Over the first weekend in October, the BCWF held back to back Map our Marshes (MoM) workshops, engaging two enthusiastic groups of local community members. When we leave a community it is our hope that they will take the knowledge learnt that day and begin to map wetlands in their community. Fortunately, our workshops in Passmore and Peachland both tied into growing mapping initiatives in their respective areas.
From previous events held in the Slocan Valley, including a Wetland Symposium, Wetland Institute, and Wetlandkeepers workshop, several members in the community joined together to form the Slocan Wetland Assessment & Monitoring Program (SWAMP). Their vision: To see healthy, intact functioning wetlands and riparian areas providing home to diverse species and providing natural processes throughout the Slocan Valley.
We specially tailored the Passmore MoM to give light to SWAMP’s vision, with part of the training led by Ryan Durrand of Taara Environmental. Ryan led the group through a number of wetland assessment forms to determine what wetland factors are important for the area and which measurements would be feasible for SWAMP to collect. The Wetland Education Program and Taara Environmental will be working together to further develop a wetland assessment form specifically for the Slocan region. The BCWF Wetlands Education Program is committed to assisting the SWAMP initiative through consultation and information sharing.
At the Peachland MoM workshop, we were fortunate to have Adam Patterson of Ecoscape in attendance. Ecoscape has been a leader in mapping wetlands, demonstrated in their mapping work in Kelowna, which helped the City double development setbacks from wetlands. Ecoscape is currently in the preliminary stages of a similar planning initiative for the Peachland region. Adam spoke to participants on how they can get involved by helping with wetland ground truthing and communicating with Ecoscape was to which wetlands are of particular importance.
We were also delighted that 7 of our 12 participants were active members of BCWF clubs. Hunters and anglers are a valuable resource to wetland mapping initiatives through their connection with the land and outdoor recreation. Furthermore, they often own GPS units. We would like to thank Bethany Froehlich of the Peachland Sportsmen’s Association for assisting with the planning of the Peachland MoM Workshop. The Wetland Education Program is eager to see how this initial training progresses and will offer assistance wherever possible.
These workshops would not have been possible without the generous support of the following sponsors: Columbia Basin Trust, Wildlife Habitat Canada, Shell Canada, Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program, and the Government of BC.