The Brooks and District Fish and Game Association (BFGA) is embarking on a habitat enhancement project to plant and irrigate approximately 12,000 trees and shrubs on 20 acres in a portion of the Brooks Aqueduct Site.
The conservation area, which is managed by the BFGA, began as a Buck for Wildlife project that was initiated in the 1970s. The first phase of the project included new ditches with trees and habitat re-established south of the existing parking lot that then extended west and then north to the Brooks Aqueduct trout pond. Subsequently, the second half of the project was completed, which included the 20 acres targeted for enhancement. This water delivery system provided irrigation to the trees and shelterbelts but was discontinued approximately 20 years ago and is no longer usable.
With grant funding a few years ago, the County of Newell planted new trees south of the parking lot, which the County waters occasionally. Also located within the area is the trout pond. The EID monitors the water level of the pond and adds water in the spring and late fall as necessary. Over the years, there have been many dedicated and valued volunteers who spend their time and efforts maintaining the conservation area.
This conservation area provides significant ecological value as well as recreational value for the surrounding communities and its members. Located south of the Brooks Aqueduct National and Provincial Historic Site, it also provides visitors to the Brooks Aqueduct recreational opportunities to enjoy in the area.
The area is used year-round for recreational activities. In the summer, folks often canoe, kayak, and fish on the trout pond and walk the beautiful nature trail around the pond. In the winter, ice fishing, skating, snow shoeing, cross county skiing and walking are popular activities. The property is also utilized as a pheasant release site. This project would enhance recreational value of the property, including the hunting experience for the pheasant release and opportunities for bird and wildlife viewing.
The existing trees, shrubs and wetland vegetation provide important habitat areas for many wildlife species. The completion of this habitat enhancement project will provide additional habitat and nesting areas for both game and non-game wildlife including deer, waterfowl, pheasants and songbirds.
For this habitat enhancement project to be successful and continue to provide the value described above, the project objectives include:
- Completion of site surveys
- Completion of preparation work for tree planting
- Installation of a water delivery system to/on property
- Planting of approximately 12,000 trees and shrubs
- Completion of ditch preparation work including repair of existing ditches and construction of new ditches
- Maintain consistent water supply to the site (ongoing)
The BFGA has a long history of involvement in this area and is dedicated to successfully executing this project to preserve and maintain the integrity of this unique conservation area. Pheasants Forever Calgary is a committed partner along with the Eastern Irrigation District in this project.
Further funding is being sought.