The CVWMA was born out of the sustained commitment and enthusiasm of a handful of persistent conservationists, biologists and Creston Valley residents who recognized the importance of Duck Lake and the adjoining wetlands as critical wildlife habitat, especially for nesting and migratory waterfowl. In 1968, the passage of the Creston Valley Wildlife Act delegated a Management Authority to manage the Creston Valley Wildlife Management Area (CVWMA), a 7,000-hectare (17,000-acre) area of provincial Crown land located along the Kootenay River system. For more information on the history of the area, please visit A Little History.
A system of dykes, control structures and pumps was designed and installed in the early 70’s to create a series of managed wetland compartments to manage flood and drought cycles. The system was designed to enhance wildlife production and prevent the loss of wildlife use that would otherwise occur because of the changed management of the Kootenay River system for hydroelectric power generation and flood control.
Historically, before the water control structures were installed, the area flooded with the spring freshet, scouring away most of the rooted vegetation. The water then receded in the summer to expose large mudflats with seasonal vegetation cover. Migrating waterfowl used the extensive mudflats, but waterfowl attempting to nest were faced with floodwaters, poor nesting and brood cover and limited permanent water.
Early habitat management focused on controlling water levels and encouraging emergent and upland vegetation cover for nesting waterfowl. Over time, the focus shifted to maintaining the productivity of the marshes in face of ecological succession.
The current richness and diversity of life forms would not be present on the Creston Valley Wildlife Management Area without habitat management. Because of careful management of water levels, vegetation, and other habitat features since 1968, there are now more species and larger breeding populations of birds and other wildlife at Creston Valley Wildlife Management Area than in previous years.