With restoration of a former reservoir now complete, the Town of Creston has opened the new wetlands.
On Oct. 18, town staff and members of the public attended the grand opening of the Dwight and Rosamund Moore Community Wetland, located at 230 24 Ave. North.
Following completion of the Arrow Creek Water Distribution System in 2018, all of the former open reservoirs that once supplied water to the Town of Creston were decommissioned in favour of modern, closed-system reservoirs.
The Crawford Hill site, consisting of 4.3 hectares (10 acres), remained mostly unused and fell into disrepair. In 2020, town council determined that the reservoir site should be repurposed into a natural wetland ecosystem and public green space to create value for the community.
Environmental restoration began in early 2021, with Creston Community Forest (CCF) as a major contributor to the project. Funding was supported by Columbia Basin Trust and Regional District of Central Kootenay.
“We envision this property as being available to schools to study biology and environmental concerns,” said Jim Elford, town councillor and representative of CCF. “Aside from the educational component, we see this as an open-air, natural site with great views right in the heart of our community.”
The area has been transformed from a relatively featureless grass depression into a diverse wetland habitat with three shallow ponds. Surrounding the new ponds are a variety of wood and rock features, including two hibernacula (underground shelter for cold-blooded animals, like snakes, to hibernate below the frost line).
The wetlands were named after after long-time residents of the Creston Valley, Dwight and Rosamond Moore, who have been recognized for their significant contributions to local wetlands and wildlife.
In 1967, Dwight was recruited to develop and design a plan for the future 7,000-hectare Creston Valley Wildlife Management Area (CVWMA).
His wife, Rosamund, joined him here in 1968, where she took an accounting course. She utilized her skills to create administrative, payroll, and records systems for the CVWMA, which she maintained and updated over the years.
Dwight was appointed the first manager and dedicated 20 years of his life to the CVWMA, in which time wildlife flocked to the wetlands. The area successfully received recognition as a Ramsar site (1994), an Important Bird Area (2002), and an Important Amphibian and Reptile Area (2005).
Dwight died in 1989, and his family is honoured to keep his memory alive through this project.
“The whole concept of a wetland in town is really innovative,” said Rosamund at the grand opening. “I’m very grateful to the community, the town, and the people who developed the plan, proposals, and all the stuff that goes into a project like this. It’s extremely touching, and it’s something that I and my family will never forget.”
The park is now open for the public to explore the trails, look for wildlife, and enjoy views of the Creston Valley.
“A moment’s glance will tell you that it’s going to be an incredible place,” said Rosamund. “It’s a gift to birders and explorers of every kind, as the water will attract many, many species.”
While it still looks unfinished, it will continue to evolve over time, as grass, vegetation, and more water fills in. In the future, there are plans to add educational signage and bat condos.