SWAMP releases Report on Phase I of the project

Click to download the report.

Click to download the report.

Slocan Watershed Assessment and Monitoring Project (SWAMP) has just released its final report on the first phase of its multi-year project to look at all of the wetlands in the Slocan Watershed of south-eastern BC. The Report, entitled SWAMP Phase I, is available for download by clicking here. Funding was provided by Columbia Basin Trust and BC Wildlife Federation.
This initiative is an outgrowth of the wetlands training program put on by BC Wildlife Foundation (See June 23, 2013 post below.) The collaborative SWAMP joins the non-profit organizations Slocan River Streamkeepers, Slocan Lake Stewardship Society and Slocan Solutions Society with the BC Wildlife Federation, the Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program, Regional District of Central Kootenay, and other provincial organizations.
Phase II of the SWAMP project, mapping the initial wetlands, is underway. Columbia Basin Trust has again provided funding.

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Giant Water Bug

I have been meaning to post this for some time. You will note that the “bug” was found in November.. partially frozen. Thanks to Tyson Ehlers for this information and the pictures.
I thought I’d share these photos of Lethocerus americanus (Giant Water Bug) that my 9 year old son Silas and his friends found in the wetlands adjacent to the river by our place in Vallican (site of the BCWF wetlands tour last summer). They found the bug partially frozen in ice in late November and it has since been living in a goldfish bowl. It is very active and feeds readily on minnows. I had no idea these existed in our area. The other common name is ‘Toe Biter’ as they can inflict a painful bite. They inject their prey with powerful enzymes like spiders and then feed on the partially digested insides.

photo by Tyson Ehlers

photo by Tyson Ehlers

photo by Tyson Ehlers

photo by Tyson Ehlers

Creation of SWAMP

Birders-TNA successful wetlands workshop was held at Hunter Siding Marsh on Bonanza Creek from June 7 to 9, 2013. Twenty-five people participated in the training that was provided by Neil Fletcher and his helpers from the BC Wildlife Federation (BCWF). Specialists in soils, wildlife, birds, insects, amphibians and bats were brought in to provide the training. A bio-blitz of Bonanza Marsh was performed at the same time by many of the same specialists. The results of the work on both marshes will be posted on this site as soon as they have been compiled by the BCWF.

A follow-up meeting was held in Winlaw on June 12, 2013 to consider further work to be done on the wetlands of the Slocan Watershed. This resulted in some creative thinking and the initiation of a collaborative group, the Slocan Wetlands Assessment & Mapping Project, SWAMP, to further the work started by the workshop.

Swamp Logo2
SWAMP Vision: To see healthy, intact functioning wetlands and riparian areas providing home to diverse species and providing natural processes throughout the Slocan Valley.
Initial work will be to identify all of the wetlands in the watershed. Then prioritize them and begin the mapping and categorization process. Restoration projects will be identified throughout the process as well as identification of unique habitat or biodiversity wetlands that need special status.
As this group develops a communications network will be set up to keep everyone aware of the work that is involved. This website will be a link in that network. Stay tuned.

River Otters

North American river otters (Lontra canadensis) are elusive mammals and little is known of their current population and ecology in most of interior British Columbia including the West Kootenays. Otters are a social species and the top predator within freshwater aquatic ecosystems.  Our limited knowledge about their local ecology and the role otters play within these ecosystems is not well understood.  Elsewhere in Eastern Canada and parts of the United States river otter presence is used as an indicator for water quality and ecosystem health.
Local research efforts are underway to discover more about their populations and ecology, and you can help!
Send us your otter stories, where you saw them and when. The most recent sightings are best.
Please send to zzoist@gmail.com
The above post is from researcher Rhia Mackenzie. You can also send your stories in the comment section below and I will forward them to her. Because otters are a fur bearing animal all data and stories will be kept confidential and not be shown on this site. Rhia will only use the data for further research. 

Eurasian Collared Doves

Eurasian Collared Doves have been identified in New Denver. This species, which has been in Nakusp for several years was only first recorded in this area when I saw one in Rosebery last year. I did not see it apart from a few days in the spring when it sat in the neighbour’s tree and called regularly. Since we had a nesting pair of Merlins in the same area it may have moved on or worse (for the dove). Thanks to Anne Champagne for reporting the sighting.

Eurasia Collared Doves are not native to this area and a considered “invasive”. Please report any further sightings to this website.

Further on bird sightings, I am happy to report that the Barn Swallows (a species of concern in this area) are back in Silverton. There are perhaps three or more pair flying around and hopefully nesting again. There were two pairs nesting in Silverton the last couple of years.

Western Toads and Butterflies

After attending the Columbia Mountain Institute presentations in Silverton, we went on a field trip with Jakob Dulisse to Summit Lake. Looked at the fencing and culvert structures and examined four male Western Toads. One of the toads examined had been “tagged” earlier with an electronically readable implant. I gathered “road-kill butterflies. Four Mourning Cloaks, one Green Comma and one Orea’s Comma. Caught, identified and released one beautiful male Spring Azure.

Butterflies are back

The snow is nearly gone and all the birds are arriving. Yesterday I saw the first butterfly of the year for me.  Thanks to John Acorn for identifying it as Compton Tortoiseshell (Nymphalis vaualbum). He notes “the  large white spots are good field marks”.  She was skittish and drinking from a mud puddle.

Also checked out the mussel shells at the north end of Slocan Lake. They are definitely Anodonta and, Dick Callison and I believe they are A. oregonensis.

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