Slocan River Streamkeepers: Wetland Restoration
Written by Dr. Chloe Robinson
One of the community-based organisations that collaborated with STREAM in 2019 was the Slocan River Streamkeepers, a non-profit society founded in 2003, that aims to protect and restore the aquatic and riparian ecosystems of the Slocan River (British Columbia, Canada). In collaboration with Darcie Quamme at Integrated Ecological Research (IER), the Slocan River Streamkeepers aim to conduct community-based wetland restoration assessments across Winlaw and Appledale (BC), using taxonomic and DNA-based methods.
In 2017, a wetland restoration project at Crooked Horn Farm in Winlaw was completed by Slocan River Streamkeepers, which involved transforming a 0.5 Ha area into a flourishing wetland system with the aim of providing habitat for a diversity of wildlife including benthic invertebrates.
STREAM in the Slocan
Previously, in collaboration with IER, aquatic macroinvertebrates collected from Crooked Horn Farm before and after restoration were identified by a taxonomist along with 62 samples from other wetlands. However, in 2019, benthic kick-net samples from this wetland and eight other sites collected for DNA and analysed by STREAM.
Results from a total of nine wetland sites revealed similar proportions of key taxa when compared to taxonomic identification, namely orders Diptera (flies), Odonata (dragonflies and damselflies) and Trichoptera (caddisflies). A particularly interesting finding was exclusive detection of the common whitetail dragonfly (Plathemis lydia) in STREAM samples from the Crooked Horn Farm wetland, which corresponds with visual surveys of adult dragonflies that have identified this species being a dominant at this site in 2018.
In addition to the common whitetail, a variety of other Odonata were detected in STREAM samples, including the spotted spreadwing (Lestes congener), four-spotted chaser (Libellula quadrimaculata) and downy emerald (Cordulia aenea). Wetlands provide vital habitats for Odonata, as they require flooded habitats to breed and mature. In Canada, Odonata are considered an important indicator of intactness and biodiversity richness of wetland systems, as they are sensitive to the effects of cattle grazing and wetland drying.
Overall, the wetland restoration project at Crooked Horn Farm has been a success, with numbers and diversity of birds, mammals, amphibians and insects ever increasing. Providing this unique habitat for macroinvertebrates is particularly important, as they provide a food source for other wetland species and groups of taxa, such as Odonates, act as biological indicators for wetland health and productivity.
Monitoring aquatic macroinvertebrates can be achieved rapidly and accurately using the STREAM DNA-based approach, with the data produced being compatible for comparisons with taxonomic data previously collected. For this World Wetlands Day and many others to come, using this effective monitoring approach for wetlands allows for detection and suitable addressing of changes in biodiversity, particularly in the face of climate-related impacts on wetlands.
For the full article:
In response to growing concerns about source-water protection, the Regional District of Central Kootenay has announced interest in taking steps to develop a stronger role in watershed governance and to support collaborative decision-making. A recent document released by the RDCK states that “Source watershed governance proposes an ecosystems based planning approach be taken that includes consideration for the land (tree and soil), water (surface and ground), air (quality), and risk (wildfire and flood hazards)”.
Ecosystem-based conservation planning is a management strategy that as the first priority “maintains or restores natural ecological integrity — including biodiversity across the full range of spatial (from very large to very small areas) and temporal (from short to long periods of time) scales.” (Silva Foundation)
In 2018 Slocan River Streamkeepers Society received a grant from the RDCK to create a document to inform (and provide recommendations) on ecosystem based management strategies to maintain the ecological and hydrological integrity of the watershed. This gap-analysis project has included two key steps: 1) a literature review, and 2) Interviews with the local scientists, members of Streamkeepers and local residents who have been involved with studies of, and conservation efforts for, the Slocan River.
For the purpose of the analysis, the study area includes the Slocan River from its outlet at Slocan Lake to the confluence with the Kootenay River.
You can download the revised version of the report here:
Toadfest 2019 at Summit Lake
Above: Slocan River Streamkeepers’ table at Toadfest, in a previous year
- Wednesday, August 21, from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., and
- Thursday, August 22 from 9:00 a.m. to 12 noon.
It’s a great, free, fun, family event organized by the Fish & Wildlife Compensation Program, to raise awareness of Western Toads and other species. Learn about the toads’ natural history, life cycle and habitat needs before visiting the display featuring other local species.
Adult toads migrate in early spring to breed at Summit Lake. The dime-size toadlets migrate from Summit Lake to upland habitat in the summer.
If there are toadlets in Summit Lake Provincial Park during Toadfest, visitors will get the opportunity to help them safely migrate across the highway. The public are reminded not to collect and move the toadlets across the highway outside of this event.
Thanks to our Toadfest partners: B.C. Parks, Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure and the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations & Rural Development.
For more information contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 250-352-1300.
Our New Water-Monitoring Project
Funded by Columbia Basin Trust and Slocan Integral Forestry Cooperative, Slocan River Streamkeepers are conducting field studies to assess water quality and temperature at specific sites along Slocan River to identify long-term trends or changes to ecological processes due to human-caused factors — such as the jet fuel spill in Lemon Creek and the landslide on Little Slocan River; the monitoring of water levels of select community water sources during low flows; recording and analyzing the physical, chemical, and biological factors present at strategic and historic sites throughout the watershed.
