Local Conservation Fund Feature Project: Columbia Lake – Lot 48 Ecosystem Restoration

The Kootenay Conservation Program (KCP) in partnership with the Regional District of East Kootenay (RDEK) provide funding for projects that benefit conservation in the area from Spillimacheen to Canal Flats through the Columbia Valley Local Conservation Fund (CVLCF). The purpose of the CVLCF is to provide local financial support for important projects that will contribute to the conservation of our valuable natural areas; one step towards restoring and preserving a healthy environment.

This month’s CVLCF feature project is the Columbia Lake – Lot 48 Ecosystem Restoration undertaken by the Nature Conservancy of Canada. Project partners included Lake Windermere Rod and Gun Club and the Government of Canada.

The goal of the Columbia Lake – Lot 48 Ecosystem Restoration project was to create resilient ecosystems through the restoration of open forest structure and grassland communities in areas where forest ingrowth and encroachment are occurring. Open stands are more resistant to climate change, provide and safeguard communities from catastrophic forest fire and create habitat for threatened species. This restoration benefited the Upper Columbia Valley through the enhancement of wildlife habitat, fire hazard abatement and providing a buffer to the adverse effects of climate change (e.g. drought, increased risk of wildfire). Examples of habitat enhancement include increasing forage for wintering ungulates, such as Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep and elk, and maintaining Columbia ground squirrel habitat which are a key prey species for the red-listed badger.

This project successfully restored more than 21 hectares of dense ingrown Douglas fir forests to an open forest/grassland state using low impact restoration techniques that include using light footprint machinery to transport slash to roadside where it is burned in a blower-assisted sloop. This project contributes to the on-going ecosystem restoration treatments on Lot 48, and future projects in the area will build on this work advancing the commitment of the Nature Conservancy of Canada to maintain and enhance resilient ecosystems, provide habitat for species-at-risk, and protect cultural values on Columbia Lake – Lot 48.

NCC

Click here for more information on Columbia Lake – Lot 48 on the Nature Conservancy of Canada’s website.