NCC

British Columbia

Number of projects: During this period, NCC also funded the relinquishment of 82,313 acres (33,311 hectares) of timber rights outside the new Birch River Wildland Park in Alberta. These rights were cancelled by the provincial government and will only be re-issued for ecological purposes. 5

Land value: Land value is the fair market value as determined by independent appraisal. $3,509,000

Acres conserved: 686

Stewardship volunteers: 609

Gamdis Tlagee Conservation Area, Haida Gwaii

Haida Laas-Graham Richard

Located in the Kumdis Slough area of Haida Gwaii lies a network of protected lands that supports salmon-bearing streams, estuaries and old-growth forests. This year, the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) partnered with the Haida Nation to secure the last unprotected parcels in this ecologically important area.

Unfortunately, a portion of these lands was far from pristine. In 2010, an intensive logging operation caused significant damage to salmon habitat, old-growth forest and cultural values. As restitution for the damage, the Provincial Court of British Columbia approved an option to transfer the land to NCC and the Haida Nation for conservation purposes.

Old-growth Sitka spruce and western red-cedar forest still stand along the waterfront portion of the conservation area. The area provides essential habitat for three species of salmon, as well as at-risk wildlife, such as marbled murrelet and Haida ermine.

The Haida Nation and NCC are co-managing the Gamdis Tlagee Conservation Area for ecological and cultural values. Extensive restoration is being planned in collaboration with the Haida Fisheries and Fisheries and Oceans Canada to rehabilitate the lands.

Conserving an important wildlife corridor

Steve Ogle

To mark World Environment Day, NCC announced a new conservation project in the Elk Valley — the Morrissey Meadows Conservation Area. The 106-acre (43-hectare) former homestead protects land in an active wildlife corridor that is used by wide-ranging mammals, such as grizzly bear and elk.

Located south of Fernie, BC, the conservation area connects a vast expanse of provincial lands with NCC’s Elk Valley Heritage Conservation Area.

The Morrissey Meadows Conservation Area was a partial land donation/partial land purchase that was facilitated by Deb de Hoog. De Hoog is the granddaughter of the farm’s previous occupants, Charlie and Ruth Fitzen.

The Elk River, which flows through the conservation area, creates wetlands that provide spawning and rearing grounds for fish. Four at-risk species are known to use these lands:

  • American badger
  • grizzly bear
  • little brown myotis
  • westslope cutthroat trout

Mule and white-tailed deer, elk and moose are also found here.

The acquisition of the Morrissey Meadows Conservation Area enhances a pre-existing network of private and provincial protected lands in an important wildlife corridor.

Restoring wetlands across the province

NCC

Wetlands are one of Canada’s most important ecosystems. They provide habitat for a large number of species, including species at risk, migratory birds and fishes. They also:

  • remove sediments, excess nutrients and bacteria from our drinking water;
  • store carbon; and
  • provide buffering from extreme weather events, such as flood and drought.

Even though wetlands cover only five per cent of BC’s land base, the habitat they provide is important for many wildlife species.

Residential and commercial development, conversion to agriculture and invasive species are all causing a rapid decline in wetland ecosystems across the province. Their restoration is critical to wetland conservation.

NCC has several new wetland restoration projects underway in BC:

BC’s provincial mammal is the Kermode bear (also known as the spirit bear), which is a rare form of the American black bear with white fur. One-quarter of all black bears in Canada are found in BC. Grizzly bears are similarly concentrated in BC, with one-quarter of the North American grizzly population found in the province.