Hal Kaina of Canton received the Wildlife Award for his construction of a wetland.

Hal Kaina of Canton received the Wildlife Award for his construction of a wetland.

The one-acre area north of town was transformed from a wooded area to a habitat in two years and was completed in the fall of 2012. Kaina was not using the land, noticed its marsh-like quality and decided to make it into a wetland, as many in the area had previously been drained.

“Anymore it’s kind of hard to find a location to hunt fowl, and I thought it would be nice to have an area on my own property to do that,” he said. “On a normal year, it might have been hard to get it constructed, but being dry, it worked out real good.”

The project involved removing trees and dirt and establishing a piping system. The pipes run from a nearby creek to the marsh using valves. On an opposite end, the water level can be raised or lowered depending on the desired outcome. In the spring, food can be planted for wildlife. During hunting season, it can be closed off and flooded, which brings in geese and ducks.

Those involved in the project were Natural Resources Conservation Service officials, Farm Service Agency office, McPherson County, Unruh Excavating, Lance Ohnmact, Barun Shively, Dwayne Kursenbrock and Mel Alexander.

Kaina said the hardest part about the projects was going through the paperwork, but he said it was worth it.

“I think it was a fun project, because if you know the history of McPherson County, most of the marshes were drained for farming, and it’s kind of a reversal of that,” he said. “I think that’s why it got nominated, because it’s non-typical of projects people are doing these days. I’m pretty excited.”

Kaina expects turkeys, birds and deer to visit his habitat. About 8 to 10 inches of rain are needed in order to fill it up.

“I sure hope we get some rain sometime,” he said. “I’m pretty excited about hopefully getting some rain and getting to see some waterfowl in there. I might see some larger numbers, and it will be fun to see what shows up.”

This is Kaina’s first conservation award.