Why are ecological corridors so critical to ensuring healthy ecosystems?
Around the world, the scientific, conservation and regulatory communities recognize the critical importance of connected, unfragmented habitats and wildlife movement corridors for sustaining healthy biodiversity. Biodiversity is the variety of all life forms (plants, animals, fungi and micro-organisms) that work together to sustain life for all of nature’s forms. Connectivity allows for species to move and shift in response to environmental factors such as drought, fire, infestations, and human development. In the Kootenays, large riparian-wetland complexes in our valley bottoms are essential to sustaining biodiversity and ecological connectivity over time, especially in the face of climate change
What is the Bonanza Biodiversity Corridor?
The Bonanza Biodiversity Corridor (BBC), located between the communities of Hills and Summit Lake in Area H North, links Slocan and Summit Lakes at the north end of the Slocan Lake Watershed. The 14,000-hectare BBC encompasses the entire drainage of Bonanza Creek, with the following hydrologic boundaries: North-South (Summit Lake to the north shore of Slocan Lake) and East-West (from the watershed divide for Fitzstubbs Creek) to the western ridge line of the Valhalla Mountains.
The BBC represents the broad range of diversity present in the BC inland temperate rainforest, characterized by productive interior cedar-hemlock and high elevation subalpine spruce and fir forests. The valley bottom hosts a diversity of wetland types (e.g. swamps, marshes and fens) and a rare assemblage of plants. Click here to view the BBC Landscape Map.
What vital role does the BBC play in the Slocan Lake Watershed?
The BBC, an important hydrologic system, contains one of the highest concentration of wetlands in the Slocan Lake Watershed. The numerous BBC riparian and wetland complexes act as an aquatic filter for sediment and provide vital nutrients to the lake supporting its water quality and fish habitat. Bonanza Creek is one of the primary spawning grounds for Kokanee on Slocan Lake. The BBC is recognized as a vital wildlife corridor connecting the Valhalla and Goat Mountain Ranges. With ongoing climate change, the BBC and its connectivity to other wildlife corridors will provide a refugia for several wildlife species of concern and continue to grow in ecological value.
For further details about the BBC as a biodiversity corridor please go to High Level Overview of the Bonanza Biodiversity Corridor (KCP 2018).