The Columbia Valley Wetlands covers an area from Canal Flats to Donald
and is the longest continuous wetlands remaining on the continent. It
covers 26,000 hectares (64,000 acres) and supports over 260 resident
and migratory bird species. The Columbia flood plain is very flat and
ranges from 1-2 km in width.
Wetlands are places where water accumulates for a period long enough so
that waterlogged, oxygen-depleted soils develop and water loving
vegetation grows. The wetlands play a vital ecological role by
providing habitat for a rich variety of plants and animals and they
remove as much as 90% of sediment and toxins from water. The wetlands
also help prevent global warming by slowing the release of carbon
dioxide into the atmosphere.
Of greatest concern in the Columbia Wetlands are the Northern
Leopard Frog and the White Sturgeon. Two other listed species are the
Prairie Falcon and the Short Eared Owl. Also affected are the many
species of migratory waterfowl and song birds, which come each year,
seeking haven to rest on their flight or safe and suitable nesting
sites. Without these their numbers will dwindle.
The Columbia River wetlands were declared a wildlife management area
in 1996. Following recommendations by the Commission on Resources and
Environment in 1994 this area was identified as a high priority for
special status conservation. The Columbia has been designated a B.C.
For more information on the wetlands or if you would like to become
a member of the Friends of the Columbia Wetlands Society log on to
their web site at www.focw.com