SLR-K2 Ranch Conservation Project is located on the west side of Windermere Lake, BC (Photo by NCC)

SLR-K2 Ranch Conservation Project is located on the west side of Windermere Lake, BC (Photo by NCC)

SRL-K2 Ranch Conservation Project

SRL-K2 Ranch Conservation Project (Photo by NCC)

SRL-K2 Ranch Conservation Project (Photo by NCC)

Located on the west side of Windermere Lake and spanning open forests, grasslands and wetland areas, the SRL-K2 Conservation Project protects a large and important expanse of vibrant valley-bottom land near Invermere in the East Kootenay. In 2015, the Nature Conservancy of Canada worked closely with the landowners, Bob and Barb Shaunessy, to place a conservation agreement on more than 11,000 acres (4,500 hectares) of the couple's ranch in order to remove the biggest threat to this natural landscape: subdivision and development.

Key conservation features

  • Located in the Upper Columbia Valley, approximately 12 kilometres south of Invermere, the SRL-K2 Ranch Conservation Project protects 11,192 acres (4,529 hectares) of mixed forest and grassland on the west side of Windermere Lake.
  • The property borders two protected areas: The Nature Trust of BC’s Hoodoo-Hofert property and Windermere Lake Provincial Park.
  • Wetlands on the property support foraging and breeding habitat for several waterfowl species, including Barrow’s goldeneye, hooded merganser, mallard and ruddy duck.
  • The open forest and grasslands support Class-1 ungulate winter range and habitat for several rare and endangered species, including badger.

Restoring history

The SRL-K2 Ranch is a working cattle ranch that dates back to 1898. The Shaunessys purchased the ranch in 2003, and promptly set about restoring the land from a recent history of damaging logging practices. After replanting streambanks, restoring streambeds, deactivating old logging trails and fencing out sensitive areas from cattle, the ranch was well on its way to reclaiming its past health and vitality. The couple continued to improve the land by removing slash and spreading native grass seed, while also maintaining active ranching operations. Today the land supports not just cattle, but a whole suite of wildlife that have benefited from the careful land stewardship of the Shaunessys.

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