Pur­chase of water­shed in south­east B.C. pro­tects land, species at risk

The Prince George Citizen - - News -

NEL­SON — A south­east­ern Bri­tish Columbia water­shed in­clud­ing a rare in­land tem­per­ate rain­for­est has been pur­chased by the Na­ture Conservanc­y of Canada, pro­tect­ing it from devel­op­ment.

The na­tional land trust said the pur­chase and pro­tec­tion of the 79-square-kilo­me­tre Next Creek water­shed was one of its high­est con­ser­va­tion pri­or­i­ties in B.C.

The water­shed, along the west side of Koote­nay Lake be­tween Nel­son and Cre­ston, is lo­cated in the cen­tre of the more than 600-square-kilo­me­tre Dark­woods Con­ser­va­tion Area.

Be­cause the Next Creek water­shed was pri­vately owned, the na­ture conservanc­y said it, and the sur­round­ing con­ser­va­tion area, faced a threat of in­ten­si­fied or un­sus­tain­able in­dus­trial or recre­ational ac­tiv­ity.

The conservanc­y said ac­qui­si­tion of Next Creek ef­fec­tively com­pletes the Dark­woods Con­ser­va­tion Area and a net­work of pro­tected lands cov­er­ing most of the moun­tain­ous re­gion bounded by the lake and Highways 3 and 6 be­tween Nel­son, Salmo and Cre­ston.

Close to $20 mil­lion was needed to pur­chase the land and pro­vide for the long-term man­age­ment of Dark­woods, with funds com­ing from pri­vate donors, gov­ern­ments and sev­eral busi­nesses and foun­da­tions.

Dark­woods of­fers es­sen­tial habi­tat for al­most 40 con­firmed species at risk, in­clud­ing griz­zly bear, wolver­ine, pere­grine fal­con and moun­tain cari­bou, as well as an in­land tem­per­ate rain­for­est which is rare be­cause it re­ceives most of its mois­ture from snow.

Nancy Ne­w­house, with the Na­ture Conservanc­y, said the or­ga­ni­za­tion is grate­ful to all those who be­lieved in the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s plan.

“Con­serv­ing the Next Creek water­shed and ex­pand­ing the Dark­woods Con­ser­va­tion Area pre­sented an in­cred­i­ble op­por­tu­nity to ful­fil a con­ser­va­tion vi­sion that started over a decade ago,” Ne­w­house said in a news re­lease.

Ge­orge Hey­man, B.C.’s min­is­ter of en­vi­ron­ment, said the prov­ince is com­mit­ted to pre­serv­ing B.C.’s nat­u­ral legacy as Canada’s most bi­o­log­i­cally di­verse prov­ince with the high­est per­cent­age of pro­tected ar­eas.

“It is a large part of our iden­tity and we want our kids and grand­kids to ex­pe­ri­ence this beau­ti­ful, di­verse prov­ince as we have the for­tune to,” he said.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.