News

30 March, 2017
The Prince George Naturalists Club is delighted to announce the receipt of a generous $1,000 cheque from Sinclar Group Forest Products Ltd towards the Hudson’s Bay Wetland Project. Sinclar office employees had raised funds throughout 2016 with their Jeans Day Fridays, and during the Christmas season held a silent auction with gifts that the Company received throughout the year. The company noted that the Wetland Project fits within their focus to support projects in the Community that promote an active and healthy lifestyle.

26 October, 2016

Two new decks, each allowing an overview of the ponded area west of Queensway Street, are now complete.

The first is located at a high point of The Heritage Trail, some 70 metres along the trail from the Hudson’s Bay Wetland Nature Park on Queensway Street. This Saturday, October 29, will see a celebration of its opening by the main sponsor, FortisBC, which contributed $15,000 towards the project. FortisBC will be holding a Community Giving Day, starting at 1:00 pm, which will see teams of Fortis employees combing the wetland area to conduct an extensive clean-up.

The second deck, which is elevated to give clear views of the whole ponded area, is on the north side of the water along an informal trail. An event is planned allowing Naturalists Club members to mark its inauguration and to recognize the funders.

Engineered designs for both decks were by McElhanney Consulting Services Ltd, the helical pile foundations were installed by Techno Metal Post BC, and construction was carried out by a volunteer team led by George Roberts and Nowell Senior of the Caledonia Ramblers

With completion of the two new decks, just two new features are required to put in place the bones of the overall project. An earthen ramp is needed to finish the universal-access section around the wetland channel, and a footbridge with boardwalks at the west end of the ponded area is needed to complete the circular loop. This is the most ambitious part of the project, opening the circular walk for the first time, and will require additional funding.

September 2016
September 2016 marks the end of the Prince George Naturalists Club’s first major initiative to remove invasive plants on both sides of the channel at the Hudson’s Bay Wetland and replace them with native plants. The long-term goal is to reduce the spread of invasive plants such as common tansy and Canada thistle and encourage the return of native plants such as wild rose, wild gooseberry, yarrow, red-twig dogwood and willow. This will help create a healthy ecosystem capable of supporting a much wider range of insect, bird and animal life. It also reduces invasive plant infestations in the riparian areas where salmon seek refuge during spring freshet. The initiative builds on the work of the City of Prince George and the Northwest Invasive Plant Council at this site in previous years.

With funding from TD Friends of the Environment and Pacific Salmon Foundation, the Club organized several planting and weed removal events in 2015 and 2016. Club volunteers, both young and old, were able to remove newly-established patches of tansy root. They also deadheaded tansy and Canada thistle. However, digging out long-established areas of tansy required training, strength, endurance and considerable time. The Club was fortunate to partner with Groundwork PG (Prince George Activators) and AIMHI to dig out tansy on the north side of the channel. The two work groups spent a total of four days at the site. They removed 66 contractor bags of tansy roots, stems and flowers from the riparian area and other badly infested areas – the equivalent of two pickup truck loads. This has significantly reduced the volume of tansy at the 600 square metre site, ensuring that future efforts to control tansy will require less effort and expense. As a result of support for this project by TD Friends of the Environment, the Club is exploring ways to work with other community groups to inform the public about how to avoid spreading invasive plants.

Many organizations supported the Club in its rehabilitation and restoration efforts at the Hudson’s Bay Wetland. They include REAPS, Northwest Invasive Plant Council and the City of Prince George.

July 2016
A six-man crew from Groundwork PG has spent a day digging out invasive common tansy. The crew worked primarily along the bank on the north side of the Channel using shovels, a pick-axe and a lot of physical strength. The crew filled 28 contractor bags until work had to stop at 4 p.m. when a thunderstorm rolled in. The Club is very grateful for the help provided by Groundwork PG as the tansy in this area is too entrenched for volunteers to tackle.
Work was carried out as part of a joint effort between the Prince George Naturalists Club, the City of Prince George and community groups to control the spread of tansy on the north side of the Channel from the Fraser River to Queensway. The intent is to prevent the tansy from spreading into the riparian area below the bank where it becomes very difficult to remove. The Channel is an important refuge for young salmon during the Fraser River spring freshet. Tansy control efforts are supported by a grant from TD Friends of the Environment and the invaluable assistance of the Northwest Invasive Plant Council and REAPS.
Photos can be seen at https://flic.kr/s/aHskDMm9dx

Sunday May 8, 12 noon to 4 pm

More than a dozen volunteers carried out extensive rehabilitation work on the south side of the channel, with the goal of improving habitat for birds, pollinators and other wildlife. Invasive species were removed, and native plants were added, including prickly rose, black gooseberry, willow, red twig dogwood, yarrow and a native grass.

Photos of the rehabilitation work can be seen at href:https://flic.kr/s/aHskwemFNM.

