Sackville Town Council has approved signing an agreement with Ducks Unlimited Canada to construct a six-acre wetland conservation area on land the town has acquired north of St. James Street behind the Marshlands Inn.
Town manager Jamie Burke told councillors last week that under the agreement, Ducks Unlimited will construct, maintain and manage the wetland for 30 years.
In response to a series of questions raised by Councillor Andrew Black, Burke said the wetland would not pose a risk to nearby homes if heavy rains breached the earthen berm that will enclose it.
“Ducks Unlimited has a risk assessment program,” Burke said. “They inspect these things twice every year, so they do their own investigations and evaluations on an ongoing basis.”
Burke added that if there were a heavy rainstorm, water would flow out of the Ducks Unlimited wetland into deep ditches and the new retention pond that the town is digging south of St. James St.
“The agreement also requires Ducks Unlimited to provide proof of liability insurance naming the Town of Sackville as co-insured, which we do with all agreements that we enter into with third parties,” Burke said.
Councillor Black also asked about mosquitoes breeding in the new wetland.
“There’s mosquitoes there now,” Burke answered, “and mosquitoes breed in those small, shallow, little pools of water,” he added. “I guess the idea of this Ducks Unlimited pond is that there would be a consistent amount of water in the pond, which is less favourable for mosquito breeding.”
Burke also suggested that the wetland will provide habitat for birds, insects and other species that eat mosquitoes and their larvae.
“So, having this type of managed wetland is a good thing,” he said. “We’re certainly not going to say it’s going to reduce the number of mosquitoes, but it is a managed project by Ducks Unlimited so there is some assurance that it’s not going to make matters worse.”
Burke pointed out that with 400 to 500 wetland areas in New Brunswick alone and more than 2,000 in Atlantic Canada, Ducks Unlimited is used to managing projects like this.
“This isn’t the first time we’ve partnered with Ducks Unlimited,” he said. “We’ve got an award-winning Waterfowl Park, which Ducks Unlimited was instrumental in creating and managing.”
To read a previous story on the Ducks Unlimited project, click here.