North Jubliee wetland project considered

Public support is being sought for the project and a public information meeting will be held on Tuesday, September 30

People gather at the site of the proposed North Jubilee wetland project at the 2014 Wetland Keepers Workshop hosted by the BC Wildlife Federation

People gather at the site of the proposed North Jubilee wetland project at the 2014 Wetland Keepers Workshop hosted by the BC Wildlife Federation

The City of Rossland will be considering rehabilitating a wetland site located at North Jubilee Park.  Public support is being sought for the project and a public information meeting will be held on Tuesday, September 30 at 6 p.m. at the Miners’ Hall.  If approved, construction will start in September 2015.  The pre-existing stream and wetland has been drained and managed as a park for 65 years.

Rossland residents Rachael Roussin and Eva Cameron have presented the city with a proposal to embrace the water and were permitted to proceed with a feasibility study.  The two have experience in wetland rehabilitation and have used their expertise to come up with a management plan for the city. It will ultimately be up to the city to decide whether they want to adopt the idea with the support of the public.  The city will be responsible for the making and maintenance of the project.

The proposal involves digging out three small wetland pools with an excavator.  The pools would be shallow, around knee height and 20 metres across.  Public areas and pathways would be constructed and maintained by the city. The creation of these wetland pools would enable the ground around it to stay dry and the city to do better maintenance of the park area.

The city attempts to manage North Jubilee Park but the area remains wet.  The uneven ground allows one to two inches of water to pool there for most of the year.  The current drainage system in place is not equipped to keep the area dry, which is another reason why the project would be beneficial for the space.

The wetland rehabilitation project intends to improve the park for the use of the public.  The area is inherently wet with organic soils that produce aquatic plants and provide a habitat for wildlife such as frogs and killdeer birds, which nest in the long grass every spring.  This presents an incredible educational opportunity for the school.  The site can be used as an outdoor classroom for children to not only learn about wetlands, their habitat and ecosystems but to visit them on a regular basis.

With the implementation of the wetlands, North Jubilee will become a natural watershed protection area.  It will capture any surface runoff, reducing the amount in the spring.  The water will filter naturally before it flows downstream.  Another benefit is that it would provide a habitat for mosquito predators and reduce the amount of mosquitos in the area.

Residents in the area have taken a strong interest in the project and said they can hear the frogs sometimes.  Roussin explains that most of the neighbours have a general concern for the animals.

Roussin commented, “It’s amazing how much wildlife is there that you wouldn’t notice.”

Roussin and Cameron believe that rehabilitating the wetland site is a good management option for the city and would improve the area for public use.  They encourage residents to come to the information meeting to learn more about the advantages of restoring the wetland.