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Report: Silvertip Ranch Wetland Restoration Project - COL-F19-W-2797

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The Nature Trust of British Columbia (NTBC) and its partners planned and implemented a stream and wetland restoration project at its Silvertip Ranch Conservation Property, in an effort to reverse the loss of a productive stream and wetland complex.

Author:  Biebighauser, T.; Bosman, C.

Old Reference Number:  COL-F19-W-2797

Old Reference System:  FWCP Fish Wildlife Compensation Program - Columbia

Date Published:  Mar 2019

Report ID:  57449

Audience:  Government and Public

The Nature Trust of British Columbia (NTBC) and its partners planned and implemented a stream and wetland restoration project at its Silvertip Ranch Conservation Property, in an effort to reverse the loss of a productive stream and wetland complex. Located approximately 7 kilometres east of the community of Bull River, the property possesses a mosaic of habitat types that provide important wildlife habitat and biodiversity values. Douglas Creek bisect the property, an ephemeral creek that has been moved 2-3 times since European settlement for agricultural productivity. Prior to the restoration project, the creek was confined to a metal flume and a series of eroding ditches, with impaired ecological health and function. It is believed that a series of wet meadows and ephemeral wetlands would have been historically connected to Douglas Creek but, were lost decades ago to a hay field. The restoration project took place in October and November 2018, after almost two years of planning and preparation, supported by a number of funding partners, consultants and contractors. The project aimed to restore a naturally appearing and functioning creek channel, floodplain, wet meadow and ephemeral wetland complex along a length of Douglas Creek. By doing so, the project would: increase and improve stream and wetland habitat in the area, increase biodiversity, protect and manage ecosystems and species-at-risk, improve water filtration and groundwater recharge, enhance ecosystem health and function, increase social connection to the natural world as well as, support of conservation efforts. The project was aligned with two FWCP Action Plans for the Columbia Basin. The project linked to The Riparian and Wetlands Action Plan, specifically habitat-based actions related to Action 12 to restore and create wetland and riparian habitat. While not a major component of the project, it also linked to the Species of Interest Action Plan, and habitat actions specific to the American Badger. Soil overburden and disturbance on upland areas associated with the project was placed in a 'rough and loose' manner in an effort to support Columbia ground squirrel colonies, a key prey species for badgers. By using heavy equipment, 564 metres of Douglas Creek was restored with a creek channel and floodplain that averaged 10 metres across, having gradual slopes that should produce over 5,000 square metres of wet meadow habitat. In addition, 14 ephemeral wetland basins of varying sizes and depths connected to the floodplain were restored, totaling over 2,500 square metres. The project also included the removal and rehabilitation of a 24-metre metal flume and the disabling and rehabilitation of over 700 metres of narrow ditches. Over 2,000 square metres of upland soils disturbed from the project were manipulated to loosen soils to encourage Columbia ground squirrel and American badger use. A nearby borrow pit of 61 square metres was restored and culverts were cleaned out as part of the project. Invasive plant management and seeding and mulching disturbed areas were critical components that followed the earthworks. Planning and implementation by experienced consultants and contractors is expected to produce a project result that meets the goals and objectives identified in the prescription, while also meeting the habitat based actions in FWCP's Riparian and Wetlands and Species of Interest Action Plans. However, regular and ongoing monitoring by NTBC and its partners over several years will be necessary in order to make this determination.

Report Type
  Fish and Aquatic Habitat Information
 
Subject
  Mammals - Badger: Taxidea taxus
  Region - Kootenay
  Terrestrial Information - Restoration
  Vegetation - Riparian
  Water Information - Restoration
  Program Specific Area - Kootenay Compensation Program
 


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