Midgeley Conservation Area
Midgeley, BC (Photo by Steve Ogle)
The Midgeley Conservation Area is the newest addition to the Nature Conservancy of Canada's (NCC's) wildlife corridor initiative in southeastern British Columbia that aims to make it easier for an isolated population of grizzlies to connect with a more abundant bear population to the east.
Named the Frog Bear Conservation Corridor for the two important species that will benefit from these conservation efforts — grizzly bear and northern leopard frog — the initiative targets lands in the Creston Valley that are frequently used by an at-risk population of grizzly bears as they move between the Selkirk and Purcell mountains. So far four properties have been conserved as part of the corridor project.
Connecting the threatened South Selkirk grizzly bears with the more abundant grizzly population to the east is considered critical to the long term prospects for this species in this corner of the province. Biologists have identified the lands being conserved as key areas used by bears as they move through the valley.
Midgeley is a 162-acre (65-hectare) forested property of the Douglas-fir forest type, on the western edge of the valley that serves as a gateway for bears moving down from the mountains. The land was purchased from Creston-based Wynndel Box and Lumber and is adjacent to the Creston Valley Wildlife Management Area.
The Frog Bear Conservation Corridor is named for two of the key species that will benefit from the conservation efforts here. The South Selkirks grizzly bear population is considered threatened, in large part because of being cut off from the larger bear population to the east in the Purcell Mountains. This valley is also the only known breeding location in British Columbia for the endangered Northern Leopard frog.
A number of other rare species have been documented in the Creston Valley, including northern rubber boa, great blue heron, American bittern and western screech-owl.
Partners in conservation
The Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative (Y2Y) played a critical role in this project. The joint U.S.-Canada organization works to ensure that wild animals are able to move through and around human communities and activities within the 1.3-square-kilometre Yellowstone to Yukon region. Y2Y not only provided half the purchase funds for the property, but also helped fund the research that identified the significance of this parcel.
Additional funding for the project came from TD Bank Group through its TD Forests program, Columbia Basin Trust, Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program, Donner Canadian Foundation and the Kootenay Conservation Program.