Frog-Bear Land Acquisition
Over a decade of collaborative work, on behalf of Trans-border Grizzly Bear Project, Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC), and Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative (Y2Y), led to the acquisition of 679 acres (274 hectares) of land in British Columbia’s (BC) Creston Valley.
Creating the Frog Bear Conservation Corridor
The private property, now known as Frog Bear Conservation Corridor, falls within the trans-boundary Cabinet-Purcell Mountain Corridor, where Y2Y leads a collaboration of over 60 groups who work to keep small grizzly bear populations connected to each other.
The Creston Valley bottom is a key linkage area for grizzly bears and mountain caribou, and provides critical habitat for endangered northern leopard frogs.
Movement of grizzly bears through BC’s Creston valley was first detected by radio-collared bears that are part of the Trans-border Grizzly Bear Project, a research project conducted by an international group of biologists focused on recovering threatened trans-boundary populations and funded in part by Y2Y.
Each color in the photo above represents the movement of a radio-collared grizzly bear in and around Highway 3 (noted on the map), which parallels the border, and Highway 3A, which runs north of Highway 3 to the east of the Duck Lake.
Highway 3 is the most important area to ensure wildlife connectivity is preserved in the entire Yellowstone to Yukon region.
The Grizzly Bears Showed Us the Way
The research showed that the at-risk Selkirk grizzly population and other wildlife species actually go out of their way to move through the identified Highway 3A linkage area (as noted in the picture above).
Connecting the threatened grizzly population with the more abundant population to the east is critical to the long-term prospects for this species in this region of BC.
By purchasing this private land that is adjacent to the linkage area and securing it from future development, the acquisition ensures all wildlife can continue to move between the Selkirk and Purcell Mountains, an area that suffers from fragmentation.
The value of the property was further enhanced when amphibian researchers discovered that it was the only known breeding ground for the endangered northern leopard frog within BC.
Stitching the Valley Bottom for Conservation
NCC led the acquisition of all three properties that were purchased as part of this conservation effort.
Together they make up 95 percent of the lands that were identified for protection near Creston BC. It also means that we are close to fully protecting the valley-bottom wildlife corridor.
In 2012, NCC purchased a 306-acres (124 hectares-) parcel of land from Creston-based Wyndel Box and Lumber for $1.1M, of which Y2Y provided half the funds. The purchase price also includes the cost of ongoing management of the site.
In 2013, NCC purchased two additional parcels of land for $1.14 million. Y2Y contributed close to half a million dollars toward this purchase.
One parcel is a 162-acre (65-hectare) forested property on the western edge of the valley that serves as a gateway for bears moving down from the mountains. The land was also purchased from Creston-based Wynndel Box and is adjacent to the Creston Valley Wildlife Management Area.
An additional 211 acres (85 hectares) has been protected through a conservation covenant that will prevent the subdivision of the valley-bottom land, which will continue to be used for agriculture.
In addition to raising funds for the purchase of these properties, Y2Y also helped fund the research that identified the significance of this parcel.
The Long-Term Goals
Conserving this linkage is a strategic step toward achieving the goals outlined in the Collaborative Conservation Framework for the Cabinet-Purcell Mountain Corridor that was created by Y2Y and its partners in 2008.
The success of the Collaborative Conservation Framework is crucial to restoring wildlife movement between Idaho, Montana and British Columbia and throughout the Yellowstone to Yukon region. Additionally, this acquisition demonstrates Y2Y's ability to advance our conservation efforts through successful partnerships.
Read Y2Y published stories on the topic: