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Saving Ginty’s pond

Locals in Cawston and the Similkameen are working to restore the wetland

A group of people in Cawston have come together under the initiative of Kelly Terbasket, a member of the Lower Similkameen Indian Band, to bring some much-needed help to the local community and to help protect the environment in this area.

Terbasket has gathered a group of like-minded people to act as collaborators in order to be mentors and guides for local youth in a program designed to reconnect young people with the environment around them and instill in them a desire to protect our environment as they grow into adults.

As part of this process, the group met on Saturday March 20, under the guidance of Alyssa Purse and the British Columbia Wildlife Federation (BCWF) to listen and have input into a plan to restore Ginty’s pond back to a functioning wetland.

British Columbia, and in particular the Okanagan region, has seen a significant decline in the number of wetlands over the past 50 years and this has had a major impact on water quality and animal and bird habitats.

Ginty’s pond was formed as an Oxbow and was once part of the Similkameen River. The construction of the dyke to control flooding and the subsequent urbanization and farming in the area has impacted the wetland. Currently, it is full of Cattails and canary reed grass.

The enhancement project will create three open water pools in the pond area that belongs to the Southern Interior Land Trust (SILT), a non-profit conservation society dedicated to the preservation of habitat for all living things.

But ongoing maintenance of the area will be greatly helped by a strong community willing to work at keeping the pond in good condition.

The enthusiasm and knowledge of the area was evident from local people like Barb Stewart, Harold Rhenisch and Lee McFayden who, along with others, participated in the one day information session. Purse said the BCWF was impressed by the dedication of the group as she stressed the enhancement project needs both input and assistance from the local community.

The project will add to the biodiversity of this area allowing animals and birds that used to be a part of the Oxbow to return. It will also act as a catalyst for the local community with the possibility of winter skating activities being able to return to this area.

It will give all local people a chance to participate in this project and allow all of us to feel we can make a difference to protecting our local environment from degradation and misuse.

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