These beautiful signs were made possible from funding provided by BC Hydro.
If you haven’t been down to Elizabeth Lake lately, go and take a look at the new interpretation signs, designed and erected by a dedicated group of Rocky Mountain Naturalists.
These beautiful signs were made possible from funding provided by BC Hydro.
Limber Pine Recovery: A Challenging but Necessary Venture
Limber pine is an uncommon 5-needle pine tree, only known to occur in a small number of locations within British Columbia (BC), including a few stands in in the Crowsnest Pass Region, stands near Elko, a major population along Columbia Lake that extends north to the Radium area, and another large population in the Kicking Horse Canyon near Golden. Throughout its range in BC, limber pine is primarily found on warm aspects, calcareous soils, talus slopes, and limestone outcrops (Pigott and Moody, 2013).
Limber pine is a red-listed species in BC and is designated as endangered by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC). Limber pine is a conservation concern due to several factors, including (Pigott and Moody, 2013):
Several strategies are used to conserve and recover limber pine, one of which is planting. Planting is considered to be one of the more productive restoration activities (Pigott and Moody, 2013). On September 3, 2016, 11 members of the Rocky Mountain Naturalists (RMNats), 3 members of the Elk River Alliance, and a member of the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC), planted limber pine seedlings on south and west facing grassland slopes on Mount Broadwood, a conservation property managed and owned by NCC. A total of 1,180 seedlings were planted within approximately 6 hectares.
Two years following the planting, on September 8, 2018, 9 members of the RMNats and a member of NCC, returned to the site to assess survival success of the seedlings using randomly located 5.99 m radius plots within the 6 hectare planting site. Within each 5.99 m radius plot, the number of alive and dead seedlings found were to be recorded (Figure 1). From there, an average number of surviving seedlings per hectare could be calculated.
A total of 8 radius plots were conducted within the planting site (Figure 2). Unfortunately, no seedlings were found to be alive. The harsh conditions of the planting site as well as two consecutive drought years are suspected to have contributed to mortality. Summer drought is becoming more common and must be considered while planning recovery activities, such as planting. Although mortality was 100%, monitoring of the site was critical to discover the seedlings had died and also evaluate what may have contributed to their death. This information will inform future limber pine planting initiatives in the region.
A big thank you goes out to the RMNat members who participated in the 2016 planting and 2018 monitoring events. Your efforts are aiding in the recovery of the endangered limber pine tree in BC.
Pigott, D. and R. Moody. 2013. The Loneliest Pine. Limber Pine in British Columbia, Factsheet 2. Forest Genetics Council of BC. Available at: http://www.fgcouncil.bc.ca/LimberPine-BC-Factsheet2-April2013.pdf.
Summary to Date
16 April 2017
By Dianne Cooper
Since the spring of 2015, four renewable energy companies started working towards developing utility-scale solar electricity generation facilities on Crown land in the East Kootenay.
Because greenhouse gasses are not a by-product of solar power production, solar is seen as part of the solution to transition us from a carbon-based economy to a greener one and help us lessen the negative impacts we have had on our biosphere. There is much support for renewable clean energy.
The Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations (MFLNRO) has granted three companies the use of about 5,600 hectares of Crown land, all in the valley bottom, to investigate the feasibility of solar utilities. But the B. C. Government does not have any policies regarding solar power development; they are using the criteria for wind power to make decisions on requests for Crown land. Yet, solar array facilities have vastly different requirements and impacts than wind power. They are comparable to hydro reservoirs in their land requirement. The ones proposed here on Crown land would likely be completely fenced in, making the land unavailable for any other use. Their footprint maybe larger than the fenced area if safety and security buffer zones are required.
First, the renewable energy companies plan on placing monitoring equipment on the land to measure sunlight (even though this can be measured via satellite). During this exploratory phase, according to their application documents, they will begin to look at the environmental, social, and cultural concerns of these developments. This phase, aside from the business aspects, will test regulatory requirements and efficiency of the B. C. Government and Regional District of East Kootenay (RDEK); and it will reveal the public sentiment on solar development in British Columbia. All of these companies have extensive experience building other renewable energy facilities such as wind and run-of-river projects.
