A Grand Wetlandkeepers Course

The Grand Forks Wetlandkeepers workshop (June 14-16) was held at Selkirk College and featured FLNRO biologist Lisa Tedesco as well as 18 participants, whose knowledge and expertise were a wonderful addition to the course! At the workshop, we had the privilege to host many environmental groups in the area, such as the Christina Lake Stewardship Society, the Kettle River Management Advisory Committee, and the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary. We also had the opportunity to visit Boothman’s Oxbow and learn about its unique ecology. As a mosaic of birds swirled above us, we effortlessly saw a wide range of animal species throughout the marsh and grasslands – representing the significance that this area has for biodiversity.

Lisa led the group on a search for amphibians in Boothman’s Oxbow, teaching us some identification tips along the way. We were successful in finding a few species, including the Columbia Spotted Frog, Pacific Tree Frog, and the Western Toad. Here are a couple ID tips that we learned over the weekend:

A Columbia Spotted Frog found at Boothman's Oxbow

A Columbia Spotted Frog found at Boothman’s Oxbow

-Spadefoot tadpoles have eyes that are close together
-Pacific Tree Frog tadpoles have eyes that bulge out of the sides of their heads, and their eyes have a distinct eye stripe
-Salamander tadpoles have gills, unlike frog and toad tadpoles which have none
-Salamanders don’t call, so auditory sampling will often miss salamanders

Along with amphibians, the group sampled the invertebrates that were present in the water. We found a range of molluscs, water striders, and many other insects. One participant even found an unidentified swimming object!

After our additional GPS, vegetation survey, and compass field sessions, the group returned to Selkirk for some insightful discussions. Graham Watt of the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary is in the process of developing a watershed management plan for Kettle River, and his enthusiasm for watershed conservation was certainly contagious. This project under the Riparian Threat Assessment – a provincial initiative – will use digital elevation models to construct BC’s terrain and will identify areas that are or have the potential to be riparian areas. This data is valuable for identifying areas in need of protection or conservation and promotes viewing the watershed as a whole, not as a segregated system with unlinked streams and wetlands. As Brenda LaCroix of the Christina Lake Stewardship Society said, “Once we view the watershed as a whole, we begin to see pollution as an impact to everyone and we begin to share the responsibility of conservation.”

Neil leading a compass training exercise

Neil leading a compass training exercise

Special thanks to Lisa Tedesco, Graham Watt, and to Kristen, Heather, Jill, Brenda, and Doug of the Christina Lake Stewardship Society! If you would like to view photos from this event, check out our Flickr album here!

Thank you to all of our partners for all of their support!
grandforkspartners

This event was made possible by our generous sponsors:Grand Forks WK Sponsors

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