Chilcotin Marsh Enhancement, 2014-15
Goals and Objectives
Chilcotin Marsh is a renowned waterfowl staging area, acquired in 1987 by The Nature Trust of British Columbia with funding support from Wildlife Habitat Canada and the Province of BC. A water control project implemented by Ducks Unlimited Canada in 1992 has greatly increased the capacity of the marsh for waterfowl.
In conjunction with the nearby Chilcotin Lake conservation area, also owned by The Nature Trust of British Columbia, and secured in the same transaction with Chilcotin Marsh, the conservation complex hosts 5,000 to 6,000 ducks and hundreds of Canada Geese during the fall migration.
Over time the perimeter fencing, installed by property management partners in stages over the past 30 years, and designed to exclude livestock from Chilcotin Marsh, has deteriorated to the point where it is now ineffective for its intended purpose. As a result, livestock, including cattle and horses from neighbouring ranches, are having a negative effect on wetland integrity and capacity to support waterfowl and other wildlife. The replacement fencing will allow for the restoration and enhancement of wetland and upland features for the benefit of waterfowl, wildlife, and people.
Some portions of perimeter fence have been replaced in recent years, and are intact. The eastern boundary fence will require further work in future years. The project will replace the highest priority stretch of fence in 2014-15, along the southern boundary, greatly reducing livestock trespass in this important wetland complex. This will improve habitat integrity for a wide range of waterfowl, migratory birds, and other wildlife species.
Specific Habitat Products/Results Supported by WHC’s Contributions
WHC’s contribution will provide partial funding to all aspects of the total project cost, comprised of fence installation and project coordination. As a result, WHC’s contribution will result in direct, on-the-ground enhancement of important habitat for waterfowl and other wildlife species.
Relevance to Habitat Planning, Decision Making and/or Management
This project will have a direct impact on wetland habitat conservation and management. Current perimeter fencing at Chilcotin Marsh is inadequate to prevent the trespass of cattle onto the conservation holdings. In particular, cattle are currently able to graze the upland portions and access the wetland portions, reducing habitat integrity for waterfowl and other wildlife. In particular, cattle are accessing the marsh from neighboring ranches to the west and south.
The Chilcotin Marsh property is located in the Cariboo-Chilcotin Priority Area of the Canadian Intermountain Joint Venture (CIJV), which is an “all-bird” habitat Joint Venture under NAWMP. This landscape is an essential component of the Pacific Flyway for breeding and especially migrating waterfowl. The property has long been noted as a key component in sustaining waterfowl populations in the Cariboo-Chilcotin region. This project will help to ensure that waterfowl habitat values are maintained at the property into the future. The project will contribute 256 ha to the CIJV 5-Year wetland habitat objectives, which is 6% of the 4,000 ha Direct Action objective in the Cariboo-Chilcotin Priority Area.
For more information on this project, please contact Carl MacNaughton, Interior & Coastal Mainland Conservation Land Manager, The Nature Trust of British Columbia, North Vancouver, BC.