Approximately 143 acres of ecologically important land located near Fairmont Hot Springs Resort has now been protected from development and will be conserved as a natural wetland, after the Nature Trust of British Columbia purchased the land.
The newly conserved land will add to a network of connected conservation areas totalling over 11,000 acres of relatively undisturbed wetlands, riparian, and grassland habitat.
The Nature Trust of British Columbia, a leading non-profit land conservation organization dedicated to conserving B.C.’s biological diversity, has acquired over 500 conservation properties across the province since 1971, and is committed to helping preserve the Columbia Wetlands.
While most of the acquired area is made up of wetlands, part of it is also native grasses, which offers biodiversity and an area that can support many threatened and endangered species in B.C.
“It’s so incredibly important to protect both our wetlands and our grasses in British Columbia,” said Jasper Lament, CEO of the Nature Trust of BC.
“The Columbia Wetlands are internationally important wetlands, and are part of an ecological zone of provincial importance.”
B.C. is endowed with the highest number of species of any province or territory in Canada. Yet, according the Trust, 43 per cent of these species are on the watch lists because of low or dwindling populations.
That’s why the Trust is dedicated to conserving land.
“It’s an incredibly important place for for our British Columbians and we’re just thrilled to have the support of the company so that we can protect it forever,” said Lament.
“And now, one of our largest properties is, is in your backyard in the Columbia Valley.”
The Trust will have a team of conservation land management staff based out of Cranbook that will help take care and maintain the property and the hoodoos.
The team will manage plant communities and access to the land, monitor wildlife usage, restore habitats and help provide optimum living conditions for the local species.
Lament says the biggest threat to the land includes property developments and other non-conservation uses.
“Wetlands are habitat for numerous different species, it’s really important to maintain habitat functionality and these wetlands are a key way to buffer the effects of climate change,” said Lament.
“Conserving land is in credibly important to protecting the lifestyle people that live in the Columbia Valley and the entire Kootenay region.”
The hoodoos and the property will remain open to the public throughout the acquisition.
The purchase of the land was supported by two local groups, the East Kootenay Wildlife Association and the Canal Flats Wilderness club, both of which contributed to creating the preserve.