The British Columbia Waterfowl Society was established in 1961 through the efforts of Barry Leach, F.S. Auger and others, in order to support the conservation of waterfowl and to maintain refuge areas. After surveying possible sites, Reifel Island was determined to be the best site for a sanctuary. Mr. G. Reifel leased land to the society at $1 a year, on which the Reifel Bird Sanctuary was built. In 1963 the province of B.C. declared 700 acres of these marshes a Provincial Waterfowl Refuge.