Hunters build a fence to protect wetland from cattle and mud-boggers

Some of these hunters may be retired, but they continue to work hard to preserve their local wetland. Part of the crew: Dave Carleton, Ray Paulsen, Bryn White, and Jillian Tamblyn.

This wetland has been overgrazed by roaming cattle and degraded by off-road mud-boggers.

This wetland has been overgrazed by roaming cattle and degraded by off-road mud-boggers.

McLachlan Lake (unofficially named) is located in the Garnet Valley, not far west of Peachland, BC. This site was put on the radar by Bryn White (South Okanagan-Similkameen Conservation Program) as she watched this wetland change year after year while riding her horses through the valley. There are two major threats to this wetland, year round over grazing by up to 200 cattle head and off road vehicles. I was disappointed I didn’t get to see any “forest cows”, but I saw evidence of them. Neil and I surveyed the site and recorded lots chewed down vegetation, soil compaction, recent cattle paddies, and pugging (which means pools formed by cattle foot prints and has nothing to do with dogs). Over grazing and off-road mud bogging are common challenges hundreds of wetlands in the Okanagan are being impacted by.

Doug and Dave of Meadow Valley Construction

Doug and Dave of Meadow Valley Construction

This restoration project was simple: replace existing barbed wire fencing to keep the cattle and off-roaders out of the wetland. With the help of volunteers, 900m of new fencing was installed in just 4 days. Dave McLelland and Doug Penny from Meadow Valley Construction used their excavator to remove old fencing and hammer in new posts. These laborers then guided volunteers and myself how to tighten and staple the barbed wire. The local rancher Dave Casorso was also helping out with the posts and wire and was even involved in the planning process of this project. Dave Carleton from the Summerland Sportsmen’s Association got creative and built a device on his ATV to lay the barbed wiring. Upon looking at a number of vehicle tracks through the field, Ray Paulsen (Summerland Sportsmen’s Association) commented “I have an ATV and I’m a hunter but I have too much respect for wildlife and I would never do this to a wetland”. This project is good example of members from local fish a game clubs coming together for conservation.

This project was a collaboration among Bryn White (South Okanagan-Similkameen Conservation Program), Dave Carleton and Ray Paulsen (Summerland Sportsmen’s Association), Dave McLelland and Doug Penny (Meadow Valley Construction and Summerland Sportsmen’s Association), Lia McKinnon (Okanagan Similkameen Stewardship Society), Lorraine Bennest, Sue George, Murray Rooney (Summerland Sportsmen’s Association), and Jillian Tamblyn (Water’s Edge Consulting and coordinator for Phase 2 of the Okanagan Wetland Strategy). A special thanks to the provincial FLNRO Range staff Charles Oduro, Rob Dinwoodie, and the District Manager Ray Crampton who provided support and approvals for the project in record turn around time. This project could not be completed without the financial support of  the Central Okanagan Regional District, Wildlife Habitat Canada, Environment Canada, and supported by the BCWF and Okanagan Basin Water Board.

Dave Carleton's clever way to lay down barbed wire. Using his ATV to protect a wetland rather than destroy one.

Dave Carleton’s clever way to lay down barbed wire. Using his ATV to protect a wetland rather than destroy one.

Neil and I assessing McLachlan Lake by doing soil core samples and plant inventory. This wetland has been overgrazed by roaming cattle and further degraded by off-road mud-boggers.

Neil and I assessing McLachlan Lake by doing soil core samples and plant inventory.

You really want to talk about wetland stewardship don't you? Why not share your opinion on this Blog entry...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

  • BCWF Bog Blog Stats

    • 66,395 ..We're popular!
  • If you'd like to keep up with what wetland stewards are doing across the province, sign up with your email below. Share this website around with like-minded concerned citizens and wetland lovers. Our ponds, bogs, fens, marshes and swamps need our support and protection!

    Join 1,805 other followers

%d bloggers like this: