01 Nov October Harrop Wetland Tour!
Last Friday, Ecological Projects Manager Oleksandra hosted a tour of Harrop Wetland! She spoke about the latest seed spreading event with grade eleven students, showed everyone where the latest holes had been dug in the September construction project, and also touched on how important monitoring a project site is in order to accurately determine how successful restoration efforts have been and what next steps should be. We really appreciate Oleksandra sharing her wealth of knowledge with everyone in attendance!
Wetlands play a vital, yet often overlooked, role in preserving the delicate ecological balance of the Kootenays. They are hotspots of biodiversity, supporting a wide array of plant and animal species. These areas provide essential breeding, nesting, and feeding grounds for numerous bird species, including waterfowl, shorebirds, and songbirds. Migratory birds rely on these wetlands as crucial stopover points during their long journeys, making wetlands instrumental in the survival of many avian species. The great blue heron is a species of bird that can often be spotted at Harrop Wetland, with Cottonwood trees of particular importance to nesting herons.
Wetlands in the Kootenays contribute to carbon sequestration, acting as sinks for carbon dioxide. By storing carbon in their soils and vegetation, they help mitigate climate change by reducing the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Protecting these wetlands is a practical and natural way to combat global warming and the climate crisis. By expanding and restoring Harrop Wetland we hope to be able to increase the amount of carbon sequestered in this area. The region’s wetlands are also crucial in minimizing the impacts of flooding. During periods of heavy rainfall, wetlands store excess water, helping to prevent downstream flooding in local communities. This flood control service is invaluable, especially in a region that is prone to extreme weather events. As the climate continues to change and we start to see more unprecedented weather events in the Kootenays, Harrop and other wetlands will prove to be vital parts of the ecosystem.
Despite their significance, wetlands in the Kootenays and throughout British Columbia face several threats, including habitat destruction, pollution, and invasive species. It is our goal to restore and preserve Harrop Wetland so generations to come can continue stewardship of the wetland and of Kootenay lake itself.