Update: Restoring wetland habitat along the Slocan River
The Slocan River Streamkeepers is anticipating another successful wetland restoration project. This one, again with FWCP and Columbia Basin Trust funding, will focus on the Goulden-Thurston site, five kilometres north of Winlaw.
Low elevation wetlands have been significantly affected by reservoir creation, and our Columbia Board continues to identify wetland restoration and conservation projects, like this one, as a regional priority.
There are many other pressures on wetlands and the Goulden-Thurston site has been historically impacted by clearing, ditching, filling, and grazing by livestock. The site has also become infested with invasive Reed Canary Grass.
The project’s goal is to restore the wetland habitat and re-vegetate the site to enhance functionality and attract more native species. In January 2019, three shallow wetland areas were excavated, restoring an area equivalent to 0.25 hectares in size. Basking logs were installed and a turtle nesting area was created. Planting is planned for early spring of this year, along with the installation of nesting and roosting boxes.
This project will provide habitat for a diversity of wildlife, including Western Toads, Columbia Spotted Frogs, Western Painted Turtles, bats, and birds. It may also help reduce mosquitos. Sampling in summer 2017 found no mosquito larvae in the wetlands restored by the Society at Crooked Horn Farm. This is because properly functioning wetlands attract mosquito predators, such as amphibians, dragonflies, birds, and bats.
Goulden-Thurston wetland restoration project
This is a wetland restoration project that aims to enhance wetland and riparian biodiversity, and further create wildlife habitat for a diversity of native species. This project will be excavating wetlands, which will be planted with native species and enhanced with logs and other natural features, which will be put in the wetland to create habitat for amphibians and invertebrates. Further enhancements will include bird and bat houses that will be placed around the wetlands to provide nesting sites for song birds, migratory birds and bats. The project is also creating a nesting area for Painted Turtles. Monitoring and public outreach are also part of the project. The project completed a similar successful wetland restoration project nearby, at Crooked Horn Farm in Winlaw (COL-F17-W-1438), in June 2017.
Final report: executive summary
This project refers to “FWCP Riparian and Wetlands Action Plan and Habitat-based Action Plan” and aligns with the “Partner on restoration & land securement of wetland & riparian area habitat” priority actions. This project aimed to restore a degraded reed canary grass filled wetland used for grazing livestock and enhance wildlife habitat for a diversity of species. It is situated on private land owned by Rick Goulden and Bill Thurston. The Slocan River Streamkeepers have been involved with the landowners for many years and had previously implemented a riparian restoration project on their property in 2015 & 2016.
The area where the wetland restoration was completed had been disturbed in the past. The land was cleared of trees most likely in the early 1900s and had been used as a pasture for livestock for many years, as recently as 2017. An area of 0.5 hectares of shallow wetlands were created to provide habitat for a diversity of wildlife including western toad, Columbia spotted frog, painted turtle, bats, birds and a diversity of benthic invertebrates that provide food for other species. A total of one hectare was restored by planting surrounding area with a diversity of native species of trees, shrubs, sedges, and rushes, and installing bird nesting boxes, bat houses, and turtle nesting sites.
Click the provincial database link below to read the full final report for this project.