Since 2014, the Slocan Wetland Assessment and Monitoring Program (SWAMP) has been exploring and mapping wetlands across the watershed. In 2018, Richard Johnson of Slocan Solutions Society – SWAMP partner and CBWN Board Member – conducted a review study of the outstanding accomplishments of this this partnership between the Slocan River Streamkeepers, Slocan Lake Stewardship Society, working with Durand Ecological Consulting and Integrated Ecological Research. The project demonstrated that there is still much to be discovered regarding the species-at-risk in the Slocan watershed. “With every field check more species are found.” SWAMP’s research highlighted the Bonanza Creek valley as critical for biodiversity, ecological processes and connectivity. Many CBWN members continue to advance the stewardship of this exceptional landscape “Bonanza Biodiversity Corridor”.
We gratefully acknowledge the support of WWF-Canada and Loblaws Companies Limited.
The following is from the Executive Summary.
SWAMP undertook the assessment and mapping process the summer following its formation. Over the period from 2014 to 2018 SWAMP produced three wetland assessment and mapping reports as well as a report on Species at Risk. In 2018 detailed mapping of wetlands in the Bonanza Creek watershed was performed.
Prior to SWAMP’s initiation, the Slocan River Streamkeepers Society (SRS) had commissioned two studies, an Aquatic Habitat Index (AHI) of the Slocan River and a Sensitive Environment Index (SEI) of the offsetting riparian areas. The Columbia Basin Watershed Network (CBWN) in cooperation with Selkirk College sponsors a summer mapping program with the result that the SEI and AHI have been merged into one map for SWAMP.
The Slocan Lake Research Center (Richard Johnson) (SLRC) also works with the Selkirk College Geomatics department by providing a list of projects that students might want to undertake as a term project. This resulted in aquifer mapping in the upper Slocan River Valley in 2015. This project, aquifer mapping, will be expanded and will continue. In 2017 a Selkirk student undertook an evaluation of remote sensing methods to identify potential wetlands in a watershed. Both of these projects were inspired by SWAMP.
SWAMP also spawned a series of projects that continue under a life of their own. Developing protocols to use Benthic Invertebrates to measure wetland health is an ongoing research project by Integrated Ecological Research (Darcie Quamme) under the SWAMP collaborative. Two wetland restoration projects are underway under the direction of the Slocan River Streamkeepers Society. In 2018 a group, deriving its nucleus from SWAMP members, initiated the Bonanza Biodiversity Corridor committee to study and protect that area at the northern end of the Slocan Watershed. The SWAMP 2018 Mapping supports that work.
Two Acoustic Recording Units (ARU’s) have been acquired and are managed by SLRC. They record bird and frog vocalizations and have been deployed at various wetlands to document the “singers” each spring. This baseline data gathering will continue, especially in the wetland restorations mentioned above.