Turtle Crossing
Douglas Fir

Habitats in the Creston Valley

The Creston valley is a wide deltaic formation of the Kootenay River at its entry into the deep waters of Kootnay Lake. The area has been subject to significant dyking and water control schemes for agricultural purposes. Most of the existing wetlands are under some form of water control regime. The area is in the Southern Columbia Mountains, commonly referred to as the "interior wet belt". As a RAMSAR designated site (as a wetland of international importance), the Creston Valley has been identified as containing four types of wetland: lowland river, inland delta, fresh eutropic lakes, and fens. The forests are characterized by Western Hemlock, Western Red Cedar, and Western White Pine. On drier sites, Douglas Fir and Ponderosa Pine can also be found. Riparian species include Paper Birch, Black Cottonwood, Willow, and Red Osier Dogwood.

Elk - Photo by Tina MacDonald
Photo by Tina MacDonald

Mammals in the Creston Valley

White-tailed deer wander through the marsh all year round and coyotes regularly search for food in the open meadows. The Creston Valley also provides significant habitat to other marsh dwelling animals such as beaver (Castor Canadensis), muskrat (Ondatrra Sibethica),  and elk (Cervus Canadensis).
Coyote - Photo copyright Don Baccus
Photo copyright Don Baccus

Amphibians in the Creston Valley

Alligator Lizard - Photo copyright Don Baccus
Alligator lizards frequent the area around the Lone Pine Hill Trail. In addition, you may catch a glimpse of an endangered Coeur d'Alene salamander.
Coeur d'Alene Salamander
Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
Dolly Varden
Rainbow Trout

Fish in the Creston Valley

Summit Creek supports spawning Kokanee Salmon (Oncorrhyncus nerka) and Leach and Duck Lakes support significant populations of warm water species such as Largemouth Bass (Micropterus salmoides). Other fish species that are present include Rainbow Trout (Oncorrhyncus mykiss), Cutthroat Trout (Salmo clarkii), Dolly Varden (Salvelinus malma), Mountain Whitefish (Prosopium williamsoni), Longnose Sucker (Catostomos catostomos), Redside Shiner (Richardsonius balteatus), Peamouth Chub (Mylocheilus caurinus), Yellow Perch (Perca flavescens), Smallmouth Bass (Micropterus dolomieui) and Bullhead (Ictaluridae spp.). The White Sturgeon has been identifed as rare/endangered. The increase in warm water fish species has occurred since water control mechanisms were developed, and have triggered significant increases in fish-eating bird species such as grebes and ospreys. 

Pink Fairies - Photo by Paul Slichter
Pink Fairies
Alkalai-marsh Butterweed
Alkalai-marsh Butterweed

Flowers in the Creston Valley

During the spring and summer, the Creston Valley boasts a wide variety of flowering plants. A number of rare or endangered floral elements have been identified, including: Pink Fairies (Clarkia pulchella), Downingia (Downingia yina), Spurless Touch-me-not (Impatiens ecalarata), Western Burnet (S. Occidentalis), Fox Sedge (Carex vulpinoidea), Tall Beggarticks (Bidens vulgata), Alkalai-marsh Butterweed (Senecio hydrophilus) and Purple Meadowrue (Thalictrum dasycarpum).

There is growing concern, both regionally and nationally, about the spread of invasive plant species. Purple loosestrife and Knapweed have been identified elsewhere in the Kootenay region and are a significant threat to native wetland plant communities.

Common Downingia
Tall Beggarticks
Tall Beggarticks

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