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Northern Boat Patrol’s efforts on island habitat will help gull populations flourish

“This was a bit of a win-win for our group, as the Northern Boat Patrol actively removes wooden debris from the waterways for safety; now we were able to put it to good use for the gull population and do something that creates a positive long-term environmental impact in the area,” said Ryan Ault, Manager, Field Operations.

In late October, the team enhanced a nesting habitat built for colonial waterbirds (gulls and terns) to encourage further population growth in the area.

During the construction phase of the Keeyask Project, a dedicated nesting island was built for gulls and terns to replace their traditional nesting habitat in the former Gull Rapids area.

“Already this past summer, we have seen common terns nesting, and ring-billed gulls loafing, which is really promising,” said Rachel Boone, Environmental Licensing and Protection. “Before winter set in, we just needed to make some further accommodations to provide young chicks some shade and protection from predators, and also to create microhabitats for plant growth.”

With initial work done by Iron North to create nesting areas on the island, Rachel contacted the Waterways Management group to have the Northern Boat Patrol further naturalize the habitat by arranging wooden debris across the island surface.

According to Rachel, the nesting island will be monitored over the next 15 years to see how the birds are using the area, and to make any additional adjustments to further successful growth of their population.

Man drags driftwood across a sandy beach on an island.

Field Safety Coordinator, Greg Szocs, Indigenous & Community Relations.

Enlarge image: Man drags driftwood across a sandy beach on an island.

Manitoba Hydro workers who worked on the habitat pose for photo on a sandy beach.

The team starting left: Nathan Beardy, Courtney Reeves, Ryan Ault, Greg Szocs, Ivan Keeper, Jeremy Wavey, Jacquie Dram, Colin Monias, and Orenda Paupanakis.

Enlarge image: Manitoba Hydro workers who worked on the habitat pose for photo on a sandy beach.

Woman throws driftwood into a pile on an island’s sandy beach.

Jacquie Dram tossing debris.

Enlarge image: Woman throws driftwood into a pile on an island’s sandy beach.

Three people haul driftwood from the shore line on an island’s sandy beach.

The crew at work: Colin Monias, Courtney Reeves, and Orenda Paupanakis.

Enlarge image: Three people haul driftwood from the shore line on an island’s sandy beach.