Land Grant Size
Approximately 5,600 hectares (56 km2, 2.2 sq. mi) of valley bottom Crown lands have been granted. How much land is 5,600 hectares?
The problem is with the location and type of land being sought and granted. Almost all of the land granted is NOT on brownfield, such as the Sun Mine, but on ecologically valuable land in the valley bottom. This land contains native grassland, a continentally endangered, globally significant ecosystem critical for several species at risk and many other species. It is critical winter range for our abundant big game populations. Much of this land and its species have already benefitted from habitat restoration paid for by the B. C. Government and organizations. Also, much is open rangeland for cattle, a viable and esteemed industry in the area run by ranchers, trying to do so in an environmentally considerate way.
One notable grant of 2,500 ha of Crown land is in an area designated as an Important Bird/Biodiversity Area (IBA). Skookumchuck Prairie IBA contains one percent of Canada’s population of Long-billed Curlew (SARA Special Concern, BC Blue-listed). It was officially recognized for its importance to curlew in the early 2000s by Bird Life International and is the only IBA in the East Kootenay at present.
Bird Life International is a global partnership of conservation groups working from the local level to the global level to help sustain all life on Earth. The criteria and data used for declaring an area as an IBA are internationally recognized and rigorous. The aim is to protect a carefully chosen network of sites that are most critical for the survival of species at risk. All the species dependent on that land will benefit as well. There are over 12,000 IBAs worldwide including marine areas, and 325 in Canada and 85 in B. C. BC Nature oversees the IBA programme in British Columbia and supports the network of IBA caretakers. I am the caretaker of Skookumchuck Prairie IBA.
Most of the time, the main Prairie, in the northwest section of the IBA, sits quietly unnoticed by humans as they drive by on Hwy 93/95 heading for the pulp mill or going between communities nestled in the Trench. We see the deer, elk, and cattle and understand these larger creatures’ need for easier forage. But also living here at various times of the year are the Long-billed Curlew, American Badger (SARA Endangered, B.C. Red-listed), and the Lewis’s Woodpecker (SARA Threatened, B.C. Blue-listed), as well as myriad other birds, animals, and plants forming this grassland community.
Most of the curlew habitat is not part of a solar grant. Half of it is actually on private land, not Crown. But one 59 ha field is totally within a Crown grant. It is home to at least one and likely two pairs of Long-billed Curlew. This field is also designated as a Wildlife Habitat Area for the curlew and for the antelope brush / bunch grass ecosystem.
Also included in a solar grant is 1,500 ha of habitat suitable for Lewis’s Woodpecker. Most of this habitat was recreated through restoration and enhancement work started in 1987. Most recently, this work has been carried out by the Rocky Mountain Trench Natural Resources Society at significant cost to the B. C. Government and other funders.
Some people would see this open pine grassland as mere scrubland. Some would see it as ungulate winter range. And some would also see it as valuable valley bottom habitat. It is constantly under threat of development because there’s so little of it left to begin with and it’s a hospitable and beautiful place for humans as well. To the Lewis’s Woodpecker, these open fields with small groves and plenty of snags are paradise! The woodpeckers have begun to recolonize the area. Last year, in just two hours of driving through a small section of the restored lands, I found FOUR Lewis’s Woodpecker nests.
It is difficult to understand how the MFLNRO could allow this land to be part of a grant for renewable energy exploration. The Canadian Wildlife Service policy is that IF utility-scale solar power facilities go ahead on any of these lands, mitigation measures MUST be carried out for “identified wildlife”. That is good, IF it can be done. But better yet, why consider locating these facilities on ecologically valuable land in the first place?
Other Ways of Doing It
At a recent presentation to the Regional District of East Kootenay, Michel de Spot of EcoSmart said “you don’t have to use green virgin land”. EcoSmart was a partner in developing the Sun Mine in Kimberley, which is on reclaimed brownfield, the site of the former Sullivan Mine’s Concentrator. EcoSmart is also partnering with the only company proposing a solar array on similar brownfield, a gravel quarry near Fort Steele.
