Happy B.C. Day! Today, we celebrate the diverse ecosystems and landscapes of our province.
B.C. is home to over 50,000 species of plants and animals, which is more diverse than anywhere else in Canada. Below, we have highlighted some facts about B.C.’s ecosystems and the Vancouver Island Marmot, Canada’s most endangered mammal, as well as show some ways you can get involved in conservation initiatives to support fish, wildlife and habitat in B.C..
Facts about B.C.’s Ecosystems
- There are 76 species that are endemic to B.C., meaning that they are only found here in the province. Over 80% of the species endemic to Canada are insects and plants. Among the fish and wildlife species are the Pacific Steller’s Jay, Queen Charlotte Hairy Woodpecker, and Vancouver Lamprey.
- Just under 500 species of fish call B.C.’s streams, rivers and lakes home. Within this, there are 67 native species of fish, which are at an increased risk of extinction due to human activities and factors that impact their habitats, like climate change and habitat fragmentation.
- Wetlands make up 5% of B.C.’s land area and Canada is home to almost 25% of the world’s wetlands. Wetlands act as a water purification system and keep carbon out of the atmosphere. The Columbia Wetlands are some of the largest wetlands in Canada and span over 180 kilometers.
- Over 100 species feed on wild salmon, including Orcas, grizzlies, and eagles. Often, the bears bring the fish into the forest before eating to protect their catch from other bears. The leftover salmon turns into fertilizer for the trees and plants, bringing them nitrogen and other nutrients. When the trees fall and begin to decay, they provide backwater nurseries for the salmon.
- Just under 25% of the world’s temperate rainforest is found in B.C.. The Great Bear Rainforest, the largest coastal temperate rainforest in the world, is found on the coast of B.C.. At an astounding six million hectares, this rainforest is home to Cedar and Spruce trees that are more than 1,000 years old.
Species Spotlight: Vancouver Island Marmot
The Vancouver Island Marmot is endemic to Vancouver Island and is currently a critically endangered species. They can be identified by their dark brown coat with irregular white spots. These animals have a lifespan of around 10 years and weigh up to 5.5 kilograms, making them one of the largest marmots. Additionally, they hibernate for 7 months out of the year and live in subalpine meadows across the island.
Because of extensive habitat loss, the Vancouver Island Marmot’s predators, including wolves, cougars, and eagles, pose an even greater threat to their population. In 2004, only 30 marmots remained in the wild, however, this number has been brought up to 200 due to captive breeding and release.
Below, we have listed a few upcoming events where you can get involved with the BCWF to protect and conserve the habitats and wildlife here in B.C.:
Participants will gain hands-on experience in areas such as riparian and stream health assessments while completing a Rapid Health Assessment for Small streams.
Join the 2022 Invermere Fish Habitat Stewardship Workshop to gain valuable knowledge on fish habitat and stream ecosystem restoration during multiple in-depth stream tours along Abel Creek. We will cover topics such as water quality measurements and monitoring, invertebrate sampling, and their relationship to a healthy watershed.
To register for either of these FREE workshops, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Come join us in this free workshop to learn about the different types of wetlands and how to protect them. This entry-level workshop will introduce you to the basics of wetlands and mapping, using free software, GPS, and your smartphone. Participants will hear from guest speakers about community engagement to protect wetlands and human impacts. Register here!