Wetlands in the Hofert Hoodoos Conservation Property in the East Kootenay

ECOSYSTEMS

Wetlands

Wetlands are arguably one of the most critical components in maintaining the health of ecosystems for fish, wildlife and humans, but they are the least understood and protected. Wetlands provide a number of important ecological functions ranging from water purifiers and fish nurseries to carbon sinks and wildlife breeding grounds. Most wildlife in the province use wetland habitat at some point in their life cycle, and many red- and blue-listed species are wetland-dependent.

Hydrologic  characteristics of the region have resulted in well-distributed water areas with a rich array of wetlands including the Columbia Wetlands near the headwaters of the Columbia River, the Kootenay River flood plains, and other smaller wetlands.

A significant proportion of the low elevation wetlands in the region were lost due to water impoundment behind dams. Other wetlands were drained or filled to create solid land for agriculture, settlement, and industry.

The Biodiversity Atlas provides important map-based information about wetlands across the Basin. This information will help resource managers and others make informed decisions and protect wetlands.

Map

Biodiversity Interactive Maps - Wetlands

Animal species supported

In the Columbia Basin region there are 41 species of mammals, 108 species of birds, 9 species of amphibians and 4 species of reptiles that are dependent on wetlands for their survival. The list of these animals is too long to provide here but includes the: northern leopard frog, California myotis, bald eagle, osprey, great blue heron, caribou and dusky shrew.

Wetland Facts

  • Most productive wetlands in the Columbia River Basin occur below 1,200 m elevation where most human settlements and activities are concentrated as well.
  • These wetlands and the species living there are impacted by a variety of human activities: extensive resource-based land use such as agriculture, forestry, mining, hydro-electric power generation and transmission corridors, and basic societal needs including homes, roads, drinking water and recreation.
  • Reservoirs for hydro-electric generation eliminated considerable amounts of wetland habitat.
  • While many smaller wetlands still occur throughout the area, there is little information on their distribution and status and, as a result, there is no conservation strategy to maintain these important habitats.
  • There is a need for more accurate information and mapping to protect these wetlands and the myriad of species dependent on the marshes, wet meadows, fens, swamps, bogs, ponds, potholes, lakes and streams that make up the wetlands.
  • A number of government, non-government and industrial groups are involved in land stewardships, acquisitions and conservation efforts to protect wetlands.

Learn more about wetlands

Reports

 

Ecosystems

Deciduous Forests

Grasslands

Riparian

Wetlands

 

 

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