April 27, 2016

The Prince George Home Show, run by the Canadian Home Builder’s Association of Northern BC, has contributed a remarkable $1,000 towards the wetland project, resulting from their inaugural bird house auction. All kudos to Laurie Hooker and Terri McConnachie.

November 3, 2015
The wet weather has brought project work at the Hudson’s Bay Wetland to a close for 2015, and the planned final addition for this year – an elevated lookout on the north side of the lake – will now be added in 2016.

The final addition in 2015 was thus the universal-access walkway on the north side of the channel (see diagram). This 190-metre path, like the equivalent path on the south side of the channel, was funded by TD Community Giving/Friends of the Environment, which to date has contributed over $20,000 to the project. When an earthen ramp has been added, both sides of the channel area will be fully accessible to all users, including families with strollers or baby buggies and those with limited mobility. The accessible walkway and observation deck on the south side have been well used and popular with families, individuals and groups of all ages and abilities during this first full year of the project.

2015 saw, in addition to the new pathway, construction of a second observation deck funded by the Pacific Salmon Foundation (PSF), and progress toward rehabilitation and restoration of the riparian habitat, with funding from Coastal Gaslink / PSF. The first interpretive signs were also added, with funding provided in particular by the Federation of BC Naturalists and BC Nature, and a City of Prince George Social Development Grant.

2016 will see work beginning on the area west of Queensway. In addition to the elevated observation deck now planned for the spring, an overlook viewing platform is to be added to a section of the Heritage Trail. Both will give an overview of the lake area and its wildlife. Work on habitat restoration and interpretive signage will continue.

Fundraising is ongoing for construction of rustic paths and boardwalks through the reeds, a bridge connecting the paths on the south and north sides of the lake, and the channel-side earthen ramp. If efforts are successful, the overall project will be substantially complete by the end of 2017.

September 28, 2015. Major funding received from Fortis BC
Fortis BC is to provide $15,000 towards the cost of an observational overlook on the Heritage Trail, on the south side of the lake west of Queensway. Councillor Jillian Merrick nominated the Club for the grant, which was announced at the UBCM convention in Vancouver.

The overlook will be the fourth observation feature being added around the wetland. The first two were decks on the south and north sides of the channel, east of Queensway. The third feature, now pending construction, is a heightened deck on the north side of the lake, offering, like the Fortis BC overlook, a view of the entire lake. Just two major features now remain to be added: a ramp allowing universal access to the channel loop, and a footbridge and boardwalk between the south and north sides of the lake, which will complete the 2.4 kilometre interpretive circuit. Habitat restoration and enhancement will be ongoing, but the Fortis BC grant gives a reasonable expectation that the substantive project will be complete in 2017.

July 9, 2015. Media Release by the Pacific Salmon Foundation

Pacific Salmon Foundation Provides over $21,000 to Salmon Projects in Prince George.

Projects will involve habitat rehabilitation, stewardship and increasing public understanding of salmon.

VANCOUVER – The Pacific Salmon Foundation today announced over $21,000 for four Pacific salmon projects in Prince George. The total value of the projects including volunteer time and community fundraising is more than $128,000. The Foundation’s Community Salmon Program supports habitat stewardship, Pacific salmon enhancement and watershed education, and is funded primarily from sales of the federal government’s Salmon Conservation Stamp.

One of the initiatives being funded is the Stream to Sea Education program by the Recycling & Environmental Action Planning Society, to support their purchase of six classroom salmon incubator systems by schools …. The other projects being funded include

  • Up Your Watershed Musical Production: a touring watershed musical education program in the interior of BC also run by the Recycling & Environmental Action Planning Society
  • Hudson’s Bay Wetland Phase 1 & 2: these two initiatives – both run by the Prince George Naturalists Club – support the purchase of plants and materials to help stabilize the banks of a wetland channel and ensure habitat access for salmon

The Foundation’s Community Salmon Program supports community groups, volunteers and First Nations across the province. All give countless hours each year to monitor watersheds, develop and implement habitat rehabilitation projects, and educate communities about the conservation and protection of salmon. The program requires grantees to find matching funds for projects. On average, grantees raise an additional six dollars for every dollar they receive through additional fundraising for donations of in-kind and money at the community level.

The majority of funds for the Community Salmon Program were generated through sales of the federal Salmon Conservation Stamp….

25 May, 2015
Following a progress report to the City Council, councillors unanimously approved the request from the Club and the VLA Advancement Association to rename “Hudsons Bay Slough Park” As Hudson’s Bay Wetland Nature Park.

2 May, 2015
The new platform on the north side of the channel is now approaching completion. Shown below is the carpentry team at the conclusion of construction day 4 – members of the Caledonia Ramblers and the PG Singles Activity Group. There’s also a Youtube video on it at youtu.be/EGTZUK8Nl0g.