Mr. de Spot gave examples of alternative locations for solar arrays that would have potentially less environmental impacts: mountainsides, floating on reservoirs, on fish ponds, on agricultural fields planted with sun-sensitive crops. He pointed out that communities themselves, such as the T’Sou-ke First Nation, can develop their own solar facilities. But actually, the technology for solar power production gives us another option: a decentralized power grid. Mr. de Spot stated that eventually it will be cheaper to put solar panels on your roof than to purchase electricity from B. C. Hydro. While we are waiting for that to happen, rather than first using brownfields and the like, is it time already to sacrifice more ecologically valuable land?
The former Sullivan Mine Concentrator site still has 4,000 ha of land available for solar. With a full build of PV panels that would be enough to produce 12,000 megawatts, said Mr. de Spot.
Application Details Part 1
At the beginning of this article, I stated that FOUR renewable energy companies were working on developing solar power in the Kootenays and that THREE have been granted Crown land. More specifically, a total of TEN separate applications have been submitted to date.
The first one, by Node Engineering, was for a gravel quarry between Cranbrook and Fort Steele. (I mention the company names so you can Google them to see how big they are and what other renewable energy projects they do.) It was supported by the RDEK and approved by the Land Office (MFLNRO). The next application received was for parcels on Skookumchuck Prairie and around Wasa and Ta Ta Creek. The ears of stakeholder groups, long-familiar with the constant vigilance and effort required to preserve the bottom lands of the Trench, began to perk up. We know we are the line of first defence for this finite resource.
Aside – All British Columbians
The recurring narrative of our economic system, our geography, and our society, of which we are all long-familiar with, seems likely to play out again: development directed by for-profit companies, the imbalance in the distribution of our population between the lower mainland and the rest of the province seemingly pitting us against each other, yet all needing the same thing really – enough resources to live and prosper and a healthy environment in which to do it.
We here in the East Kootenay come at this issue, not just from the perspective of wanting to preserve the valley for ourselves. We are ALL its caretakers, for all the creatures that live here and for ALL the people of the Province. We have choices to make. Let us all ensure this development is directed appropriately, in scope as well as location.
The FIRST guideline for placement of solar arrays, recognized globally, is: avoid ecologically valuable land. The valley bottom is ecologically valuable. There are many other places to put PV panels. Do that first before gobbling up perfectly good land.
Application Details Part 2
But back to the Crown Land applications in the East Kootenay.
That second application, by Company 0885781 (Mark Green), the one on the IBA, started raising flags, not just perking ears, for local groups and their provincial associations. Comments expressing concern started to flow in. Some of them were from BC Nature, the Rocky Mountain Naturalists, the Kootenay Livestock Association and private individuals. Despite the land requested being on an Important Bird/Biodiversity Area, this grant was also supported by the RDEK and approved by the Lands Office.
The next five applications, from Innergex, were also supported and approved. But later, the Land Office realized overlapping grants were not allowed so Innergex voluntarily withdrew ONE of its applications with a parcel on the IBA. Another of its grants still has a parcel on the IBA.
Next, three more requests for Crown Land were made. These ones were by SB Holding Companies (01), (02), and (03), subsidiaries of Sea Breeze Power Corporation. One request was discovered to be for private land, so it was withdrawn. The other two requests triggered many more comments because of their location and size – over 2,000 ha each, again on ecologically valuable land and again on land with investments in habitat restoration and enhancement, just like Skookumchuck Prairie IBA. They were also closer to more populated areas and encompassed significant rangeland for cattle.
Commenters on these Sea Breeze applications were cattle ranchers, BC Nature, Kootenay Livestock Association, BC Back Country Hunters and Anglers, Wildsight, and individuals. Recipients of the comments were the Land Office, MFLNRO, B. C. Government Ministers, the Premier, local MLAs, and the RDEK.
Comments and Their Effect
What happens when people make comments? Who reads them? What are some of the results?
The Land Office says all comments are passed on to each proponent and they mush address each concern and issue raised.
