Ducks Unlimited and Province to rebuild Pitt Marsh

Pitt Marsh is about to get a major rebuild. Photo source: Barbara Martin.

The province announced a partnership with Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) to start an extensive rebuild of Pitt Marsh in Pitt Meadows.

Ducks Unlimited is partnering with the British Columbia Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations to rebuild a 1,342- hectare (3,316-acre) part of the Pitt-Addington Wildlife Management Area.

Over the next several weeks, Ducks Unlimited will replace and improve the original water controls, which they built in the 1980s.

"We are very excited to get this rebuild project underway," said Brad Arner, manager of provincial operations for Ducks Unlimited in British Columbia. "This is our largest wetland project in the Lower Mainland and an important habitat for many birds and mammals, especially wintering waterfowl. Without the water control structures, the marsh habitat would not exist, which is why Ducks Unlimited is investing over $600,000 to rebuild the controls."

Pitt Marsh has been owned by the province since 1974 and has been part of the Pitt-Addington Wildlife Management Area since 1987. Ducks Unlimited has been involved in this area since the late 1970s, constructing nesting islands, dikes and water control structures.

In 1984, the original 30-year conservation agreement was signed, and Ducks Unlimited worked together with ministry staff to undertake habitat management and enhancement activities, such as prescribed burning, water-level manipulation, mowing, plowing, and seeding, to improve habitat. Recent habitat management activities have focused on more passive management, such as water level manipulation.

The Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations manages the area for public use and wildlife values.

"Ducks Unlimited Canada continues to be a great partner in conservation," said Steve Thomson, Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations.

"Our government is proud to put the regulatory measures in place to protect critical waterfowl habitat like Pitt Marsh, but it is our partnership with groups like Ducks Unlimited that ultimately makes these efforts so successful."

Pitt Marsh provides important wintering and migrating habitat for waterfowl in the region. There have been over 1,000 waterfowl seen using this marsh during migration, including mallard, Canada geese, green-winged teal, gadwall, American wigeon, trumpeter swans, ring- necked ducks, wood ducks, buffleheads and hooded mergansers.

Pitt Marsh will also provide breeding habitat for wood ducks, mallards and Canada geese. In addition to birds, beavers and muskrats are also active in the marsh. Deer, bears and coyotes are also known to use this area. The wetland provides habitat for mink, river otters and amphibians, like the northern red-legged frog, which is a threatened species.

The Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations works to maintain and restore the province's ecological diversity of fish and wildlife species and their habitats. One way the ministry meets these goals is through the management of the province's various types of conservation lands, including the establishment of Wildlife Management Areas under Section 4 of the Wildlife Act.

This designation gives the ministry additional tools to manage the land and associated land uses. A single Wildlife Management Area may incorporate lands that the ministry has secured through acquisition, transfer of administration or long-term lease.

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