Town of Creston gets grant to ‘undevelop’ reservoir site

By Lorne Eckersley

A last minute grant application earlier in the winter has resulted in a $75,000 award to help return the Crawford Hill reservoir site to a more natural state.

The Columbia Basin Trust announced last week that 29 project applications had been approved under the Environment Grants umbrella for a total of nearly $820,000. The Town of Creston grant is the largest.

“Each project has a specific focus, but altogether they have broad benefits for strengthening the environmental well-being of this region,” said Brianna Burley, Columbia Basin Trust Manager, Environment. “By undertaking on-the-ground work today, these organizations are creating positive results that will stretch into the future.”

The Town of Creston’s proposal is to convert formerly open water reservoirs, which have been unused for years, and 10 acres of land into habitats for species ranging from barn swallows, to western toads, to moths. Activities will include removing old liners, re-sloping steep embankments, developing shallow-water wetlands and fish habitat, building a bat condo and installing educational signage.

“The project will allow the municipality to return unusable land back to public use while increasing, improving and providing habitat for various species,” said Mike Moore, Chief Administrative Officer. “The diversity of wetlands and fish habitat will provide an opportunity for visitors to the area, including Creston Valley youth, to better appreciate and learn about the natural world.”

The purpose of the Environment Grants program is to help fund projects that target ecosystems, climate, water and environmental education. In various locations around the Basin, Living Lakes Canada will work with citizens, local governments, and others to collect data, that otherwise would not be collected. This information can then be used in water management decisions, climate adaptation planning, and conservation planning to ensure sustainable water supplies for human use and to maintain healthy ecosystems.

“Groundwater helps maintain water levels and quality in wetlands, streams, rivers and lakes, which are vital for healthy ecosystems and provide habitat for fish, waterfowl and wildlife,” said Carol Luttmer, Program Coordinator. “Monitoring groundwater provides information that could be used to manage multiple needs.”

“Environment Grants are just one of the ways the Trust supports environmental efforts around the region,” the CBT press release said. “Learn more about its other initiatives, like the Climate Action, Ecosystem Enhancement and Community Wildfire programs, at ourtrust.org/environment.”

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