Because there is no provincial policy regarding the development of solar arrays in B. C., the Land Office formed a Working Group to process the volume of comments and to interpret and modify the Wind Power policy and criteria (what they have to work with), for solar applications. Guidelines they develop will not be official policy, said Land Officer Jessie Lunan, who also gave a presentation at the RDEK meeting (right after Mr. de Spot).
The Land Office has also made online access to solar applications easier by adding a category for solar in their database listing.
Ministry biologists created a checklist of environmental aspects to be addressed should these projects move to the next phase of development – installing utility-scale solar power generating arrays. This checklist was passed on to the approved proponents so they are aware of some of the assessments and mitigations to be required.
The most significant apparent effect of the latest comments submitted was that the RDEK has reweighed the pros and cons of supporting utility-scale solar arrays on Crown Land in the East Kootenay. In their vote whether or not to support the Sea Breeze applications, the board was split 50/50 with no deciding voice. As a result, and with refined consideration of the environmental and other impacts, the Land Office disallowed the Sea Breeze applications. In their “Reason for Decision” document, they said “The area selected is within an endangered grassland ecosystem which is being actively managed and restored”. They recognize it is critical habitat and an endangered ecosystem and that the need to fence off the facility would remove the land from wildlife use. And because any future solar energy facility would be “incompatible with protecting the grassland”, the project “is disallowed at this earliest stage”.
This decision is a positive sign that sensibility may prevail.
Education and Questions
In Penticton on 22 April 2017, a free symposium on alternate energy is being hosted by First Things First – Okanagan. http://firstthingsfirstokanagan.com/events/register/
Sessions on solar power focus on small-scale installations such as on existing or new buildings. Utility-scale solar development is not in the list of topics. Aside: One topic is “Harnessing Okanagan’s Wind Power” given by Gordon Muir who lists in his CV his experience with the Cape Scott wind farm, developed by Sea Breeze.
Small-scale solar seems to be gaining traction. But perhaps a lot of people don’t want to bother putting solar panels on their houses. It cost money, there are engineering and maintenance concerns, and what would be the benefit really? Electricity is still relatively cheap. Why not let commercial companies do the work, building arrays, maintaining them, negotiating with BC Hydro, and what not? What’s wrong with a few investors making some money? That’s how things work. Let them deal with the headaches, I just want to flick a switch and have my light bulbs light up.
And IS solar really that green? It seems greener than coal-generated electricity, but what if also factored in were the ecological footprint of extracting the materials for PV panels, manufacturing them, and transporting them to point of use? And what if the complete environmental cost of the solar farms themselves were factored in? These costs would include habitat loss, mitigating impacts, to reclamation at the end of their life-span? Would solar still be profitable?
And look at all those wind farms being built. They have environmental impacts, too. Why shouldn’t we let solar come in too? Isn’t solar better than even hydro dams? It appears Site C, and maybe even Site E, will be built though the debate has been ongoing for decades. How successful are we likely to be redirecting a few PV panels away from good land?
What are the environmental impacts of solar arrays, anyway? How bad could they be? See a brief list of impacts and considerations below this article.
The whole valley bottom is American Badger habitat. It’s impossible to do anything without causing some effect on them.
And what is the big deal with 10 applications? Hundreds are in the works across the country. Globally, 30,000 PV panels are being installed every hour, says the International Energy Agency, a collective, of which Canada is a member, working to “ensure reliable, affordable and clean energy” for its 29 country members.
It’s enough to drive one batty! Each of us must research and consider the answers for themselves. It seems obvious to me that there ARE more sensible places to put PV panels than on good land and we should do that first.
Even if we can’t or won’t, if we give these companies even just a millimetre, they’ll take a mile. This is demonstrated by the sequence of Crown land applications: first a small one on brownfield, second on an Important Bird/Biodiversity area and enhanced lands (ears perked), then a set of five on the IBA and other parcels of enhanced lands (red flag raised), then three requesting vast swaths of enhanced and ecologically sensitive lands (big “whoa” on that). Each request getting larger, impacting more of the ecologically valuable valley bottom ecosystem. They are exploring the limits of our tolerance for solar arrays on Crown land and the strength of our will to protect it, I believe. Their primary concern is profits, naturally, for themselves and their investors.
