Chilcotin Marsh Enhancement – Phase 2

Project by the Nature Trust of British Columbia.

Location: Chilcotin Plateau (Chezacut, 130km west of Williams Lake).

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.

Purpose

The Nature Trust of British Columbia (TNTBC), with the Ministry of Forests, Lands, and Natural Resource Operations (FLNRO) and Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC), will replace approximately 3.8 km of derelict boundary fencing surrounding the marsh component of TNTBC’s Chilcotin Marsh property, an important wetland in the Chilcotin Plateau.

Chilcotin Marsh is a renowned waterfowl staging area, acquired in 1987 by TNTBC with funding support from Wildlife Habitat Canada and the Province of BC. A water control project implemented by DUC in 1992 has greatly increased the capacity of the marsh for waterfowl. In conjunction with the nearby Chilcotin Lake conservation area, also owned by TNTBC, 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 perimeter fencing, designed to exclude livestock from Chilcotin Marsh, has deteriorated to the point where it is now ineffective. 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, benefiting waterfowl, wildlife, and people.

Some portions of perimeter fence have been replaced in recent years, and are intact. The Chilcotin Marsh Enhancement Project resulted in the replacement of a priority stretch of fence in 2014-15, along the southern and eastern perimeter. This project will address fencing on the western and northern perimeter.

Long-term conservation impacts and benefits

The Chilcotin Marsh Enhancement Project will greatly reduce the impact of livestock grazing from this important wetland, improving habitat integrity and values for a wide range of wildlife species. This is a key component in sustaining waterfowl populations in the Cariboo-Chilcotin Region.

New tools, methodologies, landscape practices or protocols

This project will implement the goals of the CIJV Technical Committee’s newly drafted All-Birds Strategic Plan: Update on the Prospectus and Biological Foundation (2013).

Stewardship

Neighboring landowners, along with local hunters and naturalists, will be engaged to act as voluntary stewards of the Chilcotin Marsh conservation holdings, alerting management staff of any infractions (cattle trespass) or maintenance requirements in the future. Some neighboring landowners have become actively engaged in property stewardship, as a result of the first phase of this project.