Marsh grasses on the Ryan River conservation area (Photo by NCC)

Marsh grasses on the Ryan River conservation area (Photo by NCC)

Ryan River

Ryan River, BC (Photo by NCC)

Ryan River, BC (Photo by NCC)

A valley-bottom haven for bears, birds and beavers

Old-growth forest and thriving wetlands provide essential habitat for wildlife in the Pemberton Valley.

The Pemberton Valley cuts a narrow path through the Coast Mountains. It's a corridor well-used by grizzly and black bears, moose, deer and many other animals. The Ryan and Lillooet rivers flow through this valley, giving life to the diversity of plants, animals and human communities that thrive here.

On the edge of the Ryan River sits an undeveloped private property that is one of the largest remaining intact private land parcels in the valley. Encompassing both old-growth forest and marshy wetland, this property is a haven for the range of wildlife found in the valley.

The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is working to acquire this land and bring it into permanent conservation. Protecting this property will safeguard essential and flourishing wildlife habitat from development pressures, such as timber harvesting and agricultural and residential conversion, which impact natural lands in the Pemberton Valley.

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Significance

The Ryan River property is strongly influenced by the river on which it is situated. Most of this land is on the river's floodplain, ensuring the forests and meadows alike are very wet. The property's wetlands have been identified by the Canadian Wildlife Service as being of the highest ecological quality.

Wetlands provide immense benefits to biodiversity, with one in three provincial species at risk relying on wetlands to meet some or all of their needs. By filtering and purifying fresh water, controlling stream flows, recharging groundwater and preventing erosion, wetlands provide invaluable ecosystem services for human and more-than-human communities alike.

Wildlife

Grizzly bear (Photo by Grant MacHutchon)

Grizzly bear (Photo by Grant MacHutchon)

The Ryan River property lies within the provincially threatened Squamish-Lillooet Grizzly Bear Population Unit. Provincial biologists have estimated 59 bears in this unit, which is a low number for ensuring its long-term health and vitality.

Protecting undeveloped lands that connect the valley bottom to the forested slopes of the surrounding mountains is essential for maintaining the bears' ability to connect with other geographically separate bear populations. 

Rivers and streams provide important spawning and rearing grounds for salmon and other fish species. The Ryan River property follows the river for over two kilometres, as it courses toward Lillooet Lake. The river is known to support coho salmon, as well as rainbow, cutthroat and bull trout.

North American beaver (Photo by Fabio Bretto)

North American beaver (Photo by Fabio Bretto)

The property contains abundant evidence of beaver activity. These "ecosystem engineers" enhance wetland areas by creating shallow ponds and slowing down the flow of streams with the construction of their dams and lodges.

The Pemberton Valley offers essential refuge and feeding habitat for a wide range of migratory and resident bird species. The nearby Pemberton Wetlands Wildlife Management Area has documented a long list of birds that frequent this area, including hooded merganser, great blue heron, western screech-owl, short-eared owl, common nighthawk, barn swallow, sandhill crane, ring-necked duck, trumpeter swan and turkey vulture.

Donate today to help conserve
this important wildlife habitat >



During this fundraising campaign, The Nature Conservancy of Canada may direct all or a portion of gifts committed to Ryan River to the Southern Interior Program Area, or to the BC Stewardship Endowment Fund (SEF). Donations allocated to the Southern Interior Program Area will support the growth and strategic impact of NCC’s work across the program area. Revenue generated by the SEF provides for long-term management on all NCC properties, including Ryan River, across British Columbia.

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