The Snk’mip Marsh Santuary is a 17.4 hectare wetland located at the north end of Slocan Lake. The wetland is a vital aquatic and riparian ecosystem because it is an important stopover for migrating birds, it is home to many species at risk, it is important for water filtration and flood control, and it acts as a carbon sink. After many years of industrial use, the site was purchased by Valhalla Foundation for Ecology in 2017. They have been working to return the site to its previous state as a healthy wetland.
Snk’mip is on Sinixt territory (Snk’mip is the Sinixt word for “head of the lake”). Therefore, consultation with a local Sinixt spokesperson has influenced the list of species planted. Notably, beaked hazelnut (Corylus cornuta) is a food which is traditionally harvested in this area.
Many different native species were planted by community volunteers and Lucerne School students at Snk’mip this fall. Biologists recommended species that would benefit wildlife at Snk’mip. Red-osier dogwood (Cornus stolonifera) was chosen as it provides food for moose and deer. The dogwood flowers feed beneficial pollinators and grouse like to eat the berries. The low, dense growth creates shady hiding places for reptiles and amphibians.
Wetland restoration experts were also consulted. Black cottonwood (Populus balsamifera) was selected for its fast growth, this will help to quickly stabilize the soil and create shade. Mature cottonwoods create great wildlife trees which can benefit birds, insects and bats.
Central Kootenay Invasive Species Society