Long-sought protection of BC’s Incomappleux Valley realized through collaboration
Agreement exemplifies bold action and partnerships needed to address twin crises of biodiversity loss and climate change
Today the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is celebrating the protection of 75,000 hectares in the Incomappleux Valley in southeastern British Columbia through its participation in a diverse conservation partnership.
NCC, Interfor Corporation and the Province worked with First Nations whose territory includes the Incomappleux Valley to explore options for conserving the rich ecology and intact forests of the valley. A key part of the agreement saw Interfor release 75,000 hectares of their forest tenure, which is now permanently extinguished. NCC is facilitating and funding the conservancy and protections, with support from Teck Resources, Wyss Foundation, Wilburforce Foundation and individual donors. This project also was made possible by funding from the Government of Canada, through the Canada Nature Fund.
Communities have long called for the protection of this valley, east of Revelstoke, which contains rare inland temperate rainforest and boasts great biodiversity. This achievement represents the culmination of many years of collaboration by individuals and organizations across the province in championing a conservation future for the Incomappleux Valley.
NCC’s role as facilitator and fundraiser for conservation on Crown land represents an emerging dynamic in biodiversity conservation in Canada. The recent Global Biodiversity Framework signed at COP15 in Montreal recognizes that a whole-of-society approach is required to implement the ambitious goals set out by the world to stem nature loss. This means undertaking more large-scale projects on public lands that bring together governments, industry, First Nations, non-governmental organizations and individuals to create lasting conservation solutions for nature.
NCC is already delivering on this ambition. The Incomappleux agreement directly contributes to pledges by Canada and BC to protect 30 per cent of our country’s land and inland waters by 2030.
“Only by engaging in a whole-of-society approach can we hope to stop and reverse the destruction of nature. The Nature Conservancy of Canada is committed to mobilizing support across all sectors to support new and innovative ways to conserve lands. When we work together with Indigenous communities, governments, industry and private citizens, we can achieve great results for nature. Incomappleux is an exciting example of this strategy in action.”
~Nancy Newhouse, BC Regional Vice President, Nature Conservancy of Canada
“The rich and unique biodiversity of the Incomappleux Valley makes this one of the most significant protected areas established in the province in a decade. By expanding parks and protected areas, we are strengthening protection and enhancement of biodiversity in British Columbia, and contributing to our goal of protecting 30% of the province by 2030.”
~George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy
““Although the crises of climate change and biodiversity loss both have unique obstacles to overcome, we must tackle them together. By working with the Government of British Columbia, Nature Conservancy of Canada, First Nations, Teck Resources, Wyss Foundation, Wilburforce Foundation, and individual donors, we are helping to protect the natural environment in British Columbia and across the country. Protecting lands plays a vital role in helping to halt and reverse biodiversity loss and contributes to the recovery of species at risk. Through the Canada Nature Fund, the Government of Canada is making progress toward its goal of conserving a quarter of lands and waters in Canada by 2025, working towards 30 percent of each by 2030.””
~The Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change
“Teck is taking action to protect nature through this collaboration facilitated by the Nature Conservancy of Canada to conserve and protect an intact, ancient tract of one of our planet’s rare ecosystems in the Incomappleux Valley. This initiative supports Teck’s work to become a nature positive company by helping protect nature in an area with significant biodiversity and ecological importance. Tackling the global challenge of nature loss requires collaboration between industry, Indigenous communities, governments, and non-profits and we are excited to support this important conservation initiative.”
~Jonathan Price, CEO, Teck
“Canada’s local, provincial, federal and Indigenous leaders closed out 2022 on a historic note by facilitating the most ambitious global agreement for nature in history. Now, only weeks into this new year, Canada is acting on its commitments, partnering with First Nations and local communities, securing protections for ecological hotspots like the Incomappleux Valley, and making progress towards 30x30.”
~Molly McUsic, President, Wyss Foundation
- The peak-to-valley landscape along the Incomappleux River is diverse and spans alpine ecosystems, inland temperate rainforest, valley bottom wetlands, streams, and lakes. The Incomappleux River is a major tributary to the Columbia River. The river system supports kokanee salmon and bull trout, as well as plentiful waterfowl and wetland birds.
- The forests contain substantial areas of mature and old growth trees, with some ranging from 800 to 1,500 years old. Researchers have identified several at-risk species of plants, mosses and lichen in this valley.
- Several species listed on the federal Species at Risk Act are found in the Incomappleux Valley, including two endangered bat species (northern myotis and little brown myotis), southern mountain caribou (threatened) and cryptic paw, a lichen species of special concern.
- The northern edge of the Incomappleux Valley project area abuts Glacier National Park, increasing important habitat and landscape-level connectivity for wide-ranging animals across the southern interior mountains of BC.
- The project area includes 58,000 hectares which is now designated as a provincial conservancy, plus an additional 17,000 hectares that is protected from commercial timber harvest.
- Through partnerships, NCC has supported the conservation of more than 15 million hectares (150,000 square kilometres). That’s equivalent to more than four times the size of Vancouver Island, conserving habitat for 244 species at risk. These lands store nearly two billion tonnes of carbon. And every year they pull another 3.2 million tonnes of carbon out of the atmosphere — about the equivalent of the lifetime emissions of 700,000 passenger vehicles.
Photos and video
The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is the country’s unifying force for nature. NCC seeks solutions to the twin crises of rapid biodiversity loss and climate change through large-scale, permanent land conservation. As a trusted partner NCC works with people, communities, businesses, and government to protect and care for our country’s natural areas. Since 1962, NCC has brought Canadians together to conserve and restore more than 15 million hectares.
The Canada Nature Fund supports the protection of Canada’s biodiversity through the creation of protected and conserved areas and through initiatives that help to recover species at risk. The Fund is available to not-for-profit and Indigenous organizations, provinces and territories, and others.
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