Collecting Species in BC's Peace Valley
To be truly passionate about protecting something, we need a full appreciation of what could be lost if no action is taken.
That was the impetus for an unprecedented bioblitz in B.C.’s Peace River Valley, an area threatened by increasing industrial development and possible construction of the Site C Dam.
For a week in late June, more than 30 scientists from a range of disciplines and institutions converged on the valley to collect specimens to increase our understanding of the region’s biodiversity—from freshwater invertebrates to insects, plants, mosses and birds.
Scientists explored remote sections of the river ecosystem, including the proposed Peace Boudreau Protected Area, an ecologically significant region that Y2Y and others have argued should be protected before further development occurs.
As part of the bioblitz, Y2Y helped to connect scientists with local First Nations guides and Elders, who provided local expertise and traditional ecological knowledge to enrich the data.
At a Y2Y-hosted open house, the science team shared their collections with people from the community, who were able to gaze through microscopes at freshwater molluscs and spiders and watch as entomologists pin and tag insect specimens.
The open house was capped off with a presentation by noted wildlife photographer Ron Long on the unique biodiversity of Pink Mountain, an alpine region north of the Peace River that Y2Y is also working to protect.
Although the Peace River Valley is biologically unique, it is one of the least catalogued regions in the province, making up less than 1 percent of the Royal BC Museum’s natural history collection. Beyond its significance for natural history buffs, the region is also a critical section within the larger Yellowstone to Yukon region, as the narrowest point along this continental north-south corridor.
If construction of the Site C Dam proceeds, an 80-kilometer stretch of this river valley will undergo major environmental changes, not just in the flood zone but in surrounding and downstream areas as well; areas that have already been pushed to the ecological limit due to extensive development.
Join the Circle to support First Nations and landowners as they battle in court against the Site C Dam, and seek to preserve this unique valley and species and specimens within it.