Scene 17: Connaught Pond
Developed as an irrigation water reservoir, the pond and its surrounding forest and grassland vegetation also offers a variety of water and recreation uses including summer and winter ice fishing, kayaking and paddle boarding.
During the past 50 years, Russian Olive trees and other invasive plants have crowded out many native plants and bushes around the pond. Recently, an extensive riparian restoration project spearheaded by the South East Alberta Watershed Alliance (SEAWA) has begun. Community volunteers, students, and city staff are involved in research, education, “on-the-ground” control of invasives, and replanting with native species.
Birds such as Caspian Terns, Yellow-Headed and Red-Winged Blackbirds, as well as several species of ducks, frequent this pond in warmer months. Across the causeway to the north, a scenic coulee trail leads down through woodlands and grassy areas to Seven Persons Creek and the extensive trail and park system along its banks to the South Saskatchewan River.
This pond and adjacent golf course, as well as a nearby school and residential district, was named in honour of the Duke of Connaught, Governor General of Canada from 1911 to 1916.
A. Schools In
Hatters learning about the many invasive plant species found in the Medicine Hat area. These include trees like Russian Olive and Common Buckthorn, flowering invasive plants like Creeping Bell Flower, and invasive grasses like Downy Brome. Controlling them in your home yards reduces these noxious plants and prevents them from establishing and spreading into our green spaces.
B. Blackbirds of A Different Colour
The Red-Winged Black bird makes its home around water bodies like ponds, creeks, and river.
C. Just Fishin’
A popular pastime to throw a cast and perhaps land a “big one” or to relax in an ice tent jigging away.
D. Beauty or Beast?
Although an attractive tree with silvery leaved branches, the Russian Olive tree, is a serious threat to the health of city ponds and reservoirs like Connaught Pond, and along both sides of the South Saskatchewan River. The South East Alberta Watershed Alliance is working with the city to find ways to control its establishment and spread at Connaught Pond and in other areas of the city. These pictures show Russian Olive trees and its leaves and fruit. Home owners can help by not planting this invasive tree and choosing grow-me-instead alternatives* such as native trees and shrubs like Prairie Cottonwood, Manitoba Maple, Saskatoon, and Golden Current.
- All photos by Len Moser.