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Posted: October 18, 2013

Teck buys 7,000 ha for conservation

Teck Resources announced Oct. 17 that it has purchased more than 7,000 hectares of land in the Elk and Flathead river valleys of Tembec Inc. for conservation purposes.

FlatheadValleyThe company, which operates five coal mines in the Elk Valley, spent $19 million on three parcels of land, including the Flathead Townsite, a 1,000-ha riverside parcel southeast of Sparwood, that is important for bull and westslope cutthroat trout.

The largest parcel is a 3,098-ha property in Alexander Creek, on the north side of Highway 3, running adjacent to the Alberta border.

“The Alexander Creek parcel is critical for wildlife connectivity, allowing wide-ranging species such as grizzly bear and lynx to make their way from Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park, across Highway 3, to Canada’s Rocky Mountain parks,” noted conservation coalition Flathead Wild, a coalition of conservation groups in B.C., Alberta and Montana, in an Oct. 17 news release that praises Teck.

The third parcel Teck purchased is 3,059-ha at Grave Prairie (pictured above), an important wintering area for elk located at the north end of Lower Elk Valley Road, between Elkford and Sparwood.

Teck president Don Lindsay said the company intends to keep working with conservation groups and the Ktunaxa Nation to protect key wildlife and fish habitat in the region.

“Teck is committed to responsible resource development and we strongly believe that it’s possible to have both world-class mining and a world-class environment,” he stated.

“We’re very excited that Teck has made a significant investment to purchase and work towards conserving this important wildlife and fish habitat,” said Wildsight Executive Director John Bergenske.

“We look forward to continuing to work cooperatively with Teck on the details for the stewardship framework for these lands,” added Harvey Locke, strategic advisor to the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative (Y2Y).

The Flathead Wild coalition is calling for more permanent protection for B.C.’s Flathead River Valley, which provides rich habitat for species including grizzly bear and a wide variety of bird species, and is a vital link in the continent’s longest remaining wildlife corridor.

Flathead Wild also includes Sierra Club BC, CPAWS BC, Headwaters Montana and the National Parks Conservation Association.

The conservation groups have long advocated for a national park in the southeastern one-third of the Flathead, to fill in the missing piece of the adjacent Waterton-Glacier World Heritage Site. They also call for a Wildlife Management Area in the rest of the Flathead River Valley and adjoining habitat.

Ian Cobb/e-KNOW

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