Hiking in the Yukon. Image: Pat Morrow
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An Ecological Bonanza in the Flathead

Fourteen scientists scour B.C.’s Flathead and Elk valleys in a search of biological treasure.

Last month, Y2Y and other members of the Flathead Wild team gathered with scientists in B.C.’s Flathead and Elk valleys for the fourth annual bioblitz in this ecologically diverse region.

The latest effort was focused on three undeveloped parcels of land belonging to Teck Resources Ltd., a B.C. company that purchased the land and agreed to set it aside for conservation in October 2013. The parcels include the former Flathead Townsite, a 1,000-hectare section along the Flathead River that is important for native trout, grizzly bears and birds.

Lichenologist Janet Marsh identifies specimens in the Grave Prairie parcel of Teck conservation lands. Photo: Ruth Midgley

“We already know that the Flathead and Alexander Creek parcels are critically important for wildlife connectivity,” said John Bergenske, Conservation Director for Wildsight, a Flathead Wild partner. “They are part of an essential corridor for grizzlies, lynx and other wildlife that move up and down the Rocky Mountains, from Montana’s Glacier National Park to Banff and Jasper National Parks.”

The bioblitz scientists collected specimens from diverse wildlife—from birds and bugs, to aquatic invertebrates, plants and lichens. The results will help Teck and members from the Flathead Wild team as they continue conservation planning on these parcels.

In previous bioblitzes, scientists had already confirmed the Flathead Valley was rich in biodiversity—they found no introduced bug, mollusc or bird species and also discovered a brand new species of spider so speedy they named it Apostenus ducati, after the Italian motorcycle. They also found a fingernail clam that had not been sighted in B.C. in 100 years and several rare butterfly species.

A collage showing Darren Copley, from the Royal BC Museum, looking at tiny spiders from the Flathead. Photo: Ruth Midgley
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