Page 1

British western region ( columbia )

volume 31, number 3, 2010

Generosity of B.C. family conserves Cariboo wetland


Through the generosity of a local ranching family, the ducks in 100 Mile House have something to quack about. Last year the Doman family agreed to transfer their water rights for Disputed Lakes to Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) to preserve the area’s habitat for waterfowl and wildlife. Situated on Crown land approximately 20 kilometres east of 100 Mile House, Disputed Lakes – actually just a single wetland comprised of two open-water areas connected by a short channel – has become DUC’s newest Cariboo conservation project. Grant Doman first pitched the idea to DUC in 2008. At that time, the dam and control of the 12-hectare wetland were authorized by irrigation and storage water licences that Doman held for his hay fields to the south. While the ranch no longer needed the water, Doman could not stand the idea of having to remove the dam if he abandoned the licences because he knew how valuable the area was to wildlife. “In the fall the lake is usually full of ducks, and a few years ago there used to be all kinds of young ones on the dam when you’d drive up,” Doman says. “It’s good habitat and good moose country too.” Disputed Lakes is located on Crown land, so the transfer of the water rights to DUC required partnership with the Ministry of Environment (MOE). Through a 30-year Crown protocol Disputed Lakes – actually just a single wetland comprised of two open-water areas connected by a short channel – has become DUC’s newest Cariboo conservation project.

agreement signed with MOE, Ducks assumed responsibility for operation and maintenance of the works while retaining the natural habitat. While the lakes may be “disputed,” there’s no doubt waterfowl thrive here. During the breeding season, the area is used by scaup, ring-necked duck, hooded merganser and bufflehead for nesting and raising their young. In spring and fall many other species of ducks and geese also use the wetland to feed and build up their energy reserves for long migration journeys. “We’re always wary about taking on more infrastructure, but in this case it was an opportunity to keep a very productive wetland on the landscape, and partner with a ranching family that appreciates the wetland and will help maintain it in the future,” says Brad Arner, manager of conservation programs for Ducks Unlimited Canada. “It allowed DUC to conserve the wetland for another 30 years with little expense because the dam and water control were already built, and built to a high standard. “The Domans have the satisfaction of seeing the wetland preserved while saving time and money by not having to remove the dam. And it has allowed the Ministry of Environment to achieve on-the-ground habitat conservation without significant investment of either money or staff time.” S

Sales’ pitch portion of Dragon Lake shores to DUC


Rick and Debbie Sales gave a very important gift to wetland conservation in the Cariboo last year – their land. Through Environment Canada’s Ecological Gifts Program, the Sales donated 40 acres of shoreline habitat on Dragon Lake to Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC). The property, part of a historic farm operation now known as Sales Marsh, is located on the lake’s western shore, about five kilometres southeast of Quesnel. “We donated this property to DUC because we just wanted it to stay in a natural state,” Rick Sales recently said. “We thought DUC was a good fit because of all the wildlife that lives there – not only all the different ducks, but also hawks, moose and deer. The area also provides quite a filter for run-off entering the lake.” “Land donations under the federal eco-gift program present a great opportunity to conserve land of high ecological value which would otherwise be expensive to purchase,” says Brad Arner, conservation manager for DUC in B.C. “The landowners can also maximize their tax benefit without affecting capital gains. We appreciate what landowners like the Sales are doing to help conserve habitat and we’re glad they thought of Ducks Unlimited as the recipient.” From a waterfowl perspective, this area is a haven. Dragon Lake provides both nesting and staging habitat to many species

including Barrow’s goldeneye, bufflehead, redhead and American coots. Swans and endangered American white pelicans have been observed during spring and fall migration. The lake also has a diverse community of invertebrates which support its larger, more visible wildlife critters. Given the property’s relatively natural state, DUC anticipates having to direct few resources to sustain the health of the marsh, although fences will be maintained and upgraded as required. For the past 30 years, DUC and other conservation partners have been very active in the Cariboo region, undertaking wetland restoration and enhancements on private and Crown-owned lands. The eco-gift donation by the Sales family furthers these conservation efforts and helps to sustain the ecological integrity of the Dragon Lake ecosystem while contributing to the recreational value of the lake, known for its trophy trout fishing. For information on Environment Canada’s Ecological Gifts Program, download the guide at or contact your nearest Ducks Unlimited Canada office for more information. S Katharine VanSpall (center), presents a decoy to thank Rick and Debbie Sales for their generous eco-gift contribution to Ducks Unlimited Canada.

western region (british columbia)

