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River habitat reclaimed near Logan Lake

A section of wetland that was restored in 2013. - BCIT
A section of wetland that was restored in 2013.
— image credit: BCIT

An important wetland area near Logan Lake that was affected by the construction of the Meadow Creek Golf Course has been restored over the past six years; and the public are invited to an open house to see the results. The project is a partnership between students from the B.C. Institute of Technology (BCIT) Ecological Restoration Program and various environmental and local groups.

Marge Sidney, a biologist in the Kamloops area and a member of the Logan Lake Enhancement Working Group, saw the need for habitat restoration at Dumois Creek. “She has had a longstanding relationship with BCIT, and takes classes out into the field,” says Dave Harper, an instructor with the BCIT Rivers Institute. “She said to us ‘Let’s do some restoration rather than just monitoring it.’ ”

Construction at Dumois Creek. BCIT photo.

He says that the first thing the group did, when the project started in 2010, was see what stresses there were on the creek, and how they could be mitigated. “Then we asked ourselves if we could really do this; was it feasible to restore it?” The decision was made to return the landscape to what it had been before the golf course was built, and restore the wetland habitat.

The working group of students quickly identified a major problem: salt from an old Ministry of Transportation salt shed was leeching into the soil through which the creek runs.

“The salt was just put on the ground,” says Harper. The MoT took out the shed and removed the salt, as well as loads of fill, to try to remedy the problem.

Since Dumois Creek is the only input to Logan Lake, the group has gradually increased the number of plants in the creek and in the ditches draining into it, in order to restore a natural nutrient regime that will improve the water quality downstream.

“Wetlands are a natural purifier of water,” says Sidney. “If we work upstream of the lake, then theoretically we can do good work for the lake itself.”

A section of wetland being restored. BCIT photo.

The first wetland was created in 2011, with two larger ones built downstream of the first in 2013. Four more were created in 2014, and five were built in 2015. Harper says the working group is committed to the project through at least 2018, by which time a total of 21 wetlands will have been built around the creek.

In addition to providing natural water filtration, the wetlands are an important habitat for a wide variety of birds and mammals, which find food and shelter in and around the water. The work of the more than 100 students who have taken part in the project over the years has meant new habitat for wildlife that might otherwise have left the area.

An open house on Saturday, September 17 will give members of the public an opportunity to see some of the work that has been carried out over the years. A number of work stations will show the various components of restoring a wetland, and students will be on hand to talk about the importance of wetlands and the work that goes into restoring them.

The open house is at the maintenance area near the Meadow Creek Golf Course from noon to 4 p.m. Visitors are asked to park in the golf course parking lot or along the road, and walk along the service road north of the golf course to the maintenance area. Light refreshments will be available

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