July 23, 2012
Invermere, BC —
The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) and its partners have succeeded in their bid to conserve an ecologically and culturally important property on the east shore of Columbia Lake.
Known simply as Lot 48, the property was the last parcel not designated for conservation on the east side of the Columbia Lake. The protection of Lot 48 has been a priority for the conservation community as well as the Ktunaxa First Nation and other residents of the Upper Columbia Valley.
Preventing recreational development and further road construction in the area will safeguard the many natural and cultural values of the whole eastern side of Columbia Lake. The area supports some of the most valuable winter range for bighorn sheep, elk and other ungulates, several rare and endangered species, and is a sacred landscape to the Ktunaxa Nation.
Efforts to purchase the property have spanned decades and is supported by several regional planning initiatives.
With a budget of $7.2 million, fundraising for this project has been no small feat. Major support for Lot 48 has come from Columbia Basin Trust, Regional District of East Kootenay, Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program (FWCP), Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation, Teck, BC Government and the Government of Canada through the Natural Areas Conservation Program, as well as many other groups and individuals.
“The Regional District of East Kootenay has long recognized the cultural and environmental significance of this land,” says RDEK Board Chair Rob Gay. “We are pleased to be able to support the purchase of Lot 48 with funding from Electoral Area F, the Columbia Valley Subregion and the entire East Kootenay region. Playing a role in the long-term protection of this precious resource is truly an honour.”
- Lot 48 is bounded by Columbia Lake Provincial Park, the Columbia Wetlands Wildlife Management Area and the East Side Columbia Lake Wildlife Management Area.
- The total project budget of $7.2 million includes project development costs, purchase price and a stewardship endowment to ensure the property’s long-term care.
- The conservation of Lot 48 is supported by several regional planning initiatives, including the East Kootenay Conservation Program, the Regional District of East Kootenay’s Regional Growth Strategy and Fairmont Hot Springs’s Official Community Plan.
- The Government of Canada’s Natural Areas Conservation Program is a $225 million investment to assist non-profit, non-government organizations to secure ecologically sensitive lands to ensure the conservation of our diverse ecosystems, wildlife, and habitat. The Nature Conservancy of Canada has been entrusted to lead the program and has committed to raising matching funds for each federal dollar received.