Friday, 21 July 2017 07:00

The Castle-Crown Wilderness Coalition is fighting back against invasive weeds within the community

Written by  Demi Knight
Rate this item
(0 votes)
Volunteers work beside the river to rid the water beds of noxious plants and weeds in last year’s pull. Volunteers work beside the river to rid the water beds of noxious plants and weeds in last year’s pull. Photo courtesy Castle-Crown Wilderness Coalition Wetland Weed Pull

The annual wetlands weed pull is back for the 10th year in a row to help fight the ongoing battle of invasive weeds in southwest Alberta.

Officials with the Castle Crown Wilderness Coalition (CCWC) are hoping once again this year to have volunteers working with the weed pulls so the helping hands can make light work out of ecological preservation.
James Tweedie, Castle-Crown Wilderness Coalition board member and past conservation director, says the event has many participants who come to help in any way they can for portions of the day.
“We always get participation from local families who share our commitment to keeping this special area as free of weeds as we can,” he says. “This is dedicated work and people should be aware of that when they register .... all help is good and different people will choose their own length of time and effort. We appreciate all the help we can get.”
This weed pull event set for July 25 is done in partnership with Alberta Parks, Parks Canada and Alberta Forestry to help conserve land and keep it free from noxious weeds and invasive plants that can tamper with the balance of natural ecosystems.
This year, the pull is set to run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. with a barbecue at the end of the day to reward the hard work and efforts of everyone who stopped by to help.
Tweedie says it’s hard to know the exact number of participants that show up annually to help with these events, but there’s always of good number of people rallying around it who care about the environment as much as the organizers.
“I don’t readily have the stats for last year, but we would have had around 30 to 40 people and probably picked more than 40 big bags of various weeds. I know I personally served more than 40 burgers and hot dogs as well last year at the T-Bar Pub barbecue afterwards.”
The Westcastle River Wetlands Ecological Reserve where the weed pull is being hosted this year is located directly across from the down-flow of water from Castle Mountain Resort. Because of the reserve’s proximity to this resort, the landscape has been subject to many detrimental impacts from both the development of the hill and continued use.
This reserve has already been identified by Alberta Parks as protected land thanks to its unique array of botanical species and habitats for rare wildlife.
The weed pull takes place at the Westcastle River Wetlands Ecological Reserve because organizers are hoping to not only keep the habitat healthy, but also educate members of the public on its importance to the community.
“This reserve is home to the Long-toed Salamanders and the breeding waters for bulltrout and Westslope Cutthroat trout. It is a hotspot for riparian bird species, providing habitat for many warblers that would be rare to see in this part of the Rockies,” says Tweedie, of just a selection of wildlife which call the reserve home.
“As stewards of the Reserve the Castle-Crown Wilderness Coalition has kept a close eye on this area to ensure no further degradation happens to it and obviously one of the most immediate impacts has been the proliferation of weeds from all the landscape disturbances associated with the residential and ski run developments, as well as from past cattle-grazing practices in the valley,” adds Tweedie.
Although this annual weed pull does occur to tackle a large existing problem within the community, organizers hope people will come out and enjoy the day in the sun, working with like-minded people and helping the environment as they do so.
Volunteers are asked to bring their own digging tools, gloves and drinking water and any snacks they want throughout the day before the evening’s barbecue.

Read 464 times

More Alberta News...