A Wetlands Consortium: Slocan Valley Wetlands Working Group

Collaboration plays a significant role in land and water management, while encouraging cooperative action amongst communities. On June 12th we hosted the Slocan Valley Wetlands Working Group, which featured economic, cultural, social, and environmental interests to plan future projects and goals for watershed conservation in the Slocan Valley. We had the privilege of listening to many key guest speakers, including Marilyn James of the Sinixt First Nations, Irene Manley of the Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program (FWCP), Ryan Durand of Taara Environmental, Marilyn Burgoon of Perry Ridge Water Users Association, Margaret Hartley of the Slocan Lake Stewardship Society, Jennifer Yeow of the Slocan River Streamkeepers, Richard Johnson of the Slocan Lake Research Centre, Gerry Nellestijn of the Salmo Watershed Streamkeepers Society, Lee Hesketh of the Riparian Interface Stewardship Program, and Llewellyn Matthews of the Slocan River Riparian Restoration Program. Other groups in attendance were Nelson White Water Rafting, Slocan River Watch, Slocan Valley Watershed Alliance, and the Columbia Basin Watershed Network. This impressive list of representatives as well as 15 other participants collaborated on strategies to enhance and extend watershed conservation and stewardship in the Slocan Valley. This workshop was a follow-up session to our New Denver Wetlandkeepers course from June 7-9 (read about the course here), and it was a pleasure to see many familiar faces!

The Slocan Valley has been identified by the FWCP’s Columbia Basin Riparian and Wetland Action Plan (RWAP) as one of six priority areas for investments into environmental conservation and stewardship. The following list is a set of the Slocan Valley’s primary objectives to enhance and secure watershed conservation (available here):

Participants discussing watershed conservation strategies. Photo by Jason Jobin.
  • Determine abundance, distribution, and category of riparian habitats
  • Identify small wetlands outside focal areas for possible protection and management
  • Secure or improve cross-valley habitat linkages for wildlife
  • Contribute to wetland/riparian land acquisition/covenant opportunities as they arise
  • Monitor restoration treatments
  • Record baseline spring waterfowl and focal species surveys 

One of the outcomes of the working group was the creation of the Slocan Wetlands Assessment & Mapping Project (SWAMP), a group that plans on mapping and prioritizing all the wetlands in the watershed in order to get an understanding of the Valley’s conservation and restoration needs. Once SWAMP becomes more established, the Slocan Valley will be well-equipped to begin completing their RWAP goals. In order to accomplish this, the working group and SWAMP have identified the following key objectives:

  • Compile a list of stewardship and conservation programs, as well as, existing data
  • Map and classify wetlands/riparian areas through GPS and ground surveys (involving local volunteers)
  • Increase public involvement and education to encourage communication of results and interests
  • Initiatives for regulatory enforcement and maintenance of protected areas
  • Educate private land owners on incentives for protecting ecological integrity

We’re excited to be a part of this initiative and we look forward to seeing all of SWAMP’s great work! If you would like to get involved with the future of Slocan watershed conservation, please leave a comment on the Slocan Lake Research Centre’s website here. To check out photos from the workshop, visit our Flick page here!

The Slocan Valley Wetlands Working Group was organized in partnership with:


This project would not have been possible without the generous financial support of our sponsors:

Sponsors logos

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