Sea-to-Sky Wetlands Institute – July 2012
A few weeks ago I had the immense privilege to witness an incredible sight… the building of a wetland. As you can imagine, this was no easy feat, but not even the heat nor the incessant mozzies (mosquitoes for North Americans) could put a damper on the enthusiasm. Here we had a diverse group of 30 people from all over B.C. convening in the Sea to Sky Corridor to participate in the BC Wildlife Federation’s (BCWF) week-long Wetlands Institute. It is a crash course designed to help educate citizens on how to successfully tackle restoration/conservation projects in their own communities.
On July 14, I joined the lively crew as they worked with Edith Tobe, executive director of the Squamish River Watershed Society to create small wetlands near West Brohm Creek, just outside Squamish.
The society has already created a successful wetland habitat in that area, which is attracting red-legged frogs and bass, said Neil Fletcher, BCWF wetlands education coordinator.
“For their size they have disproportionately more species using them than any other ecosystem,” Fletcher said of wetlands.
In B.C., 144 bird species rely on wetlands and 44 different mammals – a lot of which are either on the blue or red list of animals at risk. Fifty to 85 per cent of wetlands have been developed throughout the province, Fletcher said.
“We are just part of a movement trying to reverse that trend.”
So, how do you go about making a wetlands?
Roll out the enormous sheet of liner, measure the dimensions and cut… sorry, I didn’t record the actual measurements, I was too memorized by the flurry of activity to make that all happen!
As a team, roll up the liner and then carry it to the designated wetland location, which had already been dug up, thanks to the excavator.
Remove oversize rocks, roll out the liner, walk as a group in a circle to pat it down. Then add water and voila!
Hmmm…. hey kids, just a heads up – don’t try this at home without first checking out and taking part in the Wetlands Institute.