The long-awaited wetland program in The Village of Riverhurst and Riverhurst Communities in Bloom marked its grand opening on Saturday morning.
Development of the Wetland has been in the works for numerous years. In 2018, work began to re-establish healthy levels of water as well as adding safeguards to monitor and control flooding.
Prairie wetlands are powerful ecosystems and are an important part of native prairie biodiversity. As much as 80% of Saskatchewan's wildlife relies partially on the shelter and food found in areas such as wetlands, to survive.
The project was made possible due to funding from the Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Environmental Damages Fund.
Because of the project, the wetland will remain viable, sustainable and healthy, explained project lead, Penny Gustafson, in a statement.
“The Riverhurst Wetland restoration shows that even following years of drought, a small wetland can be returned to its natural state and become home and habitat to a remarkable number of plant and animal species,” stated Gustafson. “We have already counted more than 20 bird species here, and as the wetland matures, we hope to see many more species return.”
Gustafson also elaborated on the countless hours of hard work that contributed to the opening of the wetlands.
“It's been a tremendous amount of work, just hundreds and hundreds of volunteer hours to get where we are,” she explained. “But what we have now is a beautiful site. It has fully accessible walking paths with educational signage along the way.
“We have at least 20 species of birds nesting in the wetland, already this year, the first year that it has been redeveloped, and we've planted close to 700 new trees.”
This site will be used as a learning and demonstration site for residents in the area, visitors, other municipalities and landowners and act as an educational venue.