Nature Conservancy of Canada purchases Tidal Flats

Land critical habitat for migratory birds, mammals and fish

Consider it an early Christmas gift for the residents of the Bella Coola Valley and beyond.

After a decade of discussions and planning, the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is sealing the deal Dec. 15 on a $1.6 million project to conserve the last unprotected piece of private property on the estuary in Bella Coola, known as Tidal Flats.

“It was originally the family that approached NCC ten years ago and everything has finally worked out and the stars have aligned and we’re able to fulfil the family’s wishes and complete this conservation project,” said Hillary Page, Director of Conservation for the B.C. region for the NCC.

The 174-acre piece of land boasts critical fish-bearing streams and a hydro-riparian that is essential to a wide range of migratory birds, fish and mammals, including salmon, grizzly bear, marbled murrelet, trumpeter swan, Barrow’s goldeneye and American widgeon.

Tidal Flats is adjacent to the Bella Coola Estuary Conservancy and another parcel of land owned by the Nature Trust of British Columbia, Page said.

“There is quite a complex of conservation land in the estuary already so these fee simple parcels, the three of them, were some of the last remaining pieces in that conservation puzzle,” she said.

“So now that NCC has secured those lots the mouth of the Bella Coola River and the Conservancy has a significant amount of conservation land which is great for wildlife, great for habitat and great for the community of Bella Coola.”

About Tidal Flats

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.

The Bella Coola River nurtures the largest salmon-producing system on B.C.’s central coast, supporting the majority of the region’s coho salmon population. Despite being right beside the community of Bella Coola, the estuary remains largely naturally productive.

This project presents a welcome opportunity to collaborate with the Nuxalk Nation, whose homeland and territory are located in and around Bella Coola.

Significance of securing Tidal Flats

Ecologically significant aspects of the Bella Coola Valley include unique coastal bog complexes, free-flowing river systems and intertidal mudflats that support an abundance of invertebrates and migratory birds. The Bella Coola Valley is irreplaceable in terms of its contribution to the overall biological diversity of the Great Bear Rainforest, as it contains high-value grizzly bear habitat and western red cedar forests.

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.

This conservation project, according to NCC, will protect inter-tidal marsh, mudflats and tidal channels that provide valuable habitat for waterfowl, shorebirds and juvenile salmon. These coastal wetlands are also important carbon sinks and will increase resilience to rising sea levels. Upland areas of the property are forested with western red cedar and Sitka spruce.

Grizzly bear, marbled murrelet, salmon and a flowering plant known as Chamisso’s montia are documented species at risk on the property. Trumpeter swan, Barrow’s goldeneye and American widgeon are just some of the migratory bird species that visit Tidal Flats every year.

Human history

For countless generations, the Nuxalk have been caretakers of the Bella Coola Valley.

European settlers came to the valley in the 1800s, lured west by the fur trade and staying for farming and fishing opportunities.

Descendants of these settlers still own the property that NCC is working to conserve.

Currently, locals enjoy the wildlife trails that run along the Bella Coola River.

– With files from the Nature Conservancy of Canada


Do you have a comment about this story? email:
[email protected]

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is purchasing one of the last large remaining pieces of private property in the Bella Coola estuary known as Tidal Flats. The NCC has been working with the family who owns the land and who approached the Conservancy 10 years ago in hopes of preserving the land. Michael Wigle photo

Just Posted

B.C. Indigenous communities receive funding for hands-on trades training

Nuxalk, Witset, Penticton Indian Band, TRU Williams Lake, and Camosun College among beneficiaries

Nuxalk College undertakes language digitization project

New tapes from over 50 years ago are set to be digitally transcribed

B.C. premier talks forestry, service needs with handful of northern mayors in Prince George

Prince George meeting completes premier’s tour of Kitimat, Terrace, Fort St. James and Quesnel

Bella Coola under another winter storm warning

Freezing rain is expected by this afternoon

Officials reaching out to those in contact with Canada’s first coronavirus patient

The illness has sickened at least 1,975 people and killed 56 in China

Risk of coronavirus low in B.C. as first case emerges in Toronto: officials

There have been no confirmed cases of the virus in B.C.

‘Presumptive case’ of coronavirus in Canada confirmed by Ontario doctors

Man in his 50s felt ill on his return to Canada from Wuhan, China

People knowingly take fentanyl so make policy changes to reduce harm: B.C. study

Dr. Jane Buxton, an epidemiologist at the centre, says drug users need more resources,

‘My heart is going to bleed’: Bodies brought back to Canada following Iran plane crash

Remains of Sahar Haghjoo, 37, and her eight-year-old daughter, Elsa Jadidi, were identified last weekend

BCLC opens novelty bet on Harry and Meghan moving to the west coast

Meanwhile, real estate agency points to four possible homes for the family

Coastal GasLink work camp in Vanderhoof gets approved by the ALC

The work camp behind the Vanderhoof airport was first rejected by the commission in October last year

Canada slips in global corruption ranking in aftermath of SNC-Lavalin scandal

The country obtained a score of 77, which places it at the top in the Americas

Most Read