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Campbell River, B.C. Proceeds with Wetland Water Control Project

By Todd Westcott 10:23AM October 20, 2017

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Following work to remove invasive plants and regulate water levels as part of preliminary restoration at its Jubilee wetland this summer, Campbell River, B.C. has issued a development permit for a water control project to be completed next year.

Earlier this month, city staff met with Parkway Properties, the project engineer and the project biologist to view the new water control and diversion structure. Next summer, the structure will be used to slowly and temporarily drain the wetland to the ditch on Jubilee Parkway. During this process, which will take more than three weeks, biologists will salvage and re-locate amphibians to a few deep pools that will remain during the wetland re-construction. Machines will excavate and rebuild the wetland, replacing stockpiled peat, removing infill, and creating a replacement wetland. After the restoration is complete, the control structure will help maintain wetland water levels.

“We had hoped to see the wetland dug out and rebuilt before this year’s rainy season, but timing didn’t work out with the required stakeholder consultation for Provincial approval,” said Ron Neufeld, the city’s general manager of operations and deputy city manager. “In the meantime, all permitting agencies have reviewed and approved the detailed restoration plan prepared by qualified environmental professionals. The City has now issued a development permit to Parkway Properties to complete the restoration when weather permits.”

The property owner, Parkway Properties undertook extensive removal of invasive plants, including broom and blackberry. Coarse woody debris will be stockpiled at the site for use in next year’s continuing restoration work. The restoration design includes a range of water depths and a mix of wetland forest, shrub, and aquatic vegetation habitat to help bring back biodiversity to the damaged wetland south of Jubilee Parkway.

The initial work was completed under a provincial notification subject to the Water Sustainability Act. Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure permitting was also required to connect the piping to the ditch and city permitting was necessary to cross a water main that supplies drinking water to Area D of the Strathcona Regional District.

The work to restore the wetland follows City Council’s December 2016 requirement for a combination of wetland restoration and compensation land at a 2:1 replacement ratio for the northern portion of the infilled fen wetland south of Jubilee Parkway. The solution includes retaining two existing provincially red-listed (endangered) trembling aspen forested wetlands and existing forest land on the west side of the property bordering the Woods Creek wetland.

Conservation targets (including strategies to reduce threats to targets) as well as ongoing monitoring and measurement of key ecological attributes will use accepted scientific methods and best practices.

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