The Peace River Regional District wants more information on a proposal to restore and enhance wetlands in Upper Cache.
Directors stopped short of endorsing the Ducks Unlimited plan Thursday, which will help offset the loss of wetlands by Site C.
Proposed are three small dams on an existing ditch system on private farmland adjacent to Highway 29 and Szoo Road. But among the directors concerns were impacts to neighbouring properties, natural water flows, and who has liability and responsibility for the dams.
Area B Director Karen Goodings noted the land would have been similar to the nearby Watson Slough, which will be lost to the Site C reservoir, but that it has been drained and ditched to prevent it from being a slough.
“In one sense it makes perfect sense to do that here. But in the other sense, I’m going to reiterate that I’m very concerned that we need to know more about it, and we need to know who takes responsibility," Goodings said, noting the small man-made dams are required to be built to standard, but that they could still fail.
"We don’t have enough information at this point."
Because the property is in the Agricultural Land Reserve, the plan must be supported by the PRRD before moving forward to the Agricultural Land Commission for approval.
The land, owned by Wes and Kathy McKnight who are partnering with Ducks Unlimited for the project, has been used for grazing and pasture the last 15 years.
The PRRD will be inviting both Ducks Unlimited and the McKnights to the board to discuss the proposal further.
Ducks Unlimited says wetlands are designed to support breeding birds rather than migrant birds. The dams will be built with material excavated from borrow sources within the pond's perimeter or adjacent land, the organization said.
“The low-lying areas are already covered by water or are wet for the early half of the growing season, making them difficult to cut. The wetlands will capture and retain seasonal water which would otherwise pass through the farm and eventually drain into the Peace River,” Ducks Unlimited wrote in its submission to the PRRD.
“Surplus water will be available for farm and farm purposes (preferably via hardened access points) or via off-site watering. By providing more secure sources of water for the farm and farm animals, the wetlands will actually make the farm more sustainable.”
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