Bull River Grasslands

The 67.7 ha Bull River Grassland Corridor acquisition being secured by The Nature Trust of British Columbia is one of the largest private inholdings of the Bull River Conservation Lands Complex in the East Kootenay near the confluence of the Bull and Kootenay Rivers. This acquisition will remove threats of disease transmission from domestic livestock to wild sheep; protect Class 1 winter range for elk and deer, and habitat for Red-listed American Badger.

The habitat on the Bull River – Grassland Corridor property supports the Red-listed American Badger (SARA Schedule 1, Endangered) and Blue-listed Bighorn Sheep. There are two Badger sightings within 230 m of the property. The distribution of American Badger habitat identified in a resource selection function model (Kinley et al. 2013) indicates that 21% of this property has very high habitat quality, 4% has high habitat quality and the remainder has low habitat quality. The location of the very high and high habitat quality corresponds to the grassland forest corridor present on this property.

The property contains Class 1 winter range for White-tailed Deer, Mule Deer, and Elk and Class 3 for moose. The subject property is extremely important for the Bull River Bighorn Sheep as it is within the core range for the “Bull River” herd of ~120 Bighorn Sheep and provides excellent winter range habitat for this species. Several telemetry locations, identified by the Provincial Government, have been recorded on this property. Grassland and open forest restoration opportunities on this property are a very high regional priority (Rocky Mountain Trench Ecosystem Restoration Program), which will improve habitat for Bighorn Sheep. Retention of viable wildlife movement corridors and habitat linkages between summer and winter ranges is also a principle FLNRO management objective in the East Kootenay.

This property provides an important grassland and open forest corridor linking the various conservation lands in the Bull River Conservation Land Complex. The property is bounded on three sides by conservation holdings; on the west by land owned by The Nature Trust of British Columbia) and leased to the Ministry of Forests, Lands, and Natural Resource Operations (FLRNO), on the south by Provincial conservation land, and on the northwest by provincial Crown Wildlife Reserve. Crown land bounds the north and east sections of the property.