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Columbia Basin Trust funds ecosystem support projects

Six projects aimed at ensuring healthy, diverse and functioning ecosystems will get a share of $1.8-million from Columbia Basin Trust (CBT).

Officials with CBT said forests, wetlands and riparian areas are among the habitats that will benefit from these projects.

“The Trust heard from people living in the Basin that ecosystem enhancement is important to maintain and improve native biodiversity in the wide variety of ecosystems that make up the region,” said Johnny Strilaeff, President and Chief Executive Officer, Columbia Basin Trust. “The efforts seen in these projects reflect those values as they involve hands-on work at a large scale, across entire landscapes, to create lasting effects.”

Examples of a few of the projects can be found below.

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Yaqan NuɁkiy restoration work

Yaqan NuɁkiy will use previous experience restoring wetlands, streams and floodplains to help restore 517 hectares of aquatic and terrestrial habitat along the Kootenay and Goat rivers during a five-year project.

CBT officials said 1926 aerial photos will be used as a guide to help the area resemble its natural state.

This work will involve activities such as filling ditches, adding culverts and controlling non-native plants to benefit species like northern leopard frog, white sturgeon and western painted turtle.

“This project will build on wetland and stream restoration project work that we began in 2018,” said Norman Allard Jr., Community Planner. “In 2021, the Creston Valley experienced a severe drought where all wetlands, ponds and streams dried—except for the ones we had restored, which contained lush growths of native plants and supported large numbers of birds and other animals. This proved that the techniques we used were successful, and we’ll now use them on the current project.”

Elizabeth Lake conservation

Funding from CBT will be used by the Rocky Mountain Naturalists to reinvigorate shorelines, improve bird nesting habitats, provide cover for young turtles and control invasive weeds and grass.

The five-year project will cover 14 hectares of land on the north end of Cranbrook’s Elizabeth Lake.

“The revegetating project will improve the foraging and nesting habitat for songbirds, shorebirds and others, plus benefit a broader range of wildlife,” said Marianne Nahm, President. “Our project also aims to support the community of Cranbrook in accessing and connecting with nature and increasing opportunities to view, experience and learn about these fascinating species.”

Details on the four other projects can be found below.

More: Large-Scale Projects Support Ecosystem Health (CBT)

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