The Region

"Nature is not a place to visit, it's home"

- Gary Snyder

The Thompson Watershed’s diverse landscapes support multiple resources and benefits for the natural environment, regional economy and the communities within it. It is by protecting clean water, conserving the region’s biodiversity, and stewarding the land to protect healthy, functioning ecosystems, that the TNCC and partners ensure that the unique spaces and species are conserved for generations to come.  

The region that the Collaborative's work focuses on comprises over 51,000 square kilometres:

Indigenous-managed lands typically have the greatest biodiversity and TNCC is working with partners to build on and steward conservation initiatives with that goal in mind. The importance of learning from and respecting Indigenous knowledge and rights to land is essential to ensuring healthy watersheds and the species and spaces within.

A sensitive ecosystem is one that is at risk or ecologically fragile in the provincial landscape

Within the watershed are several unique ecosystems, including grasslands, riparian areas, wetlands, dry coniferous woodland and old forest that provide critical habitat for many species at risk. By ensuring an ecosystem approach, focusing on watershed-scale management, these spaces will remain intact for the species that need it.  

Grassland is the rarest land cover type in BC, covering only 1% of the province, and disproportionately supports about 33% of BC’s species at risk, including American badger, Burrowing owl, Sharp-tailed grouse, and Western rattlesnake.  

Riparian vegetation is a sensitive ecosystem that is associated with the increased moisture at lake, wetland and stream edges. Low elevation riparian habitats include cottonwood, and some aspen communities, and are home to some threatened species including Lewis’s woodpecker and Western screech-owl. In addition, riparian habitats are also critical habitat supporting a host of imperiled migratory birds.   

Wetlands are rare on the landscape and provide important habitats for amphibians like the Great basin spadefoot (toad), waterfowl and shorebirds. They also support invertebrates that feed many animals, such as the Endangered Little brown myotis (bat).  

Dry Coniferous Woodland includes Ponderosa pine and interior Douglas-fir trees. They are important for the Lewis’s woodpecker (Threatened), Flammulated owl (Special Concern) and other species at risk.   

Old Forest is important for many species. The Endangered Spotted-owl depends on large old trees for nesting and Threatened Mountain caribou is dependent on this habitat for its major source of food (lichens) at a critical time of year.   

Species at risk are plants and animals that are in danger of disappearing from the wild (Nature Conservancy of Canada)

Working with provinces and territories, Environment and Climate Change Canada has identified 11 Priority Places for biodiversity and Species at Risk (SAR) conservation in Canada, including the BC Dry Interior. BC’s grassland habitat covers only 1% of the province but is home to almost one third of the province’s species at risk. The Thompson-Nicola region specifically comprises 45% of the Dry Interior and contains provincially, nationally, and globally significant biodiversity values, including many species and ecosystems at risk:

The Mission StatementWe put environment first.

What? The TNCC was started in March 2020 to explore options for greater support for, and collaboration among, groups doing conservation work in the Thompson-Nicola (T-N) region, including the possibility of a regional conservation partnership, similar to others in BC.

Who? It was initiated by the BC Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development (FLNRORD), with start-up funding from Environment and Climate Change Canada – Canadian Wildlife Service (ECCC-CWS). In April 2021, the TNCC will be launched as a member-driven collaborative organization, independent of government.  


Why? ECCC has identified 11 Priority Places for biodiversity conservation in Canada, including the BC Dry Interior. The T-N region comprises 45% of the Dry Interior and contains provincially, nationally and globally significant biodiversity values, including many species and ecosystems at risk. For example, the grassland ecosystem covers only 1% of the province but has over 30% of the species at risk.


When? In Phase 1, March 2020 to March 2021, consultants conducted background research, directed by an ad hoc Working Group, including 80 interviews with over 60 organizations. Results from the interviews show overwhelming support for the idea of a conservation partnership!

Species at Risk

In the Thompson Watershed:


Species at risk globally


Species at risk nationally


Provincially listed species at risk


Burrowing Owl (Athene cunicularia)

The BC Dry Interior is experiencing changes. Increasing population growth and the related expansion of residential and industrial building development is encroaching on spaces that are critical for wildlife habitat and movement. There is greater demand for dairies, orchards and vineyards, resulting in the conversion of land.

Together these threats endanger and result in the loss of critical wildlife habitats

  • Valley bottoms
  • Low to mid-level grasslands
  • Shrub-steppe
  • Open forests

“When we show our respect for other living things, they respond with respect for us”

Arapahoe proverb

Great Basin Spadefoot (Spea intermontana)