Langley Environmental Partners Society is hosting an information session to talk about the North Langley Fingered Wetlands on Tuesday, Nov. 21. (Special to the Langley Advance)

Environmentalists reaching out to owners of Langley wetlands

A three-year education effort wraps up around the North Langley Fingered Wetlands.

How many local residents are even aware of an area called the North Langley Fingered Wetlands?

Well, if they live in the area north of 96th Avenue, roughly between 208th Street and east to Allard Crescent (See map below), they’re likely familiar. Otherwise, it’s pretty doubtful.

In actuality, not much has been heard about what Langley Environmental Partners Society (LEPS) is calling “critical wetland habitats.”

And LEPS is hoping to change that by hosting an information meeting later this month.

The area spreads across about 100 private properties in the agricultural land reserve and gets its name from a large number of finger lakes in the region, said LEPS stewardship coordinator Lisa Dreves.

This wetland area include “critical habitat for species at risk,” including the red-legged frog, Pacific water shrew, and great blue heron, she said, noting it also contains shore pine stands that are rare features in the Township.

In 2014, LEPS received $75,000 in funding from the federal government’s wetlands conservation fund, for a three-year project to enhance and restore the North Langley Fingered Wetlands.

The project was designed to involve citizens in stewardship actions, to raise awareness of this important ecological natural heritage feature, and “ultimately” lead to increased “respect for and conservation of the ecological services provided by this biodiverse wetland area.”

But Dreves admits it has been challenging connecting with many of the property owners in the area who live behind closed or locked gates.

Therefore, as the funding for the project runs out, they’ve chosen to host a public information meeting.

While encouraging the general public to attend, LEPS will be hand delivering special invites to landowners from the area, and afixing them to the gates, if necessary, in hopes of reaching some of the property owners.

Beyond the Langley Bog, owned by Metro Vancouver Parks, and a “small chunk” of land near Yeoman that is owned by the Township, Dreves said at least 90 per cent of the property in this wetlands is owned privately.

So, on Tuesday, Nov. 21, LEPS is hosting a community presentation in the Topham Elementary library, from 7 to 8:30 p.m.

The session will be led by Vancouver biologist Monica Pearson, a wetlands expert who has been involved in some restoration efforts at Aldergrove Regional Park.

The information session is called Wetlands: Nature’s Superheroes,’ and Pearson will talk about the ecological services of the wetland ecosystems and the specifics of this designated area.

The event will have what Dreves calls “a special focus” on the free services provided by LEPS to landowners within the area, including invasive plant control, naturescaping, installation of wildlife boxes for bats, swallows, wood ducks, and barn owls, and land care site visits and personalized property prescriptions prepared by professional biologists.

There is no cost for the event, which including free pizza and refreshments, but organizers are asking people to RSVP by calling 604-546-0336 or emailing stewardship@leps.bc.ca.

 

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