Pioneer in wetland education recognized with prestigious award


Kamloops resident Dave Sharpe is the 2010 recipient of the Province of British Columbia and Ducks Unlimited Canada Conservation Award. Sharpe was honoured for his dedication and commitment to wetland conservation in his community, in particular his efforts in leading wetland education programs for B.C. youth. “Wetland conservation can only be successful through the passion and dedication of people like Dave Sharpe who are raising awareness, especially among our youth, about the importance of conservation of critical habitats,” said DUC President Jack H. Hole. “Wetlands provide waterfowl and wildlife habitat, clean our water and give us places to enjoy and learn about nature. They are a vital resource that we can’t afford to lose.” Sharpe has never missed an opportunity to spread the word about the benefits of involving and educating our youth in wetland conservation. A passionate conservationist, Dave Sharpe was a key reason for the development of the DUC Greenwing Program in B.C. On his own time and at his own expense he travelled extensively throughout the province promoting this youth program and building support in various communities. Through his leadership many children participated in outdoor field days, and Greenwing Days became a reality. As well, Project Webfoot became common in many school districts thanks in large part to Dave Sharpe’s efforts. Dave Sharpe served on the Kamloops DUC chapter as a volunteer for over 25 years, served on the B.C. provincial DUC council for 10 years and chaired or co-chaired several DU Canada provincial conventions. His outstanding volunteer efforts have served to promote the conservation of wetlands in B.C., and just as importantly, the public awareness of the value of wetland conservation. “I feel very fortunate to be recognized with this honour,” Sharpe said. “I’ve experienced a tremendous sense of pride seeing kids who attended those first Greenwing camps coming back as adults to volunteer with Ducks Unlimited. It’s like we built a network of conservationists.” That’s why DU Canada is proud to recognize community leaders like him who inspire others to help conserve wetlands in British Columbia and across Canada. S

Ardent conservationist Dave Sharpe of Kamloops – 2010 recipient of the Province of British Columbia and Ducks Unlimited Canada Conservation Award.

Bolithos a force for wetlands in Quesnel


Russ and Pat Bolitho of Quesnel are a husband-and-wife team for Ducks Unlimited Canada’s (DUC) conservation efforts. Russ is retired from the refrigeration business and Pat owns and operates a large grocery store in town. Russ chairs the local DUC committee and Pat is a volunteer. The prominent Quesnel duo are avid DUC supporters and have instilled that same conservation ethic in their children – something they hope continues through the generations. “We give our time and energy to DUC because we strongly believe in what they are doing for wetlands, not just for wildlife, but also for water quality and water conservation,” says Russ. “The Quesnel community is outdoor-minded so it is a natural fit for us to support DUC’s important conservation work.” “I approached Russ to set up the Sealed Bid Auction easels in the community and he jumped in with both feet. Last year he and Pat sold nearly 60 prints,” says Ken Ferris, DUC’s fundraising manager in northern B.C. “Russ and Pat are both very well known and respected in the community and they are always enthusiastic about promoting DUC and its conservation work.” Four years ago, when Russ and Pat were approached about volunteering, the couple considered the idea carefully. They liked DUC’s track record and the organization’s philosophy. It also meant a great deal for them to know that dollars raised go directly toward on-the-ground conservation projects at the local level. The rest is history. Russ and Pat have both benefited and improved practical skills from their volunteer work with DUC. However, the best part for the couple has been the conservation knowledge they gain at the annual volunteer convention. From guest speakers to interacting with like-minded people to rubbing elbows with representatives from forestry and livestock associations, the annual conventions are like going back to school for the couple. They appreciate being given the opportunity to expand their knowledge while improving their community. “We believe in what DUC is doing and we get a lot out of volunteering with them,” says Russ. S

British western region ( columbia )

The Flyway newsletter is published by Ducks Unlimited Canada Oak Hammock Marsh Conservation Centre P.O. Box 1160, Stonewall, Manitoba R0C 2Z0 tel (204)467-3000 fax (204)467-9028 toll-free 1(800)665-DUCK Please direct your inquiries to the following: Eastern Region Atlantic: Krista Elliott Quebec: Bernard Filion Ontario: Joanne Barbazza Western Region Prairie-Western Boreal: Marci Dube British Columbia: Wendy Thatcher Flyway production staff Director of Marketing: Madeleine Arbez Editor: Duncan Morrison Assistant: Deb Menard Manager Creative Services: Lindsay Pikta-Marie Graphic Designers: Christa Edwards, Aquila Samson, Jeope Wolfe © Ducks Unlimited Canada, 2010 Printed in Canada on 100% recycled paper including 100% post-consumer fibres

Area Contacts Director of Regional Operations Ian Barnett, Edmonton (780) 602-3221 Manager of Provincial Operations and Development Manager Les Bogdan, Surrey (604) 592-5000 Manager of Conservation Programs Brad Arner, Kamloops (250) 374-8307 Marketing and Communications Wendy Thatcher, Surrey (604) 592-5004 Fundraising Rory Brown, Victoria

(250) 652-5090

Quesnel committee volunteers Russ and Pat Bolitho help DUC make a difference in their community. publication agreement #40064849


western region ( ) Disputed Lakes – actually just a single wetland comprised of two open-water areas connected by a short channel – has beco...