Enhancing habitat for non-game species in our Columbia Region

Project Year: 2019-2020

Multi-year Project

View Provincial Database Record

Photo: iStock

Project Lead

Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development


Columbia Region

Project Type

Species-Based Actions

FWCP Contribution


Action Plan Alignment

Species of Interest Action Plan

Project ID


F20 non-game enhancement

Non-game enhancement focuses on critical habitat features for non-game species’ reproduction and survival, such as roosting, denning, and nesting habitat. These habitat features require ongoing monitoring and maintenance to continue to benefit the species they were designed for.

Update: Fifteen Lewis’s Woodpecker nests recorded in the West Kootenay

Fifteen West Kootenay nests for threatened Lewis’s Woodpeckers were confirmed in 2019–the most active nests found since 2008 when FWCP started funding this monitoring project. Lewis’s Woodpeckers often return to the same nest site but 11 of the nests were at new sites. Nine were located in the Pend d’Oreille Valley, six in the Upper Slocan River Watershed where three were found within 12–15 metres of each other in Black Cottonwoods.

Three new wildlife habitat areas have been proposed to protect nest sites on Crown land as a result.

The Lewis’s Woodpecker is a rare breeder and one of three recovery species associated with upland and dryland habitats in the FWCP Columbia Region. Its estimated regional population fluctuates between one and 15 pairs.

The monitoring project was carried out by wildlife biologist Jakob Dulisse, and is part of annual and ongoing nongame enhancement activities funded by the FWCP and delivered with support from the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations, and Rural Development through a letter of agreement. The final report will be available by March 31, 2020.

Lewis’s Woodpecker: Quick facts

  • The Lewis’s Woodpecker (Melanerpes lewis) is listed as “Threatened” under schedule 1 of the Species at Risk Act and is Blue-listed by the B.C. Conservation Data Centre.
  • Partners in Flight estimates that Lewis’s Woodpecker populations have declined by 72% between 1970 and 2014.
  • Major threats to Lewis’s Woodpeckers include loss of habitat and wildlife trees through development, fire suppression, and beetle infestations.
  • Additional threats to the Lewis’s Woodpecker include the cutting of nest trees for safety, aesthetics, or firewood; competition from invasive species (e.g., European Starlings); and insecticides.
  • Although it’s a woodpecker by name, it mainly forages for insects on the wing, like flycatchers.
  • Mainly nests in holes and crevices created by other woodpeckers or created naturally, in dead and decaying trees.
  • It’s named after American explorer Meriwether Lewis who first saw the bird in 1805 while on the famous Lewis and Clark Expedition.


Final report: executive summary

F20 Non-game Enhancement completed 7 projects on 6 different non-game species. Townsends Big-eared Bat maternity roost monitoring was completed in the East Kootenay. Fencing at a Highway underpass was maintained to reduce Badger Mortality in the East Kootenay. Lewis Woodpecker nest sites were monitored in the West Kootenay with a total of 15 nest sites documented. The summit Lake Western Toad project included Highway surveys, tagging 431 toads, installing over 600 m of Animex toad fencing, and the annual Toadfest public event. Turtle nesting areas were maintained and monitored at Argenta and Elizabeth Lake. Turtle production was very low at both sites in 2019. This was largely due to predation at Elizabeth Lake.


Click the provincial database link below to read the full final report for this project.

Non-Game Enhancement – EK Townsends Big-eared Bat roost restoration and monitoring reporta100.gov.bc.ca/pub/siwe/details.do?projectId=5419

Non-Game Enhancement – Lewis’s Woodpecker nest identification and management reporta100.gov.bc.ca/pub/siwe/details.do?id=5116

Non-Game Enhancement – Western Toad reporta100.gov.bc.ca/pub/siwe/details.do?projectId=4834

Non-Game Enhancement – Vaux’s Swift nestbox monitoring reporta100.gov.bc.ca/pub/siwe/details.do?projectId=5680

View more about this project on the provincial database