Awarded to the Nature Conservancy of Canada to create resilient ecosystems through the restoration of open forest and grassland communities in areas where forest ingrowth and encroachment are occurring.
PROPONENT: Nature Conservancy of Canada
DESCRIPTION: The Columbia Lake – Lot 48 Ecosystem Restoration project successfully restored more than 14 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. A volunteer event with members of the Lake Windermere Rod & Gun club took place March 2016 to brush remaining live stems and lower limbs that were missed in the unit (due to snow cover at time of treatment). Long term photo-monitoring plots were established within the treatment area to monitor vegetative response (grass & forbs) by reducing the crown closure of conifers. Pre- and post-treatment photos were collected and long-term monitoring will continue.
OBJECTIVE: 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 were occurring. Open stands are more resistant to climate change, provide and safeguard communities from catastrophic forest fire and create habitat for threatened species. This will benefit 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 includes 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.
PHOTOS: J Thorsell, Richard Klafki/NCC