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.
Photo by Tina
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
Photo copyright Don
in the Creston Valley
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.
Fish in the
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.
Flowers in the
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.
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