The Slocan Wetland Assessment and Monitoring Program (SWAMP) is a group of active people that value the biodiversity and ecological value of wetlands. (See “Who we are”)
The long term goal of SWAMP is to utilize existing mapping and inventory data as base layers and to develop a detailed and comprehensive habitat assessment of flora and fauna of the watershed. SWAMP is a multi-year initiative to establish a community based monitoring program to assess the abundance, distribution, and ecological integrity/function of wetlands and riparian habitat throughout the Slocan watershed.
Phase 1 of the project (completed during the winter of 2013) involved collecting all existing information as to the type and extent of wetlands in the Slocan Valley, and developing an assessment method that was applicable for multiple levels of experience and education. Phase 2 (completed during the summer and fall of 2014) involved the assessment of 50 wetland plots from four wetland complexes and several other smaller wetlands. The assessments utilized a multi-disciplinary approach to classify each wetland and assess habitat suitability for mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians. A separate, but integrated, assessment of invertebrate diversity to determine ecosystem health was also completed. In addition, two volunteer training workshops were held and numerous community outreach events were attended.
The focus of Phase 3 (to be completed in 2015) is to perform detailed assessments on additional wetlands and present the results to the communities, with a focus on wetland mapping and characterization. Assessments will incorporate lessons learned from Phase 2, including less reliance on professional specialists, and more emphasis on characterizing ecosystem functions. Target wetlands will include a wide distribution of sample sites, with a continued goal of attempting to inventory and classify the full range of wetlands that occur in the Slocan watershed, with a focus on private property. An improved community involvement and training program will be undertaken in Phase 3 to increase the knowledge of community members and the capacity of volunteers to contribute local knowledge of the location and importance of wetlands.