A Burns Lake family was recently honoured during the annual Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) dinner for helping secure the conservation of 320 acres of natural wetland.
The Andersen family has recently donated a portion of the land they had owned for 20 years to DUC. The land is an estuary at the mouth of the Sutherland River where it enters the east end of Babine Lake.
“The area is an incredible, natural wetland habitat and belongs to the waterfowl and wildlife that use it,” said Shawn Anderson, who approached DUC with his father Silvert about conserving the land.
The pristine area will protect habitat for migrating waterfowl and breeding birds common to the area such as trumpeter swan, wood duck, mallard, blue wing teal, cinnamon teal, American wigeon and northern shoveler.
This also serves as critical habitat for species at risk, including American bittern, rusty blackbird, black swift, grizzly bear and painted turtle. Sockeye salmon and the rare Sutherland population of rainbow trout are the main fish species in Babine Lake.
Shawn said he was taught by his father and grandfather to conserve land that needs to be protected. He said he is pleased that the land will be kept for its “rightful purpose.”
“A partnership with DUC just makes sense, and conserving the habitat long term is the right thing to do,” said Shawn.
Funding provided by the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation, the North American Wetlands Conservations Act and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service allowed DUC to purchase the other portion of the Andersen family’s land.
DUC’s regional director for British Columbia and Boreal region Leslie Bogdan, who also attended the annual dinner held in Burns Lake, celebrated the acquisition.
“There are few wetlands in British Columbia that have not been modified in some way,” he said. “Wetlands like those of Babine Lake are rare and we are so appreciative of the wetland stewardship shown by the Andersen family over the years.”
“The addition of their donation shows their continued commitment to wetlands and conservation as a whole,” he added.
The DUC dinner was held at the Tweedsmuir Park Rod & Gun Club on Nov. 18, 2017. The evening was filled with numerous raffles and auctions.
Ducks Unlimited Canada’s mission is to conserve, restore and manage wetlands and associated habitats for North America’s waterfowl.