Public Notice

Pope National Wildlife Area, Manitoba – Pope National Wildlife Area Water Control Structure Re-naturalization Project.

Date: April 24, 2023.  The Canadian Wildlife Service must determine whether the proposed breach and re-naturalization of a water control structure, located within the boundaries of Pope National Wildlife Area, Manitoba, is likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects.

To help inform this determination, the Canadian Wildlife Service is inviting comments from the public respecting that determination. All comments received will be considered public [and may be posted online]. For more information, individuals should consult the Privacy Notice https://iaacaeic.gc.ca/050/evaluations/protection on the Registry website. Written comments must be submitted by August 30, 2023 to:

Jeffrey Harder, Protected Areas Specialist

115 Perimeter Road, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, S7N 0X4

306.241.0411

jeffrey.harder@ec.gc.ca

 

The Proposed Project

Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) is proposing to breach a water control structure and re-naturalize the upstream wetland basins within the Pope National Wildlife Area (NWA). This project currently affects wetland and upland management with one (1) water control structure controlling water levels and conveyance throughout the complex.

The Pope National Wildlife Area is administered under the Wildlife Area Regulations of the Canada Wildlife Act. The 30 hectare National Wildlife Area contains approximately 16 hectares of freshwater wetlands. The water control dam was built by Canadian National Railway in 1926 to hold back water for refilling steam engines. Ducks Unlimited Canada was given control of the area to manage it for wildlife 1967.  Due to its age, the earthen dam and water control structure has deteriorated and soon will not be able to maintain water levels within this wetland. 

The scope of this project includes:

  • Breach of earthen dam, including controlled drawdown of water to natural (pre-dam) levels, resulting in a roughly 3.25 hectare remaining freshwater wetland after the work is complete.
  • Reclamation of surfaces exposed during the breach using fully photodegradable erosion control blankets and an appropriate seed mix.
  • Re-vegetation with native plant species of upland and wetland habitats that were formerly underwater prior to the dam breach.

This work will disturb the current vegetation. 

The proposed work will be completed in mid-summer 2024. Water drawdown will begin after July 15 to leave the area undisturbed during the migratory bird breeding season. Any disturbance to migratory birds and other wildlife will be minimal. All exposed soil surfaces will be seeded with suitable grass species and other riparian species in the fall 2024 and spring 2025.

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