Cattail in Reflection Lake have been growing rapidly, and are taking over natural birding habitats.
These are some of the reasons why Goldeneye Ecological Services biologist Rachel Darvill has asked for the Town of Golden council’s support in the upcoming Reflection Lake Restoration Project, which will involve experimental cattail manipulation to try to reduce the number of the marshy plants.
“There has been a notable increase in the amount of cattail present,” Darvill said to council. “Essentially, you have a cattail monoculture that has been created here.”
The experimental cattail management involves creating a liner in Reflection Lake to prevent the growth of the cattail, which is similar to pond liners used in the Okanagan to combat the yellow flag iris. Dr. Catherine Tarasoff, from Thompson Rivers University’s Department of Natural Resource Science, developed the low-cost environmentally friendly method of getting rid of the ornamental yellow flag iris from Vaseux Lake, near Oliver, B.C.
Restoration efforts would begin this year, likely starting in October, when the water levels are lower. The cattail will be removed before a mat is put down for one year to prevent them from regrowing, and edging is added to hopefully kill the rhizomes. Darvill plans to deliver the removed cattail to the Akisqnuk First Nation in Windermere to be used for traditional cultural purposes like basket weaving.
“Birds won’t use this type of habitat, it is just too dense,” Darvill said, adding that the area is important for marsh bird breeding. “There’s not really anywhere for birds to forage and move around.”
According to the Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program, the Reflection Lake Restoration Progect will take three years to return the lake to the hemi-marsh conditions to increase bird breeding habitats. Hemi marshes are a type of wetland typically found in deeper water with emergent vegetation and submersed plant life.
The best bird breeding habitats are found in wetland areas with equal parts open water and vegetative cover.
This project will benefit birds in the area such as the eared grebe, sora, Virginia rail, pied-billed grebe, wood duck, hooded merganser, and more.
The Reflection Lake Restoration Project is supported by the Columbia Shuswap Regional District, the Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program, and the The Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development. Darvill brought the Reflection Lake Resoration Project presentation to the Town of Golden council to seek their support and educate them about the project, since the lake is close to the municipality.