EcoRealitywillowsyes

Final accounting

  • Cash outlay:
  • Class A shares:
  • Class B shares:

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