Echo Lake home to diverse and endangered species – Agassiz-Harrison Observer

Contributed by Agassiz Observer | March 25, 2015

Preliminary surveys by biologists reveal diverse, endangered, and new species inhabiting the extremely rare lowland old-growth forest at Echo Lake west of Agassiz. Conservationists ramp-up call for the BC government to protect the area from logging.

A biodiversity survey (ie “Bio-Blitz”) of an extremely rare but endangered lowland old-growth forest between Agassiz and Mission, the Echo Lake Ancient Forest, famous for its bald eagles, has revealed that it is also home to a large diversity of flora and fauna. This includes many species at risk such as various bats, frogs, snails, dragonflies, and moss. The surveys, conducted over a weekend last year by biologists and naturalists, and co-ordinated by the Ancient Forest Alliance, have now been compiled and will be submitted to the BC Ministry of Environment’s Conservation Data Centre and Wildlife Species Inventory. Over two days, approximately 174 plant, 55 vertebrate, 153 invertebrate, and 38 fungi species were found around Echo Lake.

“These biodiversity surveys show that protecting all of Echo Lake’s surrounding old-growth and mature forests is important not only for saving the largest night-roosting site for bald eagles on Earth, but also for a large diversity of other species, including many species at risk,” stated Ken Wu, Ancient Forest Alliance executive director. “And these new findings are just the tip of the iceberg from just a single weekend of surveys – future surveys will undoubtedly turn up much more. It further re-enforces the fact that it should be a no-brainer for the BC government to protect all of Echo Lake’s surrounding forests.”

In 2013 the BC government protected 55 hectares or over half of the old-growth forests around Echo Lake in an Old-Growth Management Area (OGMA) on Crown lands primarily on the lake’s south side. However, they left out about 40 hectares or so of old-growth and mature forests from the OGMA on the north and west side of the lake within a Woodlot Licence where the ancient trees can be logged.

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