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  • Writer's picture Lorna Visser

With a little help from our friends at Y2Y: bringing wilderness back

Updated: Dec 2, 2020

It’s great when natural allies work together toward common purpose.

For our restoration efforts at Snk’mip, we’re grateful for the support (both moral and financial) that we’ve received from the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative (Y2Y). In 2020, we were a recipient of a Y2Y partner grant.

Y2Y is all about connecting large corridors of habitat with the overarching vision of protecting a strip of wildlife habitat from Yellowstone Park in the U.S. to the Yukon. They are working to connect a north-south network of parks, public lands and private lands.

Our little part in this much larger vision is restoring Snk’mip, a rare forested-wetland marsh, which contributes to connectivity in the Columbia Headwaters region of BC.

Y2Y and partners like VFE are working to protect the Columbia Headwaters for wildlife and climate change resiliency. With our focus on reducing habitat fragmentation and supporting vital habitat for an abundance of species, we’re pleased to partner with Y2Y.

The Slocan Valley forms part of the Columbia Headwaters, a critical piece of the larger Yellowstone to Yukon region. Year-round, Snk’mip is a refuge for ungulates, carnivores, birds, amphibians, reptiles and rare plants. The marsh straddles an important kokanee spawning creek used by grizzly and black bears and is in a major wildlife riparian cross-valley corridor between Valhalla and Goat Range Provincial Parks as well as the anchor wetland in the Bonanza Biodiversity Corridor.

“Snk'mip is part of the larger Bonanza Biodiversity Corridor, a critical low-elevation connectivity zone," says Candace Batycki, Y2Y’s B.C. and Yukon program director. "Maintaining and, where needed, restoring these corridors is vital for the landscape-level connectivity that is such an important part of the Y2Y vision.”

The VFE’s past three years of restoration work have enhanced the wetland’s natural functions. We filled in and restored a gravel pit, created additional ponds and pools for amphibians, decommissioned several kilometers of compacted road surfaces (restoring them to wetland habitat), and enhanced secure areas for sensitive species. We planted some 2,000 tree seedlings and shrubs, all of them native species appropriate to a marsh ecosystem.

This restoration benefits both wildlife and people, who are welcome to respectfully enjoy the Sanctuary. Careful design of the restoration means human disturbance is directed away from sensitive riparian wildlife areas while still allowing people to observe birds and wildlife from viewpoints or take a peaceful walk along a cool forest pathway. Snk’mip is also a place to learn in and learn from, as local organizations and schools often visit for educational outings.

“This part of the Columbia Headwaters region is a critical wildlife corridor and we are thankful for the local commitment to help wildlife that live and move through this area,” said Y2Y’s Columbia Headwaters program manager Nadine Raynolds.

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