Box 640, Creston, B.C., Canada, V0B1G0 ~ Phone: (250) 402-6900 ~ Fax: (250) 402-6910 ~ Email: askus@crestonwildlife.ca     

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About the CVWMA

Our mandate is derived from British Columbia's Creston Valley Wildlife Act. Through it we have been delegated legal authority to manage the Creston Valley Wildlife Management Area, a 7,000 ha (17,000-acre) area of provincial Crown land located along the Kootenay River system in proximity to the Town of Creston, British Columbia.

We must ... put into effect and uphold the spirit and intent of the Creston Valley Wildlife Act and any regulations struck under that Act in our management of the Creston Valley Wildlife Management Area. Specifically, we must maintain and develop the Creston Valley Wildlife Management Area for the purpose of "wildlife conservation, management and development ... and, in particular, as a waterfowl management area".

Our mission is to ... manage the Creston Valley Wildlife management Area - a 7,000 ha (17,000-acre) wetland of international significance - for conservation and natural species diversity through research, education and public support.

Established in 1968, the Creston Valley Wildlife Management Area is the first and largest wildlife management area in the Province of British Columbia. The marshes form a valuable link in a chain of wetlands stretching from the Arctic Ocean to California. The Creston Valley Wildlife Management Area covers 7,000 hectares (17,000 acres) of provincial land, or an area that averages 20 km (12.4) miles long by 3.4 km (2.1 miles) wide. It consists of one lake (1,500 ha or 3,700 acres) and 17 marshes plus a major river and adjoining mountain slopes.

Why are wetlands important? Wetlands sustain as much life as many tropical rain forests. They play a critical role in maintaining the global environment. Wetlands provide a natural flood barrier that slows down the runoff of spring melt and rainstorms. Extensive wetlands in agricultural regions play a large role in water purification. They filter the water of our lakes, rivers and streams, reducing pollution. Marsh plants remove excessive levels of nitrogen and phosphorous. Wetlands are the kidneys of the earth. Over 20 million hectares of wetlands across Canada have been lossed due to agriculture, harbour facilities, manufacturing plants, garbage dumps, warehouses, roads, airports, residential development, hydroelectric generation, utility rights of ways and shopping centers. Increasing pressures for dredging, draining and filling of wetlands continue to occur. Understanding and preserving these wetlands is as important for our future as it is to Canadian Wildlife.

Why is the Creston Valley Wildlife Management Area important? The Creston Valley Wildlife Management Area is home to over 265 bird species, 50 mammal species, 30 fish, reptile and amphibian species, thousands of invertebrate and plant species. The Valley is a migration corridor for Tundra Swans, Greater White-fronted Geese, and other waterfowl and is the largest regional locale for wintering birds of prey in the interior of the Province. It is considered that in British Columbia the Creston Valley Wildlife Management Area is second only to the coast as a flyway route for numbers of migrating waterfowl that follow it twice yearly.

Warm shallow waters encourage luxuriant growth of the most important aquatics i.e., sage, clasping leaf and other pondweeds (Potamogeton sp.), duck potato (Sagittaria latifolia), duckweed (Lemna and Spirodela spp.), muskgrass (Chara spp.), etc.

The Creston Valley Wildlife Management Area has undergone many changes and met many challenges since it came into being by Act of the Provincial Legislature in 1968. This internationally recognized wetland provides staging and nesting areas for migratory birds on the Pacific Flyway and habitat for many species of mammals, reptiles, amphibians, invertebrates and plants. The Creston Valley Wildlife Management Area serves as an increasingly important link in the network of wetlands in North America and is one of the best wildlife viewing sites in British Columbia.

The richness and diversity of life forms would not be present on the Creston Valley Wildlife Management Area without habitat management. Because of careful management of water levels, vegetation, and other habitat features since 1968, there are now more species and larger breeding populations of birds and other wildlife at Creston Valley Wildlife Management Area than in previous years.

The Creston Valley Wildlife Management Area and its wildlife resource provide many recreational and educational opportunities. Hiking, cycling, canoeing, picnicking, wildlife viewing, hunting and fishing opportunities are all available on the Creston Valley Wildlife Management Area. Visitors are drawn by the scenic beauty of a lush green valley, its lakes framed between two beautiful mountain ranges. The Creston Valley Wildlife Management Area is, in itself, the most significant tourist attraction in the Creston Valley and a source of economic benefits to the local community. An estimated 35,000 visitors pass through the Creston Valley Wildlife Management Area each year, attracted by its easy accessibility, and by the opportunity to see large mammals such as elk, moose, deer, coyotes, muskrat, beaver and river otters in addition to the diverse bird species for which the Area is best known.

The Creston Valley Wildlife Management Area's national and international reputation also brings scientists and researchers from universities in Canada and overseas to conduct research, enriching the community and adding to the universal body of scientific knowledge. Simon Fraser University, in fact, has established a research station on the Creston Valley Wildlife Management Area.

A small staff complemented by the addition of seasonal staff during the Interpretive Centre season, along with over 60 volunteers keeps everything on the Creston Valley Wildlife Management Area active. Volunteers assist us with visitor services, gift shop, maintenance, publications, fundraising, special events, displays and habitat management.

The dedication and continuous fundraising efforts of the staff and volunteers played a critical role in keeping the Creston Valley Wildlife Management Area open when government funding was cut back in the mid-nineties.

Recently BC Hydro, Power Corporation for British Columbia, has stepped in by contributing annually towards our basic operations until a large enough endowment fund is established. Fundraising efforts continue for all on-going habitat projects, programs and services. More and more people want to become a part of this on-going project, as they are recognizing the need to preserve vital areas.

The staff, volunteers and partners are enthusiastic stewards of one of the most important and remarkable wildlife projects. As stewards we manage the wildlife habitat for species diversity, expand the scientific body of knowledge about the Creston Valley Wildlife Management Area through interpretation, education and outdoor recreation, and forge and perpetuate partnerships beneficial to the continuance of the Creston Valley Wildlife Management Area.

The Creston Valley Wildlife Area is a wondrous place that I hope you will want to explore. Whether you enjoy birdwatching, photography, exploring historic sites, hiking, biking, walking, canoeing, cross country skiing, picnicking or just sitting on a bench to enjoy the scenery, there is something for everyone at the Creston Valley Wildlife Management Area.



Creston Valley
Wildlife Management Area,
Box 640, Creston, British Columbia
Canada, V0B 1G0.
Telephone: (250) 402 - 6900
Fax: (250) 402 - 6910


Updated February 15, 2007
© 2006 CVWMA
All Rights Reserved