Sharing the Wetland Park Creation Story

In 2018, two wetland ponds were constructed to mitigate spring flooding in a field on a Spallumcheen valley hobby farm. The BC Small Wetlands Association would like to share how these two small wetlands became part of a nature park rich in biodiversity and Secwépemc culture and we have created a how-to guide to share with other communities. You can download the guide from a link at the end of this message.
The Park is situated in the Spallumcheen Valley, midway between the Okanagan-Similkameen and Shuswap watersheds in a rural, mainly agricultural area. The valley was originally wetlands and cedar/cottonwood forest that was cleared and logged in the late 1800s then ditched to improve drainage on the soil. Wetland areas everywhere continue to be degraded or destroyed, due to development pressures and lack of awareness regarding their inherent value. There is an urgent need to raise the profile of small wetlands, both in rural areas and close to municipalities, that are not surveyed and therefore not protected.
“Wetlands and wet areas under one hectare are unmarked and therefore unprotected. 60% of small wetlands do not show up on ortho imagery” Elke Wind

“Mining companies say they can use wetlands if there is nothing in it. There’s always something in it. Frogs are in it, little white birds are in it, beavers and plants. Everything is hand in hand with everything else. They are all important, the wetland is important to keep the circle of life complete” Babine Elder Evelyn George
Ecological literacy needs to start close to home The park is the perfect location for outdoor teaching, situated as it is close to the middle and high schools. Youth become our wetland ambassadors, greeting visitors to the park and learning hands on through planting trees and shrubs and monitoring the wetland ponds. We are developing a cultural ecological outreach based on the teachings of revered Secwépemc Elder Dr. Mary Thomas, to whom the park is dedicated. Mary was, and remains, a powerful voice for educational programs and the application of traditional ecological knowledge.
“If you take 10 one-hectare wetlands, they are a better filter than one 10-hectare wetland, because in small wetlands, more of the water touches the soil, which does all the heavy lifting in filtering out pollutants.”
Nandita Basu, University of Waterloo
We are working to help fill the gaps in freshwater intelligence by connecting with conservation groups everywhere to share knowledge. Small wetland initiatives such as this are beneficial to all, underpinning and adding value to the work of federal and provincial governments and large conservation organizations.
“The economic value of wetland is $27K per hectare per year” Costanza et al
Please download the guide and share this message widely so that we can connect likeminded communities in BC, across Canada and around the globe.

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