Ducks, geese, and a myriad other birds are frequently seen and heard in a newly established wetland on state and federal land east of Creston in Lincoln County known as the Telford wetland. The former limited riparian area of Lake Creek is now a restored 160-acre wetland, home to many species of waterfowl and other birds—some of which are federal or state ‘species of concern’, such as the black-necked stilt, and black tern. In the last 150 years, this bottomland, like so many others, was drained and then farmed. Later, the area was grazed by livestock.
The productive wetland was created in 2006 when a 3 foot tall, 1,500-foot dike was built on state school trust land, managed by DNR. An adjustable concrete drop structure in the dam controls the water depth behind the dike. The wetland spans the property boundary between DNR-managed state trust land and federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands upstream. There are areas of open water, but much of the area is in marshland ideal for waterfowl nesting. Cattle still have access to the edges of the wetland and are beneficial for keeping the undesirable reed canary grass in check.
This beautiful, productive wetland is collaborative effort between public land management agencies and private interests to benefit wildlife and the public. Funding and labor for the project came from several federal, state, and private sources, including the North American Conservation Act, BLM, Washington State Duck Stamp, and Ducks Unlimited.
A livestock water development project on the uplands portion of the state trust land is planned for 2012. It will provide water for cattle and help distribute them more evenly over the range. That development will be paid for with funds from the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) administered by the Natural Resources Conservation Service, and a lessee contribution.
By Dale Warriner, Ritzville Unit Land Manager