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Thu. Jul 18th, 2024

Important bird habitat is now protected near Cranbrook

By Vaseline May30,2024

While it may seem like a losing battle when it comes to wildlife conservation, a rare BC grassland, home to at-risk and endangered animals, will now be under protection.

In a news release, the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) says it recently secured rare grasslands in Skookumchuk Prairie, north of Cranbrook, that might otherwise have been sold.

Richard Klafki, BC Rocky Mountains program director at the Nature Conservancy, says the now-protected land helps ensure the survival of a number of threatened and endangered animals.

“Long-billed curlews nest in this new nature reserve, which look a bit like a large sandpiper on steroids. I say it looks like a knee-high West Coast shorebird,” he said. “Another endangered species that is very interesting in the Lewis woodpecker, so in combination with what is within the range of the endangered American badger.”


A rare BC grassland in the Rocky Mountain Trench, near Cranbrook, home to at-risk and endangered animals, is now protected.
A rare BC grassland in the Rocky Mountain Trench, near Cranbrook, home to at-risk and endangered animals, is now protected. (Courtesy of The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC))

He says crucial grassland and forest habitat near Wasa was in danger of being lost to conversion and development.

“Often the areas in the valley floors aren’t really considered for conservation, but that’s often where the most threatened species are,” he said. “It’s very important for wetlands and so to be able to preserve some of these important areas.”

He says this conservation comes at a time when BC and other parts of Canada are seeing increasing development pressure and people are moving to rural areas.

“What’s interesting, I think, since post-COVID, is that people are realizing that it’s really important for them to be in nature,” he said.


Richard Klafki of the Conservancy says the now-protected land helps ensure the survival of threatened and endangered animals.
Richard Klafki of the Conservancy says the now-protected land helps ensure the survival of threatened and endangered animals. (Courtesy of The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC))

“So being able to tackle the twin crises of biodiversity loss and climate change and being able to preserve some of these large intact natural areas is of great importance for both the community and nature itself.”

This project was funded in part by the Government of Canada through the Natural Heritage Conservation Program, part of the Canadian Wildlife Fund. The Conservancy says the money went to purchase the 667 acres of land in Skookumchuk Prairie.

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