|Ron Taylor & Mark Cawston: Ginty’s Pond June 1991||Ginty’s Pond Cattails: Pre-Restoration, August 2022|
When purchased by SILT, the pond was mostly open water fringed with cattail. In recent decades, the cattail has expanded to infill the open water, reducing the pond’s habitat value. While this is a natural process, it does not suit the reason why SILT acquired Ginty’s Pond—which was to maintain the pond as productive wetland wildlife habitat forever.
In 2020, SILT, the (now) BC Ministry of Land, Water and Resource Stewardship (MLWRS), the Lower Similkameen Indian Band (LSIB), and the BC Wildlife Federation (BCWF) decided to collaborate to restore Ginty’s Pond, with substantive funding provided by Environment and Climate Change Canada, the Province of BC, and the Real Estate Foundation of BC.
Our group formed a co-leadership team to develop and implement a plan to return a portion of Nʔaʕx̌ʷt – Ginty’s Pond to its former open water habitat condition. The project goals are to:
When the project began, the leadership team anticipated that wetland excavation would occur in drought conditions in 2021. However, a series of challenges delayed and affected the project. These included the COVID-19 pandemic, sub-contractor availability, the unanticipated discovery of a wetland soil contaminant, an unexpected extreme flood event and, finally, the onset of severe cold weather, which forced a delay to summer 2022.
Wetland excavation got underway in September 2022 and our target to deepen and restore 1.2 hectares of cattail-fringed open water wetland habitat and to create about 0.5 hectares of new tree and shrub habitat adjacent the wetland has been achieved. Pond construction has included placing large pieces of woody debris and some large flat rocks within and near the wetland for wildlife to rest and bask on.
Next to the newly deepened wetland, over 1,700 native trees and shrubs have been planted with the help of local secondary school students and other community volunteers. In time, these plants will grow to create new habitat for species at risk such as Lewis’s Woodpecker, Yellow-breasted Chat, and Western Screech-owl, along with other wildlife. The open, deepened water created by the excavation will benefit Western Painted Turtle, waterfowl, other marsh animals, and aquatic plants.