Nelson’s mecca for mallards is getting a makeover.
The Friends of Kootenay Lake Stewardship Society has received $38,500 from the Columbia Basin Trust to build a new wetland at Duck Bay in Lakeside Park.
Avery Deboer-Smith, the society’s project manager, said the work will add to the partial wetland already present.
“We felt like it was a good opportunity to continue doing some work there,” said Deboer-Smith. “It still needs a lot of love before it really is working up to our standards and the lake’s standards.”
Deboer-Smith said the main goal of the project is to stem the flow of storm water into the bay. She said construction will include a filtration system to help keep the area clean.
“We go down there quite regularly and do cleanup and there’s quite a lot of garbage and oil,” she said. “The runoff comes from the road and people washing things off their streets and their sidewalks. A lot of soap and oil and gasoline coming out of the storm runoff. Ducks and fish will still swim in that but it’s definitely not good for them.”
A new sign will also be installed, as will native plant species meant to create shade and additional habitat. Deboer-Smith said the beach will not be changed.
The total cost of the project has not yet been made public. Deboer-Smith said construction will begin in the spring and will include collaboration with Nelson schools, Selkirk College and other non-profit groups.
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Janice Arndt, a wildlife biologist, has been watching birds in the Kootenays for over 20 years. She said the new wetland will be a good addition to the city.
“I think it’s a neat idea,” said Arndt. “If they’ve gotten permission and do it correctly, it will be a net gain for bird habitats and educational value. They’re not filling in the whole thing so the birds that are using it now and people who are enjoying going down to see the mallards and the coots can continue to do that.”