Celebrating Success: Recap of the 2023 Communities Protect Freshwater Together Eco Action Project

As we wrap up another year of the Communities Protect Freshwater Together: Riparian Restoration in the Kootenay Region Eco Action Project, we’re excited to share the incredible achievements and community-driven efforts that have shaped our journey in year two. This three-year initiative, aimed at engaging and inspiring our local community to protect freshwater quality, has focused on restoring critical water bodies and adjacent riparian habitats within three key sites in the Central Kootenay region of British Columbia.  From the Jubilee Wetland in Rossland to the Hunter Siding Wetland near New Denver and the Harrop Wetland, our dedicated teams have been hard at work, leaving a lasting mark on these crucial ecosystems.

Pulpit Rock Communities Pulling Together 2023 Event.
Pulpit Rock Communities Pulling Together Event 2023
Pulpit Rock Communities Pulling Together Event 2023
Pulpit Rock Communities Pulling Together Event 2023
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Spring Weed Pulls and Planting: Students and Volunteers Make a Difference

Year two kicked off with Spring invasive plant pulls and planting with local students and volunteers. Two classes from Rossland Summit School (RSS) collaborated with CKISS in identifying and removing invasive plants at the Jubilee Wetland. Activities included pulling Canada thistle (Cirsium arvense) and solarization of creeping buttercup. Prior to any work, students brushed off their foot wear to prevent the further spread of invasives.

At Hunter Siding Wetland, a small team of volunteers played a crucial role in removing a substantial amount of bullthistle (Cirsium vulgare), contributing to the survival and success of native plants. Special thanks to the Slocan Lake Stewardship Society for their collaboration on this site.

At the Harrop Wetland CKISS was joined by grade 5, 6, and 7 students of Redfish Elementary School. Here they helped plant native alder, dogwood, and cedar. By doing so they are enhancing wetland habitat, benefiting at-risk species such as the western toad, painted turtle, blue heron, and more. In addition, they spent some time learning about invasive species and removing Canada thistle. The CKISS acknowledges the Friends of Kootenay Lake Stewardship Society (FOKLSS) for their leadership in the project.

Volunteer Opportunities in 2024: Stay Tuned!

As we reflect on the accomplishments of the past year, we’re already looking ahead. Stay tuned for exciting volunteer opportunities in 2024, where you can actively contribute to the ongoing success of the project.

October Native Planting and Maintenance Days: Community Power in Action

During October, CKISS’s Education Team spearheaded native planting and maintenance days at the same three wetland restoration sites. The success of these initiatives owes much to the incredible support of community volunteers, school groups, and valued partners.

Two classes from RSS once again joined CKISS but this time it was to participate in native planting.  At Hunter Siding Wetland, volunteers from the community played a crucial role in ongoing restoration efforts. They planted locally sourced red osier dogwood and mountain alder and removed tree protectors from trees that were planted in 2022 and are now thriving. The crew continued invasive plant removal efforts. At the Harrop Wetland a class from J.L. Crowe High School assisted CKISS and FOKLS with more native planting.

Why are wetland important?

Wetlands play a crucial role in maintaining environmental balance, offering unique ecological services unmatched by other ecosystems. They serve as a powerful carbon sink and are natural filters, enhancing water quality by trapping pollutants and promoting purification. Additionally, wetlands act as a buffer against flooding, mitigating the impacts of extreme weather events.  Wetlands also provide recreational opportunities and support diverse wildlife, serving as vital habitats for birds and fish that sustain predator populations. The intricate web of functions performed by wetlands underscores their irreplaceable importance in sustaining both ecosystems and human well-being..

Gratitude and Community Impact

As we express our gratitude to everyone who has played a part in the success of the Eco Action Project, we recognize the powerful impact that community collaboration can have on environmental conservation. Together, we are making a significant difference in protecting the freshwater ecosystems of the Kootenay Region. Thank you to all volunteers, students, partners, and supporters who continue to be the driving force behind this essential initiative.

Volunteer Opportunities in 2024: Stay Tuned!

Reflecting on the accomplishments of the past year, we are already looking ahead to exciting volunteer opportunities in 2024. Stay tuned to actively contribute to the ongoing success of the project. Sign up to their newsletter via their website www.ckiss.ca to stay up to date on the project.