In other news, plant materials have been ordered and will shortly be received allowing for rehabilitation work to go ahead on the south side of the channel – volunteer planters will be needed!

NorthPlatformDay4b

11 March, 2015 Media release

Two new grants have provided an excellent start to the 2015 Hudson’s Bay Wetland campaign:

  • BC Nature (the Naturalists Club’s parent organization) and the BC Naturalists Foundation have repeated their 2013 grant of $2,000, providing a further $2,000 towards informational signage and community liaison.
  • An unexpected grant of $2,500 was received via the Calgary Foundation. The anonymous source of the funding stated that it was “to help inspire the appreciation and understanding of this region’s natural wonders.”

2015 work on the wetland project has already begun, with three large information signs added this week. Signs on the new observation deck on the south side of the channel cover beaver, muskrat, and birds seen around water. Another sign on the nearby information kiosk in Fort George Park covers winter birdlife. Later in the year, another trail and observation deck will be constructed on the north side of the channel just east of Queensway Street. An earthen ramp will eventually link this new trail with Fort George Park, creating another universal-access nature loop.

Future plans for 2015 and after include fundraising for an accessible trail, footbridge, boardwalks, bird blinds, an observation tower and other features, covering both sides of the Wetland between Queensway Street and Norwood Street. This is the most ambitious part of the project, requiring substantial further funding and additional community liaison.

31 December 2014
Paid-up membership of the club, at year end, is 71.

10 November, 2014

A new observation deck and short nature trail have been completed on the south side of the Hudson’s Bay Wetland between Queensway Street and the Fraser River. The short new trail links with the Heritage Trail and provides an accessible trail loop for people using mobility devices. The deck allows for safe access for school or other groups wishing to observe animal and bird activity in the channel below. It will provide many opportunities for the enjoyment of nature including observing beaver, waterfowl, and the ebb and flow of water in the channel as waterflows and weather conditions change.

The deck was built entirely by volunteers. Darren Adams Contracting Ltd constructed the trail. Pacific Salmon Foundation and TD Friends of the Environment provided the funding for this element of the project (see Background Information for funders of further elements). Construction could not have proceeded without the help of the City of Prince George and REAPS. McElhanney Consulting Services Ltd provided technical assistance and additional support. The Club is working with The Exploration Place on interpretation materials to help children and adults make the most of their visits to the new observation deck.

Completion of the deck and trail follows two years of planning and fundraising. Another trail and observation deck will be constructed in 2015 on the north side of the channel just east of Queensway Street. An earthen ramp will eventually link this new trail with Fort George Park, creating another accessible nature walk loop for all residents and visitors in the urban heart of Prince George. Future plans for 2015 and after include fundraising for an accessible trail, footbridge, boardwalks, bird blinds, an observation tower and other features around the Wetland between Queensway and Norwood Street.

25 June 2014, 2014
REAPS (Recycling and Environmental Action Planning Society), in partnership with the Prince George Naturalists Club, has received a $13,300 grant from TD Friends of the Environment. The grant will be used to develop a trail on the north side of the Hudson’s Bay Wetland east of Queensway Street. The trail will be built to the same standard as the walking trails in Cottonwood Island Park and will link to Fort George Park via a ramp.

17 June 2014
The Prince George Naturalists Club has received a $1500 grant from the City of Prince George’s myPG Social Development Fund. It will be put towards signage for the Hudson’s Bay Wetland Project.

17 May 2014
The Prince George Naturalists Club has received a $15,000 award from the Pacific Salmon Foundation. Combined with the $10,000 award from TransCanada Corporation, this will allow completion of major portions of Phase 1 of the Wetland Project in the fall of 2014.

April 29, 2014
The Prince George Naturalists Club, Mayor Shari Green, and TransCanada Corporation unveiled a new information kiosk by the footbridge near Exploration Place, and announced a $10,000 sponsorship from TransCanada. This sponsorship is a major step forward, helping to allow work on the ground to begin in the 2014.

Hare1February 12, 2013
The Naturalists Club received an email from BC Nature President John Neville, and the BC Naturalists Foundation President Bev Ramey, stating that the Club had been awarded $2,000 – the maximum award – from the Foundation to support work on the Hudson’s Bay Wetland Project.

Photo: a snowshoe hare, often spotted in the area of the wetlands.

February 4, 2013
The Club made a presentation to City Council, explaining the Hudson’s Bay Wetland Project, and asking for the Council’s approval in principle of the project and for continued access to city staff for information and advice. The Council uninamously approved the request. Many thanks are due to all the club members and supporters from other organizations who turned out to give support to the proposal. Some preliminary commentary was provided through ckpg.com.

Sora2APhoto: Sora – a type of rail – have in the past being spotted in the Hudson’s Bay wetlands, though they can be elusive.

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