Ducks Unlimited Canada works on the Tatalaska project on the Southside

Partners with Prince Rupert Port Authority to upgrade water control structures

Duck's Unlimited raffle

Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) recently worked to upgrade water control structures at the Tatalaska Lake, giving a big boost to conservation efforts in Grassy Plains.

Earlier this October, the project at the lake, along with an adjacent downstream marsh, saw DUC partnering with the Prince Rupert Port Authority, to replace two aging water control structures. With the cooperation of private landowners and the province, the project is supposed to benefit over 500 acres of wetland and lake habitat.

Located on the south side of Francois Lake, just a few kilometres west of the community of Grassy Plains, the area is important for agriculture, and Tatalaska Creek Marsh provides much-needed habitat for breeding and migrating waterfowl. Mallards, wigeons, teals, scaups, ring-necked ducks, buffleheads and Barrow’s goldeneyes are all commonly seen in the area.

Bruce Harrison, a biologist for DUC said that the project would benefit not just the wildlife and the agriculture but the community, as a whole.

“If the water controls had not been rebuilt, habitat quality in the wetlands would be in jeopardy because of reduced water levels during critical times for birds,” said Harrison, who helped lead the project for DUC. “At the same time, landowners who depend upon the lake as reliable water sources for their farm operations would have been in a difficult situation.

Harrison also stressed the long-term implications of keeping water on the landscape. “By rebuilding these water controls, DUC is helping make the landscape more resilient to the effects of climate change. It also benefits other bird populations and biodiversity in the area,” he said. The wetlands provide a home to a wide variety of other species, including red-necked grebes, shorebirds, mule deer, moose, and several fish species.

The Tatalaska project is the second such project that DUC has undertaken with the Prince Rupert Port Authority. In 2017 they completed a 25-acre tidal restoration project at Delkatla Marsh on Haida Gwaii.

DUC often hosts a fundraiser dinner to help raise money for projects like the one at Grassy Plains. But due to this year’s provincial guidelines restricting and prohibiting public gatherings or events, instead, Ducks Unlimited Canada is holding a raffle. You can get your tickets at Woods N’ Water, the cost is $50 per ticket. The first 20 shoppers who spend over $400 will get a free ticket courtesy of Woods N’ Water. They will soon be giving out 12 prizes in Burns Lake. Draw date for the raffle is Dec. 15 at noon.