March 6 2023, Columbia Valley BC, Canada – Today, The Nature Trust of British Columbia, one of the province’s leading non-profit land conservation organizations, announces that 165 acres (66.9 hectares) of ecologically important land near the unincorporated community of Fairmont Hot Springs has been purchased for conservation. The property is known as the Columbia Lake North – Wetlands and is located near the north end of Columbia Lake and within the traditional territory of the Ktunaxa Nation and the Secwépemc Nation.
After learning of the property’s crowdfunding campaign, which began in early November, Teck Resources Limited (Teck), one of Canada’s leading mining companies, contributed a generous donation to take this campaign over the finish line. Thanks to the generosity of Teck and many other donors, the Columbia Lake North – Wetlands have been conserved and are now protected from purchase and development.
Columbia Lake North – Wetlands is located approximately 1.3 km southeast of The Nature Trust’s Hoodoos Conservation Area which is one of their largest properties at nearly 10,000 acres. The ecologically rich property contains a rare riparian wetland complex, which includes open water, marsh, and swamp wetlands as well as willow-dominated riparian communities.
The wetlands along the Columbia River within the Columbia Valley are designated as a wetland of International Importance (Ramsar) and are one of only 3 sites in BC and 37 in Canada. The conservation area, located within the very dry and cool Interior Douglas-fir (IDFxk) – a biogeoclimatic zone of conservation concern – will protect vital staging areas for waterfowl, winter range for ungulates, and strengthen a regional wildlife connectivity corridor. In turn, this conservation area will increase the resiliency of adjacent nearby protected and conserved lands, including the East Side Columbia Lake Wildlife Management Area, which it directly borders.
Wetlands provide incredible services to the environment as they regulate and filter water flow, preventing potentially catastrophic flooding. The Columbia Lake North – Wetlands conservation area is also of continental significance to waterfowl under the North American Waterfowl Management Plan and provide habitat and breeding grounds for the American Wigeon, Trumpeter Swan, and Common Goldeneye among other species.
The provincially identified Ungulate Winter Range (UWR) is crucial to meeting the winter habitat requirements of ungulate species such as Moose, Elk, Mule Deer, and White-tailed Deer. It also provides an important movement corridor for Grizzly Bear, Elk, Wolverine, and American Badger.
The Columbia Lake North-Wetlands provide sanctuary for a diverse variety of at-risk and endangered species, including the Great Blue Heron (of special concern in BC) and American Badger (endangered under the federal Species at Risk Act [SARA]), the Barn Swallow and Common Nighthawk (both threatened under SARA), the California Gull (endangered in BC) and Western Painted Turtle (of special concern under SARA). The threatened Bank Swallow and endangered American Badger have designated Critical Habitat on the property.
The purchase of this land ensures that the delicate ecosystems and vibrant biodiversity has a chance to thrive. The conservation of land is key to tackling the twin crises of biodiversity loss and climate change.
We gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the Province of British Columbia through the Ministry of Land, Water and Resource Stewardship. This project was undertaken with the financial support of Environment and Climate Change Canada, Teck, the Kootenay Wildlife Heritage Fund, the Kootenay Conservation Program, Val & Dick Bradshaw, Paul & Mona Sinclair, The Wood Brothers, and Pan American Silver contributed to the purchase of this property with a match from the North American Wetlands Conservation Act. Special thanks to the many individuals, British Columbians, and Kootenay residents who donated to the conservation of this property and our many partners who supported this project in other ways.
“We are incredibly grateful for all the generous donations we have received and are humbled by Teck’s contribution in the final stages to bring this over the line. As a result of their support, we are able to protect these vital wetlands, and the species that call it home, for generations to come.”
”This property is teeming with life and the benefits these wetlands and forests provide to our planet are nothing short of awe-inspiring. By protecting the Columbia Lake North-Wetlands, we are able to ensure that the at-risk species within are able to thrive and that its climate benefits continue in perpetuity.”
- Dr. Jasper Lament, CEO of The Nature Trust of BC.
“Teck has set a goal to become a nature positive company by 2030. As part of that commitment, we are working cooperatively to conserve ecologically and culturally important wetlands such as those in the Columbia Valley. We are pleased to support the Nature Trust of B.C. to help ensure this internationally recognized wetland area is protected for future generations.”
- Jeff Hanman, Senior Vice President, Sustainability and External Affairs, Teck.
- Columbia Lake North – Wetlands is a part of a biogeoclimatic zone of conservation concern and is designated as a Wetland of International Importance (Ramsar) – one of only 37 sites in Canada and three in BC.
- The conservation area is within the traditional territory of the Ktunaxa Nation and the Secwépemc Nation.
- The conservation area is approximately 1.3 km southeast of the Hoodoos conservation area – one of the largest of The Nature Trust’s holdings at nearly 10,000 acres.
- The land contains wetland and riparian ecosystems, which are rare in BC, as well as pockets of dry forest with old-growth characteristics.
- The wetlands reduce and control flooding, replenish groundwater, and create reservoirs for biodiversity and water purification.
- Preservation of freshwater wetlands provides a nature-based climate solution to mitigate climate change. Protecting Canada’s existing carbon stocks is imperative to successful climate action.
- This acquisition increases the resilience of adjacent conservation lands by preserving habitat and migration corridors, including crucial habitats for wildlife, winter range for ungulates, and staging areas for waterfowl.
- The conservation area provides habitat for several species of waterfowl, including the Common Goldeneye, Trumpeter Swan, and American Wigeon.
- The conservation area will protect at-risk and endangered species such as the provincially Blue-listed Great Blue Heron, the American Badger (endangered under SARA), the Barn Swallow and Common Nighthawk (both Threatened under SARA), the provincially Red-listed California Gull, Western Painted Turtle (Special Concern under SARA), and the Bank Swallow (threatened under SARA).
- The conservation area contains provincially identified Ungulate Winter Range, which supports Moose, Elk, Mule Deer and White-tailed Deer.
- The conservation area is found within an important movement corridor for Grizzly Bear, Badgers, Wolverines, and Elk.
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The Nature Trust of British Columbia is a leading non-profit land conservation organization with over 50 years of success protecting and caring for B.C.’s most critical habitats. Since 1971, The Nature Trust of BC and its partners have acquired more than 73,000 hectares (180,000 acres) of ecologically significant land to save vulnerable wildlife, fish and plants.
As one of Canada’s leading mining companies, Teck is committed to responsible mining and mineral development with major business units focused on copper, zinc, and steelmaking coal. Copper, zinc and high-quality steelmaking coal are required for the transition to a low-carbon world. Headquartered in Vancouver, Canada, Teck’s shares are listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbols TECK.A and TECK.B and the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol TECK.
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The Nature Trust of BC
Alicia Collyear, Account Director