In our system, our culture, we still DO NOT account for all the environment costs of the products we consume nor of our activities. If we did, I believe considering ecologically valuable land for solar power production would be unimaginable. Let’s pretend “as if” we do! Let’s keep telling them where they can and cannot put solar arrays. Let’s see what happens.
We, here in the East Kootenay, have made a tiny but good start toward directing this technology appropriately. There will be more applications coming though, no doubt, and in other parts of the province as well. Any British Columbian can submit comments, and KEEP submitting comments! … to Land Office, MFLNRO, the appropriate government Ministers and the Premier, local MLAs, the regional districts, and municipalities. Consider asking them to:
Some Environmental Impacts and Their Causes:
2016 Bluebird Nesting Results - Marianne Nahm
Nestboxes available - 320 boxes
Nestboxes used - 286 boxes
Used by Western Bluebirds - 153 boxes, 977 eggs, 791 hatched, 711 fledged
Used by Mountain Bluebirds - 55 boxes, 304 eggs , 199 hatched, 184 fledged
Used by Tree Swallows - 104 boxes, 587 eggs, 526 hatched, 425 fledged
Used by House Wrens - 1 box, 6 eggs, 4 hatched, 4 fledged
Used by Mtn. Chickadees - 2 boxes, 13 eggs, 12 hatched, 12 fledged
This year we had 16 active routes with 20 + active volunteer monitors.
There are several long routes that I am splitting into smaller sections so that there is less of a time commitment and more people can become involved. Please let me know if you are interested in a route so that we could go out together several times to get you started. It is a very interesting, rewarding activity which involves a box check and clean-out in early April with the first monitoring beginning about the third week in May. It is necessary to go out every one and a half to two weeks until the beginning of August to monitor and record observations.
Please contact me if you are interested in learning more about this opportunity. Marianne Nahm (via Comments below)
2016 Membership Report - Susan Ross
At the end of 2015 there were; 37 single 26 family = 63 total memberships.
At the end of 2016 there were; 39 single 45 family = 84 total memberships.
2017 Rocky Mountain Naturalists memberships are now due;
Of last year’s members we have had 40 pay their 2017 membership dues.
Memberships can be paid at the next Rocky Mountain Naturalists meeting on January 18th. *Along with the signed waiver form.
Or sent to;
Rocky Mountain Naturalists PO Box 791
Rocky Mountain Trench Natural Resources Society Report
January 2017 - Jo Ellen Floer
Two regular meetings and one field day meeting were held in 2017.
One of the main discussion topics at the November 18th meeting were the solar panel applications. The majority of the proposals are on lands already treated for ecosystem restoration through the Society. As the Trench society is made up of member organizations, each organization was encouraged to comment on the proposals rather than just submit input from the Society. Dianne Cooper submitted a report on behalf of the Naturalists.
The Society is pushing the RDEK to start enforcing the Weed Control Act on Private land. The RDEK is going to develop an enforcement policy matrix and provide information on approaches to enforcement. That has not been provided to the Trench Society yet but the RDEK has replied with “Please direct any inquiries or report properties of concern to Jamie Davies, Recreation and Control Services Supervisor. He can be reached at 250-489-2791 or by email at email@example.com “. Consider this approach if you know of lands with weed concerns.
The Society also met with two representatives of the BC Wildfire Service (formerly BC Wildfire Management Branch) to discuss issues around prescribed burning and how to have more burns in the trench. They are aware that a ‘natural’ state is a more resilient state. While there is funding and the ability to carry out the initial treatments, the maintenance is not being done. The society has requested that the maintenance be written into the original prescriptions so treatment areas remain in a ‘natural’ state.
2015 / 2016 - Turtle Monitoring Report - Greg Ross
Nests found during monitoring = 58 Nests found in the Spring = 4
Total nests recorded = 62
Spring of 2016
Total eggs laid in 2015 = 718
Dead Eggs = 137
Dead Turtles – 49
Live Turtles in nest = 111
Turtles that emerged on their own = 421
Total live hatched turtles in 2016 = 532
Nests found during monitoring = 83
Nests on top on previous nest = 2
Fall Emergent Nests found = 4
Total nests recorded = 89
Spring of 2017
Total eggs laid in 2016 = ?
