Overview: The wetlands and riparian areas in the Bonanza Biodiversity Corridor (BBC) support a wide range of critical ecosystems and habitats, contributing significantly to the hydrologic functioning of the Slocan Lake Watershed. The historic Canadian Pacific Railway railbed berm runs the length of the BBC’s valley bottom like a linear dam. It impedes water flows and drainage from the upslopes and modifies the creek meanderings. This and the other forces of nature, including climate change, have negatively impact the BBC wetland dynamics through time. In 2018, the BBC Working Group identified the need to proceed with wetland restoration and expand our knowledge base of critical and sensitive habitats in the corridor (i.e. Species at Risk, beaver, fish and amphibian demographics, Old Growth).
Bonanza Wetland Enhancement Projects: In the fall in 2019, SLSS was awarded provincial and federal funding for the restoration of three wetland complexes along Bonanza Creek. As of 2020, we are in the second year of the three-year project. Our Bonanza Project Team completed the baseline planning for the restorations and developed site-specific solutions for each of the target restoration sites. All restoration plans address multiple factors including current hydro flows, Species at Risk (SAR), established habitats, existing vegetation coverage and presence of invasive species. Cultural studies and archeological reviews were conducted for all three restoration sites in the summer of 2020.
Although specific restoration objectives vary from site to site, tailored prescriptions for each restoration site address the following overarching objectives:
- Re-establish hydrologic connectivity between the wetland and riparian zones
- Identify existing SAR and sensitive aquatic habitats
- Re-establish native vegetation to improve biodiversity of plants
Wetland complexes to be restored are Identified below. Wetland locations can be viewed on the Bonanza Project Overview Map.
- Hunter Siding (2.3 hectares)
- Upper Bonanza (12.9 hectares)
- South Summit Lake Wetland (2.1 hectares
For a bird’s eye view of the restoration sites and our high-level plans, we encourage you to view the Bonanza Wetlands Enhancement Project video link on the Kootenay Connect website page for the Bonanza conservation neighborhood. Take the 6-minute ride and enjoy the numerous aerial views and detailed narrative that lets you travel along Bonanza Creek like a bird! Click here for link to KCP site Bonanza page.
All restoration activities require a permit issued by B.C.’s Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development.
Implementations of the projects will be staggered by year; Hunter Siding will be implemented in the fall of 2020 and the remaining two sites in the fall of 2021.
Bonanza Sub Projects: Through our ongoing partnership with the Kootenay Conservation Program and, in particular the Kootenay Connect initiative there are three additional projects in the Bonanza corridor being conducted in conjunction with the restoration work. The scope of these projects covers the length of the BBC and not just the restoration sites. Varying techniques and best practices methodologies are being used to deliver ecosystem mapping and related assessments to cover the following:
- Beavers (Habitat Assessment)
- Old Growth Locations (Mapping)
- Species at Risk (Habitat Assessment, Mapping)
Project Resources and Funding: The Resource Plan for this project draws upon a team of professionals ranging from ecologists, hydrologists and habitat specialists to restoration construction crews, machinery and equipment. Grant funding for the Project was provided by the Columbia Basin Trust (Ecosystem Enhancement Program) and through SLSS’s partnership with the Kootenay Conservation Program under Environment & Climate Change Canada (Canada Fund for Nature). Other SLSS partners directly involved in the Project include the Okanagan Nation Alliance, the North Slocan Trails Society and the Slocan River Streamkeepers Society.
Progress Reporting and Updates: As project and restoration work progress, we will update the SLSS website with ongoing status reports commencing in Nov 2020. As summary reports and qualitative information becomes publicly available for distribution, project results and reports will be published.