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Pheasants Forever Chinook Chapter gets $500K from the Provincial Watershed Resiliency and Restoration Program

Posted on September 7, 2023 by Ryan Dahlman

By Samantha Johnson
Commentator/Courier
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Pheasants Forever Chinook Chapter recently received just under $500,000 from the Provincial Watershed Resiliency and Restoration Program. An engineering firm was hired to design a wetland project and supervise construction. Weir Construction was hired last fall and four wetlands were created within the Ross Creek Conservation Site. Reseeding of the disturbed land with a native grass seed mixture was also done.

“Water to fill these wetlands comes from spring runoff, rainfall and from a series of interconnecting canals diverting water from Ross Creek during high water events,” wrote habitat chair Chinook Pheasants Forever Leonard Hanson by email. “Funds from this grant were used to purchase 1,040 thorny buffaloberry shrubs while ACA (Alberta Conservation Association) staff provided 500 willow plugs. A local company, CF Industries, provided a group of hard-working volunteers to assist ACA staff in the planting of these shrubs in late May.”

The Ross Creek Conservation Site was purchased in 2012 by Chinook Pheasants Forever in partnership with the ACA. Throughout the past decade work has been done to enhance the site. Fencing has been removed, food plots planted, shrubs planted and wetlands developed. This past spring, Chinook converted 11 more acres to a food plot by plating wheat.

A total of 1,200 shrubs were planted last year by Chinook in the hopes of establishing a multi-row shelterbelt between Ross Creek and the west food plot. In spring 2023, another 300 shrubs were planted to replace those lost throughout the winter. “The goal is to establish travel lanes for wildlife allowing them a safer route to and from the food plot and to provide nesting cover for shrub nesting birds,” stated Hanson. “Additional plantings will be done when required until the shelterbelt is established. Chinook has hired Weir Construction to water the shrubs twice weekly through July and August.”

Chinook is also doing lots of other projects, including holding a hunter education course at the end of May for first time hunters. In 2020, Chinook planted 14,000 shrubs on SMRID land along the Sauder Reservoir with grant funding, and this shelterbelt has continued to be watered throughout the past summer.

The annual banquet in March was a great success this year and was sold out, although due to a blizzard, a few coming from out of town were unable to make it. In mid-July, Chinook hosted a casino at the Medicine Hat Lodge, with volunteers coming from as far away as Brooks and Duchess.

Anyone interested in volunteering for Chinook Pheasants Forever, they can contact them at: info@pheasantsforeverchinook.ca.

“When you volunteer with Chinook you will be working with a dedicated core of people who love wildlife and the places they live and who want to leave a legacy of projects and conservation sites for the next generation of people who are as passionate about these same goals,” said Hanson.

For more information or to purchase a membership, go to https://pheasantsforeverchinook.ca/.

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