Dead Eggs = ?
Dead Turtles = ?
Live Turtles in nest =
Turtles that emerged on their own = ?
Total live hatched turtles in 2017 = ?
ELIZABETH LAKE REPORT - Stewart Wilson
1. The City of Cranbrook upgraded washrooms at Visitor Centre during summer.
2. 300 metres of trails were added during summer. Volunteers prepared posts (360 posts cost $3000), and Bottle Bar Contracting carried out trail work at cost of $9000.
3. There is a grant of $2500 to use for signs. Daryl and the Sign Committee are working on having signs ready for spring 2017.
4. Volunteers did weed pull by the trails in August.
5. Volunteers tidied up or removed old posts by trails in the fall.
6. Katrin devised a trail survey to provide feedback from public and received 10 responses.
7. Following the November meeting Myra spoke to an interested group about a proposed project to determine how terrestrial area of Elizabeth Lake can be restored and enhanced. Plan is to apply for Eco-Action funding in 2017.
8. Greg continued to monitor turtles.
9. In April there was a successful Turtle Day. RMN members were in attendance.
10. Elizabeth Lake proved popular with classes from Gordon Terrace,TM Roberts and Parkland.
11. Birders spent many Wednesday mornings at Elizabeth Lake.
RMN Christmas Bird Counts report - Dianne Cooper
The 117th annual Christmas Bird Counts were conducted successfully on 28 December for Cranbrook and 4 January for Kimberley. Dianne assumed organizing and compiling from Greg and Sue Ross. The Ross’ took over from Anni Coulter and Mildred White in 1991 (I believe), initiating the count as an official Audubon Christmas Bird Count. Thank you for enthusiastically doing such a great job for 25 years, promoting the count, encouraging people to participate, hosting the count up many times, and much more.
Field observers numbered 15 for each count – not the same people – with some coming from Fernie and Wardner. Cranbrook had 10 feeder counters and Kimberley had 6.
Each count had enough people this year to divide into the usual 4 teams to cover each of the four usual quadrants of the 24 km-in-diameter circle. Cranbrook sectors are Town-New Lake, Mission Wycliffe, Gold Creek, and Lumberton-Moyie. Kimberley’s sectors are Town, the Northwest-Meadowbrook, Wasa and Wycliffe.
Cranbrook got 42 species on count day which was average; and Kimberley got 43 species which was above average for Kimberley. The highlights for the Cranbrook count include the following: the first record on a CBC for Northern Shoveler – four had been at the sewage lagoon since at least the end of October. The highest number of Mallards ever were counted – the City ban on feeding them at the Mall seems to have had the opposite effect on their population or at least made them more visible on count day. This year saw a flip in the ratio of American Crow to Common Raven in Cranbrook – usually there are more Ravens than Crows, but the opposite was recorded this year. It was disappointing to miss Pine Grosbeak and White-winged Crossbill on the count after last year’s higher numbers for them.
The highlights for the Kimberley count include the following: everyone survived the -32 C starting temperature. Eurasian Collared-Dove numbers are increasing slowly since their first appearance in the area around 6 years ago – 18 were recorded. Bald Eagles, Pileated Woodpecker and House Finches were at an all-time high. A good number of American Goldfinch were recorded.
Both counts got good numbers of chickadees, except Chestnut-backed, perhaps the lower temperatures make them more evident at feeders.
Count week species – seen three days before, or three days after count day – turned up some very nice species: Varied Thrush, Pygmy Nuthatch, and a Common Redpoll for Cranbrook. Yes, it was an off-year for most of the “winter finch” species, except for House Finch.
With the aid of money raised from the spring Little Big Day birding competition in 2015, members of the Rocky Mountain Naturalists were able to build two multi-chamber (nursery) bat boxes to be placed at Elizabeth Lake.
