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Flathead BioBlitz

‘What do you get when you put three entomologists, a botanist, a gastropod expert, a limnologist and an ornithologist along a river valley for one full week?’

 



The short answer is, you get a lot of photos and notes, and the cataloguing of spiders, birds and other creepy crawlies in an attempt to record all the living species within a designated area. It’s known as a BioBlitz.

Bugs Jamie Rojo
Photo: Jaime Rojo

 

This August, ten biologists conducted the first-ever Flathead BioBlitz in and around the Flathead River Valley to formally represent the area’s rich biodiversity.


The Early Bird Gets the Worm…or Spider!

Worm Jaime Rojo
Photo: Jaime Rojo

Led by Dr. Robb Bennet, the team comprised three top entomologists and spider experts from the Royal BC Museum, a botanist, a team of gastropod (slugs and snails) experts, a limnologist (a freshwater scientist), and an ornithologist (birds).

Tube Jaime Rojo
Photo: Jaime Rojo
As nature awoke to the rising sun, this team of experts headed out into the field to find a new location to unearth as many species as they could find. The result was an impressive repertoire of species.


Supreme Biological Richness


The official count is yet to be released, as biologists are still tallying and classifying their specimens from the event. However, they have confirmed one thing: the Flathead River Valley is an area of supreme biological richness.

Forest Jaime Rojo
Photo: Jaime Rojo

With water from the Flathead River so pure that scientists use it as a bench mark by which to measure water quality, and more than 1,000 wildflower species to be found in the valley; these expert findings only add to the reasons why this area is precious.


Complete the Park and Protect the Flathead


Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative and other conservation organizations have been campaigning to protect the Flathead. Adjacent to the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park, a World Heritage Site and UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, these groups are calling on the B.C. government to fill in the missing piece of the Heritage Site by supporting the addition of this southeastern one-third of the Flathead to the park. They are also advocating for the creation of a Flathead Wildlife Management Area to ensure wildlife can continue to roam from Glacier to Canada’s Rocky Mountain parks. The results of this BioBlitz will help demonstrate the important role this area plays in supporting wildlife.

 

Flathead Wild Campaign Map

 

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