Thursday, January 28, 2010

Important Fish and Wildlife Habitat Secured in the Sea to Sky Corridor

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 27, 2010

Important Fish and Wildlife Habitat Secured in the Sea to Sky Corridor

SQUAMISH, B.C. – The Land Conservancy of BC and the District of Squamish are pleased to announce the protection of over seven hectares of fish and wildlife habitat in the heart of the District of Squamish.

Known as the Squamish Mamquam Blind Channel and located in the traditional territory of the Squamish Nation, the property is on the shared floodplain of the Squamish and Mamquam rivers and is surrounded by a tidal slough and drainage channels. These water sources are key rearing and overwintering habitat for young salmon, and areas for adult salmon to migrate and spawn.

Since 2006, TLC has been working in close partnership with the Squamish River Watershed Society (SRWS) to acquire the site that is bisected by the Sea to Sky Highway (Highway 99) and north of the Squamish Adventure Centre.

Besides the waterways, the upland area of the property includes a marsh meadow but is mostly forested with Sitka Spruce, Red Alder, Western Red Cedar and Black Cottonwood. The variety of habitats on the site provides refuge for many species, including various species-at-risk and nesting songbirds. The species-at-risk include the endangered Pacific Water Shrew and the threatened Red-Legged Frog.

In addition to the site’s wildlife values, its proximity to the Tourism Centre and to the urban area of Squamish, gives the property an exciting potential for future educational opportunities. The expansion of the nearby trail system may also increase recreational access to the property.

TLC gratefully acknowledges the generous assistance of BCR Properties Ltd., District of Squamish, BC Hydro Bridge Coastal Restoration Fund, CN Cheakamus Ecosystem Recovery Fund, Pacific Salmon Foundation, Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure’s Sea-to-Sky Highway Improvement Project and BC Trust for Public Lands.

Partnerships were vital in the conservation of this important site. “Congratulations to the TLC and to all the partners that worked together to make preservation of this important wetland area in central Squamish a reality. This is an example of implementing one of our primary objectives in our draft Official Community Plan of preserving, protecting and enhancing the natural environment and environmentally sensitive areas,” says District of Squamish Mayor Greg Gardner.

“Protecting or enhancing sensitive areas is a key interest of CN and we are pleased to support this project,” says Normand Pellerin, CN Assistant Vice-President Environment. “In line with our previous commitments such as assisting with protecting a portion of the Squamish Estuary, CN continues to work with the community to ensure the ongoing recovery of the Cheakamus ecosystem as evidenced by our partnership with TLC.”

Angela Buckingham, Chief Environmental Officer with the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure says: “The Ministry, through the Sea-to-Sky Highway Improvement Project, is pleased to provide financial support to protect this valuable habitat. We are proud to partner with the TLC and other contributors in preserving this property for future generations.”

The land was purchased from BCR Properties Ltd. in December 2008 and the final step of transferring the ownership of the site from TLC to the District of Squamish will occur by February 2010. TLC will hold a conservation covenant which will permanently protect the natural features of the area. Future management of the site will be in partnership with TLC, the District of Squamish and the SRWS.

Since 1997, TLC has been saving special places throughout our beautiful province for today and future generations. As B.C.’s leading charitable land trust, we have protected more than 300 properties or 125,000 acres of fast disappearing natural areas, historic sites, farms and ranches, and places of community and recreational importance. TLC is proud to work on behalf of over 7,000 Members worldwide. Become a Member today at www.conservancy.bc.ca.

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For more information:
Tamsin Baker - TLC (604) 733-2313
Edith Tobe – Squamish River Watershed Society (604) 898-9171
Kim Muller – District of Squamish (604) 815-5025

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