Why did the farmer restore a wetland? Because it mud perfect sense.
Terrible puns aside, Celia Serrano probably didn’t anticipate how deep she would wade into BC’s wetland culture when she boarded her plane from Spain to start her internship with Balance Ecological in the Lower Mainland. She spent numerous weeks monitoring the endangered Oregon Spotted frog, and, in July, Ms. Serrano attended the BC Wildlife Federation’s Wetland Institute, a 7 day hands-on workshop on Wetland Restoration and Protection. In just a few short months, she had taken that knowledge to construct a wetland in the District of Kent in the Fraser Valley of British Columbia.
The restoration site was a fallow field located in an agricultural area, which most likely was a historical wetland. The landowners wanted to increase the ecological complexity of their property and what better way than to create a wetland?
In partnership with the BC Conservation Foundation and Balance Ecological, the Staiger Farm owners began their wetland-creation journey. An existing depression in a meander of the Agassiz slough was selected to ensure groundwater supply and ease of construction. By using funding from the BC Conservation Foundation Habitat Stewardship Program, they were able to rent an excavator to spend three days digging the 20m wide wetland.
Woody debris was scattered throughout to provide red-legged frog breeding habitat, nesting opportunities for birds, invertebrate shelters and other types of microhabitats. As of yet, no vegetation has been planted on site, but the area was seeded with sedges and bulrush. Later this month, native herbs and other vegetation will be planted surrounding the vegetation to increase plant diversity. Trees and riparian shrubs will also be planted to create shaded areas.
Though it has only been a short time, listed species such as Great Blue Heron and Red-legged frogs have already been spotted around the site. River otters and Pacific Chorus frogs have also been observed. The wetland design is ephemeral, having surface water for only part of the year, which will prevent the invasive American Bullfrog from establishing itself.
The landowners’ hope their children will grow closer to nature due to this project, and with the parent’s keen desire to create ecological diversity and protect listed species on the property I have no doubt their enthusiasm will rub off.
Thank you Celia and everyone involved from Balance Ecological for making the Fraser Valley a better place!