The Nature Trust of British Columbia has purchased 165.2 acres (66.9 hectares) of important habitat in the Columbia River Valley. This property, referred to as Columbia Lake North – Wetlands, is located at the north end of Columbia Lake, in the unincorporated community of Fairmont Hot Springs and within the traditional territory of the Ktunaxa Nation and the Secwepemc (Shuswap Band). Columbia Lake North – Wetlands is about 1.3 km southeast of the Hoodoos conservation area, the largest of the Nature Trust’s holdings at 10,000 acres. The acquisition of this conservation land will protect relatively undisturbed wetland and riparian ecosystems, which are rare in BC.

This conservation land consists of wetland, riparian floodplain, and forest habitat along the Columbia and Dutch Rivers at the north end of Columbia Lake. The majority of the land is a riparian wetland complex that includes open water, marsh and swamp wetlands mixed with willow-dominated riparian communities and pockets of dry forest, including some with old-growth characteristics.

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Wetlands provide numerous ecosystem services, including flood control, groundwater replenishment, reservoirs for biodiversity, and water purification. These services benefit people and wildlife all along the Columbia River Valley, making the protection of wetland ecosystems very important.

Not only is Columbia Lake North – Wetlands in a biogeoclimatic zone of conservation concern – the very dry cool Interior Douglas-fir (IDFxk), it will increase the resiliency of adjacent conservation lands including critical staging areas for waterfowl, important winter range for ungulates, and vital habitat for numerous other species.

The wetlands in the Columbia Valley are of continental significance to waterfowl under the North American Waterfowl Management Plan and are designated as a Wetland of International Importance (Ramsar) – one of only 37 sites in Canada and three in BC. This conservation area provides habitat for several waterfowl species including American Wigeon, Trumpeter Swan, and Common Goldeneye.

This conservation area will protect a variety of species and ecosystems of concern. The Blue-listed Great Blue Heron and Red-listed American Badger (Endangered under the federal Species at Risk Act [SARA]) have both been observed on the property, while the Barn Swallow and Common Nighthawk (both Threatened under SARA), Red-listed California Gull, and Western Painted Turtle (Special Concern under SARA) have been observed nearby. Both the Bank Swallow (Threatened under SARA) and American Badger have designated Critical Habitat on the property.

There are two plant communities of concern within this conservation area; Aspen – Dogwood – Water Birch mid-bench floodplain occurs along a portion of Dutch Creek, and a small area of Blue-listed Swamp Horsetail – Beaked Sedge occurs near the south end of the property. The conservation area contains a provincially identified Ungulate Winter Range supporting Moose, Elk, Mule Deer and White-tailed Deer. It is also within an important movement corridor for Grizzly Bear, Elk, Mountain Goat, Wolverine, and Badger.

The acquisition of this conservation land demonstrates The Nature Trust’s commitment to protecting ecologically vulnerable ecosystems in BC. We look forward to protecting this fascinating landscape in perpetuity.

Thank you for protecting this land for future generations

Your generous donations helped us protect this beautiful land for generations to come.

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