The Columbia Wetlands is a very large wetland and river system located on the Upper Columbia River, in the East Kootenay portion of BC. Several major communities are located along the edge of the river and wetlands.
These wetlands are one of the largest wetland complexes in Canada and on the planet.
They are recognized as a wetland of international importance by the United Nations under the RAMSAR Treaty.The system stretches 150 km from Canal Flats and Invermere in the south,to Golden in the north. The system is a complex mix of federal, provincial, municipal and private lands, covering 15,000 ha in total. Provincial lands in the wetlands are managed as the Columbia Wetlands Wildlife Management Area. Federal portions are managed as three National Wildlife Areas. There are also significant areas of private lands in the system.
The wetlands are very important to the people that live in thecommunities adjacent to the wetlands. Over the last several years, a major interest on the part of local NGOs, industry sectors and these communities has developed around assisting federal and provincial agencies in the stewardship and management of this very special wetland and river system.
The Columbia Wetlands Stewardship Partners group was formed in 2006. It is made up of over 35 groups, communities and agencies concerned with the wetlands.
The group has put a great deal of time and energy in ensuring that everyone with an interest in this landscape is involved in the group. It includes all of the federal and provincial agencies concerned with the wetlands, all of the local NGOs with an interest in the river and wetlands, the local First Nations, industrial representatives from the tourism and forest sectors and has representatives (councilors, mayors and regional district representatives) from each of the communities along the wetlands.
The vision for the area, developed by the group is as below:
“The Upper Columbia River and the adjacent Columbia Wetlands will continue to function as a healthy flood-plain ecosystem with a complex biological community governed by natural fluvial and ecological processes. Human communities will continue to benefit socially, environmentally and economically from this naturally functioning ecosystem and in turn the wetlands will contribute to the health and vitality of the communities in the upper Columbia River Basin. Residents in these communities will become engaged and motivated to adopt a stewardship ethic and will work collectively to demonstrate the benefits of a shared stewardship model for this important resource”.This website has been developed to inform everyone in the valley, and visitors to our valley, about this natural wonder and the efforts of local people aimed at maintaining the wetlands in perpetuity.
Ron Clark President Columbia Wetlands Stewardship Partners