Awarded to Wildsight (Golden Chapter) to enhance swallow habitat through installing artificial nesting structures at places where current nests are slated to be removed, educating private landowners regarding their duties to protect nests, and completing much-needed bank swallow inventory work in the Columbia Valley.

PROPONENT: Wildsight Golden

DESCRIPTION: In 2020, the Columbia Valley Swallow Project (CVSP) engaged 69 volunteers and discovered 92 active Bank Swallow colonies in the region between Canal Flats and Edgewater, indicating that this area provides critical breeding habitat for this species. Breeding habitat is a limiting factor for Bank Swallows because they require very specific breeding conditions (i.e., low-elevation (< 900m), near-vertical banks, with specific substrates). The 2020 CVSP also identified several small nesting sites for Barn Swallows and three large Barn Swallow colonies. Several of those nest sites are under threat due to nest removal and/or future decommissioning of buildings. Habitat conditions in the lower Columbia are important for the recovery of at-risk swallow species and need to be protected, restored in some cases, and enhanced in others – the Upper Columbia Valley Swallow Enhancement Project aims to do this. Due to significant population declines facing these swallows, the high number of colonies identified through the 2020 CVSP, identified threats to colonies including future decommissioning at Barn Swallow nest sites. Due to these findings, the original CSVP evolved into a subsequent three-year (2021-2024) project to enhance swallow habitat and complete additional inventory work.

OBJECTIVE: The Upper Columbia Valley Swallow Enhancement Project is a three-year (2021-2024) project using a multifaceted approach to conserve and enhance habitat for two at-risk swallow species in the Upper Columbia. The main overarching objectives of the project are to: 1) Erect artificial nesting structures for swallows to increase habitat availability; 2) Complete effectiveness monitoring at the artificial nesting structures; 3) Build increased awareness for swallow species and their conservation status; and, 4) Coordinate citizen-scientists and First Nations to inventory/monitor swallow nests.

PHOTOS: Rachel Darvill

Watch the video for an excellent overview of this project.