Pole for osprey nest installed in Idlewild Park

Project just one of many for Columbia Outdoor School focusing on the park and Joseph Creek.

The placement of a pole in Idlewild Park for a bird of prey nesting site is just one of a few projects the Columbia Outdoor School is coordinating as part of the rehabilitation of the area following the construction of a new dam.

The COS worked with BC Hydro to secure a pole that had been replaced and was slated for destruction, finding a place on the north side of the lake for use as a potential osprey nest.

“There are still a number of projects that we are just wrapping up as part of that funding piece, and one of those was an installation of a bird of prey tower or pole and so BC Hydro was very gracious in assisting us with getting that pole in,” said Todd Hebert, the executive director of COS.

“The pole itself is just really there to support the birds of prey that are in the area. There’s been an osprey in the area the last couple of summers. I was out there a week and a half ago; there’s an eagle flying around, so hopefully we will get a nest constructed there and a place for them to reside.”

The project is part of a number of initiatives identified in a management plan for Joseph Creek that was presented to city council last summer.

The project was supported through funding from the National Wetland Conservation Fund from the federal government

Hebert says that there are more projects on the way, and a few that didn’t get finished last fall due to winter.

As soon as winter is over, Hebert says there will be further work to install some fencing to protect habitat areas and wetlands, placing some fish habitat structures and some hydroseeding.

Following the Idlewild Park projects, the Joseph Creek Management Framework identifies a number of initiatives to restore and rehabilitate the creek and surrounding environmental values.

The plan looks to capitalize on community nostalgia, foster partnerships with the city and interested stakeholders and strategically tackle infrastructure requirements.

Connections are already being made with organizations such as the City of Cranbrook, Ktunaxa Nation Council, Regional District of East Kootenay, School District 5, the Aq’am community, and College of the Rockies.

The framework features concerns and priorities for the creek network such as water protocol, data collection, project identification, decision making tools and leveraging funding opportunities.

Hebert introduced the Joseph Creek Management Framework to city council in a presentation last July.

“The goal here was to foster a positive constructive, multi-dimensional community partnerships and collaborations, and I think the key word here is collaboration,” Hebert told council during his appearance in chambers.

“We’ve made several presentations and meetings with our consortium of partners, the initiative partners, project partners and individuals and experts within each of those sectors so we are gathering good solid information. That information is then going to feed into a communication and marketing plan for the overall initiative.”

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