The Village of Masset will see a much needed transformation in the upper marsh portion of Delkatla Slough as a result of an important partnering of local First Nations, local contractors, the Delkatla Wildlife Sanctuary and Nature Centre, the Village of Masset, the Province of British Columbia, and Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC). The funding for this project is provided by the Prince Rupert Port Authority as part of their wetland habitat compensation program for Ridley Island.
Delkatla is an intertidal slough, home to a large number of fish and wildlife species. It also serves as an important staging area and rest stop for waterfowl traveling between breeding grounds in Alaska and northern Canada and wintering grounds in the south. On average, more than 1000 birds can be counted daily between fall and spring. Delkatla sees Greater White-fronted geese, Greater Sandhill cranes, Green-Winged teal, Western and Least Sandpipers, Greater Yellowlegs, Townsend Warblers, varied Thrushes, and Lincoln’s, Song and Fox Sparrows; to name a few of the 149 waterfowl and shorebird species that visit Delkatla seasonally.
In recent years, DUC and its partners observed that the upper part of the marsh is not functioning well due to restricted water flow through the small and aging culverts in the emergency access road that bisects the slough. With the help of its partners, DUC will replace the small round culverts with larger ‘arched’ culverts, which will return the freshwater habitat back to saltwater habitat. At high tide, saline water will be able to flow through to this area more naturally, and fish will thrive because of the open passages. DUC will also work with the Village of Masset (landowner of Delkatla Slough), Delkatla Wildlife Sanctuary and other partners to identify other needs for the marsh including signage.
The work is planned to commence during the week of August 20-27, 2017 and will take approximately one week to complete. Once the culverts have been replaced, and the habitat has been restored to better match its natural functioning state, the benefits of the project will be felt not only by the wildlife that call the area home, but also by the entire community of Masset.
For more information on this project, please contact:
Bruce Harrison – DUC Provincial Biologist