Awarded to the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) to restore 20-30 hectares of Rocky Mountain Douglas‐fir forest to dry open forest structure in this Conservation Area that provides important habitat for wildlife and serves as a linkage corridor used by species migrating between the Purcells and Kootenay National Park.

PROPONENT: Nature Conservancy of Canada

DESCRIPTION: The Luxor Linkage Conservation Area provides important habitat for Grizzly Bear, Mule Deer, Mountain Goat, Kokanee Salmon, and Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep, along with a number of other significant and at-risk species like Badger and Common Nighthawk. In addition to providing important habitat, the Conservation Area also serves as a linkage corridor used by migrating wildlife.

Habitat alteration and the suppression of frequent, low-intensity wildfires can reduce the viability of this important wildlife habitat and movement corridor. By thinning forests where forest ingrowth and encroachment have occurred to restore open forest grassland ecosystems, NCC is improving the viability of biodiversity on the Conservation Area and helping build resilience in a regionally important ecosystem that is susceptible to the impacts of climate change. This not only benefits wildlife but also addresses the threat that forest ingrowth and high intensity wildfire poses to local communities.

OBJECTIVE: In 2018, a registered professional forester was hired to complete a vegetation management plan and restoration prescriptions, and forestry contractors were hired to complete slashing treatments and burn slash piles in both years of the project, with a total of 27.5 ha of Interior Douglas-fir forest habitat restored. In order to minimize soil disturbance that impact archaeological values on the project site, all the work was completed during the winter season on frozen ground and with specialized equipment that is low-impact. Before slashing treatments began, the East Kootenay Invasive Species Council was hired to coordinate invasive species control on the project site to mitigate the risk of spread following potential soil disturbance.

For 2020, an ecosystem restoration forester is developing prescriptions for approximately 10-20 ha of ingrown forest at the east end of Luxor Linkage Conservation Area. The forester will use current climate modelling to develop ecologically appropriate prescription for projected ecosystems. Using regional forestry contractors and innovative techniques (e.g. sloop burning, hand slashing), fire prescriptions will be implemented in a manner that prioritizes the enhancement of Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir open forest/grassland habitat structure.

LEARN MORE: https://www.natureconservancy.ca/en/where-we-work/british-columbia/featured-projects/rocky-mountain-trench/luxor-linkage.html

Kate Mackenzie with the Nature Conservancy of Canada presented on this project as part of the 2020 KCP Virtual Spring Tour held on June 22, 2020 featuring five projects that receive funding from the Kootenays’ two Local Conservation Funds.