Widgeon Valley National Wildlife Area
Widgeon Valley National Wildlife Area (NWA), in British Columbia, provides important wetland habitat for many plants, birds, and other wildlife.
Widgeon Valley NWA is 125 hectares (ha) in size. It is located near Pitt Lake, 65 kilometres (km) east of Vancouver, within the Fraser Valley. The Lower Fraser Valley in British Columbia has fertile soils from sediments deposited by the Fraser River. In addition, the mild, humid maritime climate of the area causes high year-round, biological productivity. As a result, the valley attracts much wildlife. The Nature Trust of British Columbia purchased the property of the Widgeon Valley NWA in 1973 and the property was declared an NWA in October of that year.
Four major habitat types have been identified in the Widgeon Valley NWA:
- central lowland
- western upland
- stream banks
- riverine marsh/bog
The central lowland area has a dense stand of hardhack with accompanying:
- reed grass
- skunk cabbage
The western upland includes deciduous trees and conifers, such as:
- red alder
- western red cedar
- western hemlock
- sitka spruce
- douglas fir
The stream banks support shrubby vegetation, including:
- red alder
- pacific crabapple
- northern black cottonwood
The outer edges of the marsh/bog habitat contain:
- shore pine
- labrador tea
- creeping spearwort
The NWA is important for its wetlands that benefit migrating waterfowl and other wetland-dependent wildlife, fish, and plant species. The wetland complex, which is near other adjacent areas of high wetland value, include:
- Widgeon Slough and Addington Point along the Pitt River
- the shallow southern end of Pitt Lake
- the extensive dyked wet areas of the Pitt Meadows
As such, the NWA plays a significant role as a staging and wintering area for migrating birds of the Pacific Flyway. Pie-billed grebes are frequent in the area and Black Scoters are seasonally abundant. In addition, the NWA is known to provide important habitat to:
- Canadian geese
- wood duck
- cinnamon teal
Birds known to overwinter in the area include:
- northern pintails
- greater scaups
- common goldeneyes
- horned grebes
- western grebes
- varied thrush
- Ruby-crowned kinglet
- fox sparrow
A wide variety of other wildlife are also native to the area including:
- red-tailed hawk
- screech owls
- western toad
- river otter
Find more information on Widgeon Valley NWA in the summary table below.
Under the Canada Wildlife Act, NWAs are protected and managed in accordance with the Wildlife Area Regulations. The primary purpose of NWAs is to protect and conserve wildlife and wildlife habitat. For this purpose and according to the legislation, all activities in a NWA that could interfere with the conservation of wildlife can be prohibited. Consequently, most NWAs are not accessible to the public and all activities in these NWAs are prohibited. However, some activities may be authorized through Schedule I.1 of the Wildlife Area Regulations or the issuance of permits as long as they are consistent with the management plan goals for the NWA. For more information, consult the NWA Management and Activities section.
The Widgeon Valley NWA is managed to maintain the wetlands for the benefit of wildlife. The basic management strategy permits, as appropriate, human intervention to achieve desired wildlife management objectives and obtain optimum habitat diversity for the benefit of wetland-dependent species.
Canoe and kayak access to a campsite in the contiguous Pinecone Burke Provincial Park is along a channel passing through the NWA. Use of non-motorized boats will only be permitted if the NWA is not degraded by this activity. Any authorized activities are listed in Schedule I.1 of the Wildlife Area Regulations; signage is also posted at access points. For some types of activities, additional federal or provincial permits may be required.
Authorized activities listed in Schedule I.1 of the Wildlife Area Regulations for Widgeon Valley NWA:
- wildlife viewing from non-motorized boats located in the water
- non-motorized boating
- sport fishing from a non-motorized boat in accordance with any applicable federal permit and any authorization required by the laws of British Columbia for sport fishing in that province
More information on access and permitting can be obtained by contacting the Environment and Climate Change Canada regional office.
Map of the area
Map showing the area near where Pitt River and Pitt Lake meet in southwestern British Columbia. The boundaries of the Widgeon Valley NWA are indicated. The protected area covers land to the north of Pitt River and Siwash Island and west of Pitt Lake. Multiple small tributaries flow through the wildlife area. The scale on the map is in kilometers. Permanent water is indicated on the map. A small inset national map situates the NWA in Canada.
This map is for illustrative purposes only and should not be used to define legal boundaries.
|Protected Area designation||National Wildlife Area (NWA)|
|Latitude/longitude||49°21' North / 122°38' West|
|Reason for creation of protected area||Maintain a wetland for the benefit of migratory birds and other wildlife.|
|Date created (Gazetted)||1978- Legal description|
|International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Management Category||Strict Nature Reserve (Ia)|
|Keystone or flagship species||Fluvial lowlands with hardhack. Upland and stream banks with:|
|Listed species under the Species at Risk Act (SARA)||Twenty-one species currently on Schedule 1 of the Species at Risk Act occur or potentially occur in the NWA, which includes:
|Main habitat type||
|Main threats and challenges||Excessive recreational access.|
|Management Agency||Environment and Climate Change Canada (Canadian Wildlife Service)|
|Public access and usage||Authorized activities listed in Schedule I.1 of the Wildlife Area Regulations for Widgeon Valley NWA:
Note: If there is a discrepancy between the information presented on this web page, any notice posted at the NWA site and the law, the law prevails.
Environment and Climate Change Canada - Pacific Region
Canadian Wildlife Service
Protected Areas Program
5421 Robertson Road
Toll-free: 1-800-668-6767 (in Canada only)
- Canada Wildlife Act
- Wildlife Area Regulations
- International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)
- Widgeon Valley NWA management Plan
- Widgeon Valley NWA pamphlet
- Widgeon Valley NWA on Google Maps (Please note that the Google map is a complementary source of information and does not represent the official map or site name)
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