Securing conservation lands in our Coastal Region
Acquiring lands for conservation purposes. The Coastal Region Board has approved an annual land acquisition, which is a set aside of funds, for the future purchase of lands for conservation purposes in our Coastal Region.
Update: Conservation project protects salmon sanctuary in the heart of the Great Bear Rainforest
Bella Coola, BC (January 14, 2020) – The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) has acquired a 70-hectare (174-acre) property on the Bella Coola estuary. Located on the edge of the community of Bella Coola and directly adjacent to other conservation lands, this parcel was the last unprotected private property at the mouth of the Bella Coola River. Despite its proximity to the town center, the estuary remains naturally productive, providing essential habitat for salmon, grizzly bear, migratory birds and other wildlife.
Watch this video of the Tidal Flats.
The new Tidal Flats Conservation Area protects inter-tidal marshes, mudflats and tidal channels that provide valuable habitat for waterfowl, shorebirds and juvenile salmon. Upland areas of the property are forested with western red cedar and Sitka spruce.
The estuary supports a number of confirmed species at risk, including Species At Risk Act (SARA)-listed grizzly bear (special concern), marbled murrelet (threatened) and Dolly Varden (special concern). Conserving Tidal Flats ensures that the estuary will continue to function in a natural state for the benefit of these species and many others.
Tidal Flats is well-used by the local community for recreation, wild food foraging and scientific research. The Nuxalk Nation has voiced their support for this project, as have many other residents of the Bella Coola Valley.
This land conservation project was made possible by funding from the Government of Canada’s Nature Fund, including the Natural Heritage Conservation Program and implementation funds for the North American Waterfowl Management Plan. The Nature Conservancy of Canada also gratefully acknowledges the financial support of the Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, through the North American Wetlands Conservation Act, and many generous donors.
“Nuxalk community members frequently use the Tidal Flats lands for cultural, medicinal and recreational purposes and have long wanted to see these lands protected in order to support our community’s ongoing use of them. Given the high ecological and cultural values on the estuary, the Nuxalk Nation supports the Nature Conservancy of Canada’s interest in conserving Tidal Flats. With their success, we look forward to working with the Nature Conservancy of Canada to care for this significant area for generations to come.” –Chief Wally Webber, Nuxalk Nation
• The Bella Coola River supports the region’s largest coho salmon run, which relies on the continued health and productivity of the estuary. The intermingling of fresh and ocean water in the estuary creates an environment that is both unique and essential to the life cycle of salmon, among other creatures.
• Salmon are central to life in the Great Bear Rainforest. These iconic fish nourish everything from marine mammals, such as orca and sea lions, to birds like herons and kingfishers, to land dwellers, including bears, wolves and humans. Salmon also feed the forest, where insects, algae, mosses, shrubs and trees all take up the nutrients from decomposing salmon.
• Trumpeter swan, Barrow’s goldeneye and American widgeon are just some of the migratory bird species that visit Tidal Flats every year.
• Coastal wetlands are important carbon sinks and will increase resilience to rising sea levels.