The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) has announced the completion of a multi-staged conservation initiative in BC’s West Chilcotin. Taking over 15 years to assemble, this project has protected over 2,700 acres (1,100 hectares) in the Tatlayoko Valley.
This final piece – the Joerg Fischer Conservation Area – has been donated to the national conservation organization by businessman Joerg Fischer and his wife Hannelore. The couple wanted to create a conservation legacy in a valley that they first fell in love with in the 1980s, when they travelled there from their native Germany.
The 72-acre (29-hectare) conservation area was the last unprotected private property that borders the north end of Tatlayoko Lake. It is directly adjacent to the Tatlayoko Lake Ranch Conservation Area, which the Nature Conservancy of Canada purchased from Joerg and Hannelore in 2000, kicking-off a visionary conservation initiative to ensure the natural systems and wildlife continue to flourish in the valley.
The Tatlayoko Valley is home to a wide range of wildlife, including grizzly bear, mule deer, cougar and fisher. The property also supports habitat for Species at Risk Act-listed species such as northern red-legged frog (special concern) and Lewis’s woodpecker (threatened). The wetlands at the head of Tatlayoko Lake are a particularly important area for tens of thousands of birds that use this valley as their migratory pathway.
A portion of this project was donated to the Nature Conservancy of Canada under the Government of Canada’s Ecological Gifts Program, which provides enhanced tax incentives for individuals or corporations who donate ecologically significant land. The project also received funding from the Government of Canada through the Natural Areas Conservation Program.
In 2000, the Tatlayoko Lake Ranch became NCC’s first and largest conservation project in the Tatlayoko Lake Valley. Occupying 536 acres (217 hectares) at the north end of Tatlayoko Lake, the ranch is the cornerstone of an important network of conservation lands in the valley. After conserving the ranch, NCC went on to conserve Lincoln Creek Ranch, Enchantment, Skinner Meadow, Moore Lake and, most recently, the Joerg Fischer Conservation Area.
The Tatlayoko Valley is a critical link between the rainforests of the Pacific Coast and the grasslands of the Central Interior.
The valley provides particularly important habitat for wide-ranging carnivores, such as cougar, grey wolf, fisher, grizzly bear and black bear.
The Joerg Fischer Conservation Area is characterized by old-growth Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir forests with scattered bunchgrass grassland openings.
The Tatlayoko Valley lies within the traditional territory of the Tsilhqot’in Nation (Writ of Summons) and Homalko (Xwemalhkwu) Indian Band (Statement of Intent).