25 Jun Harrop Wetland Community Meeting: The State of the Wetland
On June 22nd, we co-hosted a meeting for Harrop-area residents with Tom Biebighauser, Wildlife Biologist and Wetland Ecologist.
Tom provided a great presentation on the importance of wetlands, and we followed by discussing the Harrop wetland specifically, our projects in the area , the future of our Harrop wetland project, and the wetland’s current state.
Tom explained different types of wetlands and how to recognize types of wetlands. He also told us the different animals, amphibians and plants that can be found in each type of wetland, and how wetlands aid specific species, such as birds that nest in cattails around the edge of marshes.
Tom also showcased some of the wetland restoration projects going on around the province of BC – some have been successful and are thriving while others are still being worked out.
FoKLSS’ Harrop Wetland Project
After a break, Camille gave an overview of FoKLSS’ programs before diving into our Harrop Wetland Program. She showed a map of the wetland and discussed the original issues the wetland faced when we started our program, such as site damage from ATVs. Passionate community members started this entire project because of their concern for wildlife.
Camille discussed the wildlife that can found in the area and described the wetland itself. The Harrop wetland is an ephemeral wetland, meaning it temporarily holds water in pools in the spring, and they dry up throughout the summer. The western toad relies on the pools in this area for breeding.
We deepened and expanded the pools in the wetland using an excavator, but left the rest of the wetland shallow so that fish from the lake are not to be found at all times in the wetland. This will allow the toad to breed. We also blocked a drainage ditch that had been blocked and restored the original outflow.
One of the current issues we hope to solve is the early drying of pools. We are hoping to have the pools remain filled later in the year so that the toads are able to breed successfully. Certain pools are filling up more and staying longer than others.
Current State of the Harrop Wetland
This year, because of the very dry spring we’ve had, the pools have already dried up. We will be monitoring and checking the site with Tom in August to hopefully solve this issue. We may look at digging the pools deeper to reach more ground water. Over the past few year since our original restoration work, aside from this year, we saw an increased number of western toad.
If you are in the area and have anything to report, please reach out to us and let us know what you see. If you have a wildlife encounter or an observation worth noting, we want to know.
If you are interested in watching the entire Harrop Community Meeting to hear about our research and monitoring findings, and learn about wetlands from Tom, you can watch it here.
You can also view the presentation slides from the meeting in a PDF below.