At the same time we were able to build boxes for ourselves to be placed in our own neighbourhoods in early spring. With great cooperation, and a great shop, thanks to Ron and Leslia, we were able to complete sixteen boxes over the weekend.
The decision to build these boxes came after an enlightening presentation by Cathy Conroy (Kootenay Community Bat Project) at one of our meetings.
"From horror movies to health warnings, societal attitudes about bats are typically extremely negative. Many people view bats as being ugly, scary, nasty little creatures that are harmful blood-sucking pests.
Both this type of public attitude, and limited available habitat that is under threat in BC, have contributed to the general decline of bat populations around the world. Subsequently many of our bat species are listed as vulnerable or threatened (Red- and Blue-listed)."
There are 16 species of bats in BC.
There are thought to be 11 species of bats in the East Kootenay including:
Big brown bat
Little brown myotis
Townsend's big-eared bat
Rocky Mountain Naturalists are concerned about invasive species. The Nature Trust, East Kootenay Invasive Species Council, The Rocky Mountain Naturalists and Ducks Unlimited did a loosestrife weed pull at the south end of Bummers Flats (Doran's Marsh) on July 20th, 2016 at Bummer's Flats. An awesome team came together with boats and lots of weed pulling fortitude. Thanks Max, Candice, Marianne, Frank and Greg!
Editor's note: Oopsy, I think we missed posting this last year. Enjoy! (Dianne C.)
The BCFO held their 25th anniversary AGM here in Cranbrook at the Prestige Rocky Mountain Resort and those that attending are calling it "top notch" and the Rocky Mountain Naturalists had a hand in helping to make it so. We arranged the birding field trips for the two consecutive mornings, Ruth Goodwin led the Wycliffe Rambler, Daryl Caulder Elizabeth Lake, Alan Barnard Ha Ha Creek Valley, Dean Nicholson the Spray Irrigation, Three Ponds and Dianne Cooper led them to the Skookumchuck Prairie IBA.
Over 80 delegates attended, there was a technical session about the BC Breeding Bird Atlas, the Annual General Meeting, a banquet with keynote speaker, Jared Hobs, who delivered an informative and passionate presentation about the plight of both Western Screech-Owls, and Spotted Owls in BC.
Mike McGrenere has assumed the role of BCFO President. Marian Porter and Monica Nugent are the new additions to the board. Congratulations to all that attended and helped the RMNats make this a special weekend for everyone!
Eva Basaraba was the recipient of the Rocky Mountain Naturalists - Mildred White scholarship ($500). Presented by David Walls and George Rogers (Rocky Mountain Naturalists), the award recognizes Eva's completion of one year of University Studies - Arts at the College and her contributions to volunteer service in her community.
A new invasive weed is threatening the East Kootenays. Field scabious (Knautia arvensis) is a perennial plant that competes with forage and pasture land, and is also found along roadsides at mid-elevations of the province. Once established, is very difficult to eradicate. Field scabious is considered regionally noxious under the BC Weed Control Act, and is found in the Bulkley-Nechako, Kootenay-Boundary, and Thompson-Nicola regions.
For more information you can visit: http://bcinvasives.ca/invasive-species/identify/invasive-species/invasive-plants/field-scabious/
I received a note from a friend. "Thought your club might be interested in this damage to the Cooper Lake trail. These quads are totally out of control with their pushing trails to alpine lakes..."
The Regional Executive Director Says
"The Cooper Lake Trail was formally established in 1997 with the management objective of providing non-motorized recreation opportunities, such as hiking and mountain biking, in a forested subalpine setting... since the lake 1990s the trail has experienced indiscriminate and increasing motorized use from off-road vehicles (ORVs)"
"A wide variety of efforts have been made to prevent the escalated use of motorized use of the trail, including physical barriers, signage, surveillance cameras compliance and enforcement paroles and violation tickets."
Members of the public can assist by reporting witnessed infractions to the Natural Resource Violations Tip Line or calling the toll-free hotline at updated: 1 877-952-7277 (out-dated: 1-844-676-8477) - Ministry of Forestry, Lands, and Natural Resource Operations
Where we talk about