Columbia National Wildlife Area

Feature Type:National Wildlife Area - An area established under the Canada Wildlife Act (1973) to conserve essential habitat for migratory birds and other wildlife. Located on land owned or leased for a long term by the Federal Government.
Name Authority: BC Geographical Names Office
Relative Location: 4 sites along the Columbia River below (NW of) Invermere, Kootenay Land District
Latitude-Longitude: 50°54'20''N, 116°23'20''W at the approximate centre of this feature.
Datum: NAD83
NTS Map: 82K/16
Related Maps: 82K/16

Origin Notes and History:

Columbia National Wildlife Area and the approved French form of the name, Réserve nationale de faune de Columbia, are identified in Environment Canada's 1996 list of National Wildlife Areas, and in Wildlife Area Regulations C.R.C., c.1609 (2003, current to April 2013).

Source: Canadian Geographical Names Database, Ottawa

Established in 1978; 1007 hectares. Currently, the Canadian Wildlife Service (CWS) manages four units in the Columbia NWA namely: Wilmer, Spillimacheen, Brisco, and Harrogate.(Environment Canada website/April 2013)

Source: included with note

The Columbia National Wildlife Area (NWA) is situated in the southern part of the spectacular Rocky Mountain Trench. The trench stretches almost uninterrupted from the border with Montana in the south to the Liard Plain in the north, and separates the younger Rocky Mountains to the east from the older Purcell and Selkirk Mountains to the west. From it's outlet on Columbia Lake to Donald Station 180 km to the north, the Columbia River flows slowly, gradually dropping only a few meters over this distance. It is the only free-flowing stretch of the Columbia River and its slow meanders form extensive wetlands over 27,430 hectares of the valley bottom. The Columbia Wetlands are internationally recognized for their diversity and variety of wildlife and as important resting and breeding habitats for waterfowl and migratory birds of the Pacific flyway. The NWA is maintained as wetland habitat for the primary benefit of migrating waterfowl with secondary benefits for other wetland-dependent wildlife, fish, and plant species, especially those species considered rare, threatened, or endangered. The basic management strategy permits, as appropriate, the active intervention of man to achieve desired wildlife management objectives and obtain optimum habitat diversity for the benefit of wetland-dependent wildlife, fish, and plant species. In the late 1960's CWS became interested in acquiring properties in the Columbia Valley, that were not otherwise protected and which had high waterfowl values. The first priority was for goose production areas near Wilmer. Negotiations to acquire those properties began in 1970, and by 1976 approximately 405 ha of land had been purchased. In 1978 those lands became the Wilmer NWA. In 1977, The Nature Trust of British Columbia began to acquire properties in the Columbia Valley, based on recommendations from CWS. By 1984 the Nature Trust had purchased approximately 529 ha at Spillimacheen, Brisco, and Harrogate. Those properties are currently leased to CWS, and together with the Wilmer property form the Columbia NWA. (Environment Canada website/April 2013)

Source: included with note