This addresses four main issues: Rising water temperatures and their effect on aquatic ecosystems, specifically Rainbow Trout and Bull Trout. Effects of sedimentation caused by stream bank erosion on water quality and aquatic species downstream of the landslide on Little Slocan. Effects of climate change on community waters sources. The recovery of aquatic life in Lemon Creek.
Water-quality sampling sites are located at strategic and historic sites on the Slocan River and tributaries at Passmore/South Slocan, and on Little Slocan River. Water-flow monitoring is on four creeks between Vallican and Appledale: McFayden Creek, Rice Creek, Trozzo Creek, and Ravine Creek. The work in Winlaw Creek will involve an education outreach program with the Whole School and Winlaw Elementary School. Both the monitoring of benthic invertebrates and the Canadian Aquatic Biomonitoring Network protocol take place at the same site previously sampled on Lemon Creek.
Healing Earth: an Evening Presentation with John Todd in Nelson, BC Thursday May 30th, 2019 at 7pm
Venue: Shambhala Music & Performance Hall, Selkirk College
700 Tenth Street, Nelson, British Columbia
We are very fortunate that Dr John Todd has accepted to share his lifetime experience, knowledge and wisdom with us in the Kootenays.
John Todd is an ecological design pioneer, an innovative restoration ecologist and a marine biologist who has worked in many parts of the world for the last 50 years. He’s the recipient of numerous awards; he was the first winner of the Buckminster Fuller Challenge for the best idea to help save humanity in 2008. The entry was “Design for a Carbon Neutral World: The Challenge of Appalachia”. And in 1990, the United Nations (FUNEP) Award for contributions to the Global Environment.
His new book: ”Healing Earth: An Ecologist’s Journey of Innovation and Stewardship” was published in January 2019.
This event is co-hosted by Kootenay Permaculture Institute and Slocan River Streamkeepers.
You can buy your tickets for $10 (plus fees) here:
Slocan River Streamkeepers 2019 AGM — May 27
Valley residents are invited to the Slocan River Streamkeepers’ upcoming AGM. The Slocan River Streamkeepers’ mission has been to protect and rehabilitate the aquatic and wetland ecosystems of Slocan River through Education & Outreach, Restoration & Enhancement, Monitoring & Research — in collaboration with the community and local stakeholders. Ever since the Streamkeepers Society was founded in 2003, active-volunteer members have been working in conjunction with professional scientists, technicians, and educators contracted for specific roles. The general public is welcomed to the AGM, which will convene on May27, at 6:30pm at the Passmore Hall.
from the 2019 KCP Winter Webinar Series:
Conservation in the Context of Climate Change – Restoration in Action
The Kootenay Conservation Program was pleased to bring back the Winter Webinar Series, from January to March. The four-part series focused on the theme of “Conservation in the Context of Climate Change – Restoration in Action.”
WEBINAR #3: Riparian and Wetland Restoration in the Slocan Valley
You can watch the third webinar in the KCP Winter Webinar Series. The Slocan River Streamkeepers have implemented over 40 riparian restoration projects in the Slocan Valley since 2005, restoring the equivalent of 5 km of riverbank. Some of the projects have also included fish habitat enhancement. More recently, the Streamkeepers have also implemented some wetland restoration and enhancement projects. In this webinar, Gregoire Lamoureux, restoration ecologist with Slocan River Streamkeepers, will talk about some of the projects that have been implemented over the years, the importance of good relationship with landowners, the challenges & benefits of the projects and more.
This webinar is presented in collaboration with the Columbia Basin Watershed Network.
A wetland restoration project on private land at Crooked Horn Farm in Winlaw, BC was initiated by the Slocan River Streamkeepers in 2016 and completed in Summer 2017. We gratefully received funding from the Fish & Wildlife Compensation Program and National Wetlands Conservation Fund for the project. This wildlife enhancement project has specifically consisted of creating habitat for a diversity of species including amphibians and painted turtles and also adding some bird boxes and bat houses. (The Streamkeepers had previously implemented an adjacent riparian restoration project including in-stream fish habitat structures on the property in 2013.)
The project is located adjacent to Slocan Valley Rail Trail, hence it affords opportunities for public education and raising awareness of the importance of wetlands.
Slocan River Streamkeepers’ Gap Analysis
The Regional District of Central Kootenay provided grant funding of $5,600 enabling us to hire someone to research and compile findings of past studies of the ecology and hydrology of the Slocan River. Part of the intent is to identify areas of worthwhile study for the future.
We’ve hired Dominique Monnier — a graduate of Selkirk College’s Integrated Environmental Planning program, subsequently working for two years as a BC Park Ranger, and afterwards as a field technician and field supervisor in biological and environmental programs.
The study includes a review of fish assessments, and animal, plant, and habitat conditions, as well as geographical features that define the life and function of the river. We expect the work will also suggest management strategies for maintaining ecological integrity.
This review and analysis will give Slocan River Streamkeepers direction in planning future restoration work and protection of past projects. We thank the RDCK for the support. We’ll keep interested public informed on findings through newspaper articles and this website.