Early in 2020, the PWA donated $25K to the Nature Conservation of Canada for the acquisition of a property on the edge of the Ryan River in Pemberton. The balance of the funds needed were realized in 2020 and the property was brought into permanent conservation.
A valley-bottom haven for bears, birds and beavers. Old-growth forests and thriving wetlands provide essential habitats 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.
The Ryan River property lies within the provincially threatened Squamish-Lillooet Grizzly Bear Population Unit. Prov. biologists have estimated 59 bears, a low number for long-term health and vitality.
Protecting 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.
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.
This property is strongly influenced by the Ryan River with most of the land on the floodplain, ensuring the forests and meadows alike are very wet. These 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. 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.