CANADA, NORTH AMERICA

Columbia River Wetlands

The Columbia River Wetlands are located in the rift valley of the Rocky Mountains. It is bordered by the Rocky Mountains to the east and the Purcell Mountains to the west. The rift valley is 1.600 km long and 5 km wide. The Columbia River wetlands are 180 km long and cover an area of 201 km². The wetlands are made up of Lake Columbia, the headwaters of the Columbia River - a major source of water for the Pacific Northwest region of North America - Lake Windermere and several seasonally flooded marshes and backwaters.

What makes it special

The Columbia River Wetlands are one of the largest wetlands still intact in North America.

Protection status

· Ramsar Site 1463, Wetland of International Importance
· Wildlife Management Area (IUCN Category IV)

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Biodiversity

The region is home to 100.000 large mammals including grizzly and black bear, wolf, cougar, wolverine, moose, elk, mountain caribou, mountain goat, big horn sheep, white-tailed deer and black-tailed deer. 300 pairs of Great Blue Herons, 1.200 Canada Geese, 24 pairs of Osprey and the Common Loon are among the bird species that nest in the Columbia Wetlands. This landscape is one of the last remaining natural pathways for migratory birds. 15.000 waterfowl in the autumn and more than 1.000 tundra swans in the spring have been counted in just one day.

Local Communities

Columbia Wetlands is a First Nations land. The region is part of the 44.000 km² East-Kootenay Region, located in the southeast corner of British Columbia Canada, with a population of 60.000 people.

Threats

Threats to the ecosystem include direct habitat loss, human activities, invasive species, transport, recreation and the effects of climate change. Key concerns include commercial or residential development, logging, mining, and barriers to wildlife movement, pollution, invasive species, recreational pressures and the cumulative effects of multiple threats. Climate change is noted for its potential to cause vegetation shifts, altered species distributions, catastrophic fires, hydrological changes and other ecological disruptions.

Our Work

Wildsight works not only to shape and influence land-use decisions but also to guide practice and steward change on the ground. Wildsight collaborates with industry, scientists, the education community, and all levels of government, including First Nations.

The organization forms partnerships with other local, provincial, national, and international conservation and education organizations to achieve its goals, which are mainly located in the Kootenay – Region.