Recent Items – 2004-2005
By Gary Rusak — August 23, 2005
Ducks Unlimited, in partnership with a handful of other agencies, is working to turn back the clock for an 80-acre parcel of land north of the city.
“This is a natural area,” said Murray Clark, a consultant who is working on the project for Ducks Unlimited, as he surveyed the land that was formerly the Donaldson farm 20 miles north of Dawson Creek.
“There would have been little wetlands here but the land was all drained for agriculture.”
The low-lying area had been continuously drained since the 1940s in order to cultivate crops, mostly alfalfa. After years of cultivation, the owners decided to sell the land to a conglomerate of interests including Ducks Unlimited, Peace Wilderness Watch, Public Conservation Assistance Fund, The Nature Trust, and the provincial government.
“Since we bought it in March 2004, we had to survey the whole thing,” said Clark adding that the group decided on a multi-year plan that will include up to 20 different dams. “This year we started the construction on the first five sites. We have been at it for five days now and we figure we have another three days left.”
Currently, two separate work crews are using an excavator and shovels to construct the dams in the area. According to Clark, the cost of building each new structure is approximately $5,000.
The results of the project will be evident as early as next spring. If all goes according to plan, a new marsh, with its full complement of waterfowl, ungulates, and other wildlife, will inhabit the area once again.
“This will all be flooded next year,” said Clark. “There will be lots of deer and elk and moose and they will all be coming right here to the water.”
Local conservation officer Brad Lacey said it would be a positive step for the diversity of the wildlife in the region.
“It’s a big conservation bonus for the district,” he said. “There will be more of a diversity in the landscape. Rather than taking the land and using it for one purpose, you are going to be bringing the diversity back. So you get the wetlands and everything that comes along with it.”
Besides being a conservation success, Lacey said that the project is also proof that the area’s young people are dedicated to wildlife issues.
“It is real community-based,” he said, pointing out the young volunteers on the site. “The thing that is going to be fun to watch is next year they will be able to show their parents this is what I did, and this is the result. I think it’s great.”