Awarded to the Nature Conservancy of Canada to continue grassland ecosystem restoration on 48 ha of NCC’s Thunder Hill Ranch located on the west side of Columbia Lake.

PROPONENT: Nature Conservancy of Canada

DESCRIPTION: The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) completed two phases of mechanical ecosystem restoration (slash/thin and slash abatement) on 40 hectares of Thunder Hill Ranch. Mechanical restoration was necessary to reduce fuel loads prior to implementing prescribed burning on the landscape. The area was successfully converted from closed forest of greater than 400 stems/hectare to open forest (76 – 400 stems/ha) and fuel was reduced by approximately 80%.

OBJECTIVE: Ecosystem restoration objectives aimed to improve habitat for rare grassland species including Lewis’s woodpecker, badger and Hooker’s townsendia. It was also anticipated that ecosystem restoration activities will improve forage availability and quality for livestock. The slash abatement significantly reduced the risk of catastrophic forest fire within the Dutch-Findlay Range Unit. These activities complemented the Fairmont Official Community Plan’s intent to support regional ecosystem restoration initiatives and private landowner’s attempts to reduce the threat of fire on their property. Completion of the slashing/thinning and slash pile abatement contributed directly to and enhanced a broad restoration effort in the Dutch-Findlay Range Unit.