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Land near Fairmont Hot Springs added to conservation efforts

A property known as The Hoodoos – Columbia Wetlands is now protected from development by the Nature Trust of BC.

Officials with the Nature Trust said the 143-ace piece of land is ecologically important natural wetlands.

“Wetlands, considered one of the most productive ecosystems in the world, are a natural and effective tool in combating climate change through their ability to act as a sponge, and reduce flooding during heavy rainfall,” said Nature Trust staff. “Additionally, they provide food and habitat for many species, including insects, reptiles, fish, birds and mammals.”

The property also contains open, native grassland, which officials said covers less than 1 per cent of B.C.’s land base and provides habitats for more than 30 per cent of the province’s at-risk species.

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“Grasslands support more threatened and endangered plants and animals than any other habitat type in the province. With the East Kootenay irreversibly losing native grasslands due to urbanization and agriculture, it is crucial we protect the undisturbed grasslands that remain,” said the Nature Trust.

A number of migratory bird species make the region their home when they stop on their long journey.

According to the Nature Trust, the purchase adds to a continuous area of over 11,000 acres of relatively undisturbed wetlands, riparian, and grassland habitat.

While the land is under conservation and will be protected from development, people will still be in the area.

“There’s always important land management work to be done in terms of managing the habitat, looking out for invasive weeds, making sure that we have appropriate fences to manage the impacts of livestock, that sort of thing,” said Jasper Lament, Nature Trust of BC CEO. “We’ll be taking care of the property from now on and into the future.”

Lament added that most of the habitat is intact and will not need restoration work.

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