April 21, 2021 – Friends of Cortes Island (FOCI) and Linnaea Farm Society (Linnaea) are happy to announce the launch of the Dillon Creek Wetland Restoration Project.
This project, which has been years in the making, will benefit the health of our precious lakes, create a wonderful new habitat for wetland wildlife; and provide fantastic opportunities for nature-based learning and community engagement.

Love the Lakes and Wonderful Wetlands

In 2014, Hague and Gunflint lakes experienced significant algae blooms, and further blooms have occurred each year since. Ongoing blooms can be detrimental to the long-term health of the lakes, reducing water quality and harming lake wildlife. Blooms are caused by nutrient inputs including from residential/agricultural runoff, leaky septic systems, and erosion during intense high rain events.

FOCI’s Love the Lakes Project has been working since 2014 to monitor the health of the lakes, educate the community, and find solutions to reduce nutrient inputs.

In 2018, FOCI conducted a feasibility study to look into bioremediation solutions for the lakes. It concluded that one of the best options is to restore wetlands on Linnaea Farm, to help remove nutrients from waters entering the lakes from Dillon Creek, which drains much of the adjacent Watershed, and flows through Linnaea farm. We brought in wetland restoration specialist Tom Biebighauser to draw up the wetland restoration designs.

Wetlands are the kidneys of the planet. They filter out nutrients, contaminants, and sediments from waters flowing into aquatic environments. Restoring wetlands along Dillon Creek and elsewhere on Cortes will help to reduce nutrient inputs into our lakes. This action will also enhance valuable habitat for a diversity of wetland dependant species and Species at Risk, such as frogs, newts, bats, dragonflies, birds, and waterfowl.

Dillon Creek Wetland Restoration – what’s involved

FOCI will administer the project and partner with Linnaea Farm to deliver this on the ground wetland restoration project.

Restoring wetlands along Dillon Creek will involve the construction of two wetlands along a section of the creek, using heavy equipment under the direct supervision of Wetland Restoration Expert Tom Biebighauser. Restored areas will be fenced to exclude livestock, planted with native vegetation, stewarded to control invasive species, and monitored to measure success in improving water quality and enhancing habitat for wildlife. Biological monitoring and planning is underway, and construction of the restored wetlands is scheduled for August 2021.

This project will benefit the entire Cortes Community by helping to keep our precious lakes clean and healthy for recreation, drinking water, and climate resiliency.

This project will also provide an invaluable public resource for environmental education and stimulate our local economy by providing 12 part time or contract jobs. You may have already noticed some jobs being posted for this project. Keep an eye out for more job postings and contracts in the coming months.

This project would not be possible without the generous financial and in-kind support of local individuals, organizations, and the Government of Canada.

FOCI and Linnaea Farm Society would like to thank the following individuals and organizations for their financial support of this project. Special thanks to Karen Mahon for her help in fundraising for this project.

  • Environment and Climate Change Canada, Eco-Action Community Funding Program
  • Victoria, Ian, and Lucinda Watson
  • Carol Newell
  • Dana and Joel Solomon via Makeway Foundation: Joel and Dana Solomon Fund
  • Sherry and Mark Deutschmann via Makeway Foundation: Joel and Dana Solomon Fund
  • Bryan MacKinnon & John Finlay
  • Amy Robertson

Project Partners Include:

  • Linnaea Farm Society
  • Friends of Cortes Island Society
  • Cortes Community Health Association
  • The Forest Trust for the Children of Cortes Island Society
  • Klahoose First Nation
  • Cortes Island Streamkeepers
  • BC Wildlife Federation
  • Salix Wetland Restoration
  • Wetland Restoration and Training LLC–Tom Biebighauser
  • Cortes Island Ornithologists

How you can help

1. Make a donation to help support this important project. Please donate now, if you can.
Send a cheque, payable to Friends of Cortes Island Society, memo: Dillon Creek Wetland Restoration at the address below. Or donate to FOCI online.
Donations of any size are very welcome and much appreciated.

2. Protect the lakes! Prevent erosion and manage your nutrients. Keep compost and manure piles covered. Get your septic systems maintained or upgraded.

3. Volunteer to help with the project. Contact FOCI at friendsofcortes@gmail.com if you’d like to volunteer or for more information.

For background information, studies, and reports visit the FOCI website. We will be updating our website soon with more information about the project – stay tuned!