Lot 48 on Columbia Lake protected with FWCP support
|Photo looks across Columbia Lake in southeastern B.C. toward the Lot 48 area, now protected under a Nature Conservancy of Canada land purchase. (Photo courtesy Steve Short)|
FWCP among first to commit funds to land purchase on east side of lake
The last unprotected parcel of land on the east side of Columbia Lake is now safe from recreational development and further road construction, thanks to a land purchase supported by the Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program (FWCP).
Known simply as Lot 48, the property is located near the Alberta border in southeastern B. C., just south of Fairmont Hot Springs. It was purchased this year for conservation by the Nature Conservancy of Canada, thanks to the funding of groups including the FWCP, a partnership between BC Hydro, the Province of B.C., and Fisheries and Oceans Canada.
The FWCP provided more than $500,000 towards the total purchase budget of $7.2 million, and was one of the first to commit funds to Lot 48. Other major contributors included Teck, Columbia Basin Trust, Regional District of East Kootenay, Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation, the BC Government and the Government of Canada through the Natural Areas Conservation Program, as well as many other groups and individuals.
“We are very happy to support the NCC in the purchase of this property in order to continue to protect fish, wildlife and their habitats m which are priorities for the FWCP,” said Trevor Oussoren, FWCP-Columbia program manager. “It will also help maintain the cultural values of the site and allow us to build on previous conservation land investments we’ve made in the Columbia Basin.”
Why Lot 48 matters
Lot 48’s protection has been a priority for the conservation community as well as the Ktunaxa First Nation and other residents of the Upper Columbia Valley.
Preventing recreational development and further road construction in the area will safeguard the many natural and cultural values of the whole eastern side of Columbia Lake. The area supports some of the most valuable winter range for bighorn sheep, elk and other ungulates, several rare and endangered species, and is a sacred landscape to the Ktunaxa Nation.
“The FWCP land acquisition program has proved to be one of the most effective partnerships in conserving wildlife habitat values in the region,” said Dave White, a public representative for FWCP-Columbia. “This property, together with four others around Columbia Lake, has been on the top 10 priority list for private land acquisition for conservation since the late 1980s.
“Collectively the partners are making a positive difference. We have the mechanisms, and the all-important pooled resources, in place to deliver on projects like this. While the initial capital cost can be high for land acquisition, the long-term value for wildlife – and fish – cannot be overstated.”
About the FWCP
In addition to the Columbia Basin, the FWCP also delivers valuable fish and wildlife projects in the Peace Williston and Coastal regions of the province.
For more information on the FWCP, a partnership between BC Hydro, the Province of B.C., and Fisheries and Oceans Canada, visit fwcp.ca.