Restoration project saves birds and wins award

The Trench ER Program and many other organizations have been given the Outstanding Land Program prize.

  • Apr. 19, 2011 12:00 p.m.

The Land Trust Alliance of British Columbia has awarded the Trench ER Program, the Fish & Wildlife Compensation Program, the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations. the Nature Conservancy of Canada, the Nature Trust of British Columbia and Thunderhill Ranch its first Outstanding Land Program prize.

The prize was given for the joint-effort of the Dutch-Findlay project.

The Columbia Basin Trust, Community Adjustment Fund, Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation, Job Opportunities Program and Rocky Mountain Trench Natural Resources Society also supported the project.

The award was presented on April 1 at an awards ceremony in Victoria, B.C.

“The Rocky Mountain Trench Ecosystem Restoration Program is an outstanding example of how conservation groups, government and private land owners can find common ground and work together in the preservation of our province,” said Paul McNair, executive director of the Land Trust Alliance, during the ceremony.

The project resulted in over 560 hectares of open forest and grassland restoration.

Ninety-three wildlife trees and the investment of over $900,000 in public and private funds was also created on the project.

The project spanned a total of 45 square kilometres of undeveloped land between Dutch Creek and Canal Flats.

The Dutch-Findlay area is a nesting home for the Lewis’ woodpecker.

This rare bird is only found in a few valleys in British Columbia’s southern interior in Canada.

The project mainly focused on long-term habitat improvements for this at-risk species.

However, with these restoration treatments in place, the result is also enhanced habitat for the endangered American badger and improved grazing for domestic cattle, as well as elk and deer.

The award nomination was made by the East Kootenay Conservation Program (EKCP).

“As a broad-based partnership ourselves, we are extremely supportive of this collaborative approach,” said EKCP manager Wayne Stetski in an official press release.

“The combined efforts of the ER Program and its partners are achieving superior conservation results on a landscape level, rather than on a property by property basis. This is the best way to deliver conservation in an efficient and effective manner. Grassland restoration is critical to a healthy environment in the East Kootenay. We need to ensure that the excellent work that has been done in the past is recognized, and that restoration work continues to be a priority for funding in the future.”

The Dutch-Findlay project will also be a part of this year’s Wings Over the Rockies Festival.

A guided tour of the field, titled “Ecosystem Restorationg IS for the Birds”, will be happening on May 2 of the week-long event.

For more information about Wings Over the Rockies or to register for festival events, visit

For more information about the Trench ER Program and their projects, visit