Science Projects

1. Linkage Project. The Partners, working with Parks Canada has completed a report that identifies and map linkages for aquatic species along the Columbia River, for movement north and south of terrestrial species along the east and west benches, and for east to west movement across the valley, to assist the Regional District of East Kootenay and others in their planning for the area.

2. Levee Process Project. Dr. Suzanne Bayley and her student, Chris Carli, are working on a project looking at the impact of breaks in the river levees on the health of the adjacent wetlands. Chris has collected old air photos that will allow us to look at changes in the river channel and wetlands over time (since 1947). We presently have comparisons of air photos from 1947, 1975 and 2004, for several sites in the wetlands.

3. Leopard Frog Habitat Assessment. Dr. Suzanne Bayley, Chris Carli and Penny Ohanjanian are identifying potential habitat for leopard frogs, the one species that occupied the wetlands in the past that no longer occurs in the system. The objective is to identify those wetlands that would be the best sites for a re-introduction of leopard frogs into the system.

4. Water Monitoring. Ryan MacDonald of the University of Lethbridge was contracted by the CBT, on behalf of the Partners and the Wildsight Lake Windermere Project, to provide an overview of climate, water flow, water quality and ground water monitoring for the Upper Columbia basin (above Donald). The report provides an overview of the water supply issues faced by the wetlands and communities in the Upper Columbia Basin. We also worked with Crystal Slaught, A GIS student at Selkirk College, who developed a Power Point that described spatially our knowledge of water flows in the Upper Columbia.

5. Species at Risk Assessment. Funding for an overall assessment of species at risk in the wetlands was applied for through the Species at Risk Habitat Fund. The objective is to identify those species we need to be concerned about in the future. To date, the only species lost from this system are the Northern Leopard Frog, the Columbia River Chinook Salmon and Columbia River Steelhead, both of which spawned in this area prior to 1936 and the construction of the Grand Coulee dam.

6. A Photo Plot survey for the wetlands. We do not have access to money to do a lot of higher level scientific monitoring in the wetlands. However, there is a valuable and cheap alternative called a photo plot survey that can be carried out by volunteers. It consists of taking photos of various habitats on an annual basis to provide a record of long term change over time. Such photos become more and more valuable over time. As part of this project we are also collecting and scanning historic photos of the wetlands, again, to provide a record of habitat change over time in the wetlands.

7. Fire fly Project. Fire flies are a small beetle that live in wetlands that glow in the dark during their mating ritual in June. They are a classic icon for wetland health and are part of many young people’s first experiences with wetlands. There are international concerns with their fate in many areas. They occur in a few areas in the wetlands and in the East Kootenays. We are working with the Royal BC Museum to identify their presence and habitat requirements.

Reports on each of these projects are available under the Resources button.

Columbia Wetlands Stewardship Partners