THE TRENCH SOCIETY: A FEW FACTS

Name

Rocky Mountain Trench Natural Resources Society (the Trench Society)

Established

As a non-profit organization under the BC Society Act in 1996 and registered as a federal charity in 1999.

Members

The Trench Society is an umbrella organization representing the following:

Total membership in the above organizations is approximately 4,000.

Each of the 11 member organizations appoints a representative to the Trench Society’s Board of Directors.

Mission

To restore and conserve grassland and open forest ecosystem health to sustain plants, animals and people in the East Kootenay and Upper Columbia.

Vision

A restored Trench landscape functioning at its ecological potential thereby supporting:

Strategic Direction

The Society will focus on five core functions to achieve its restoration vision:

Area of interest

That portion of the Canadian Southern Rocky Mountain Trench, from Radium Hot Springs to the US border, which is classified as a fire-maintained ecosystem.

History

The Trench Society coalition was formed as a vehicle for public stewardship of the low-elevation dry forests and grasslands of the Rocky Mountain Trench.

The Society grew out of the East Kootenay Trench Agriculture/Wildlife Committee (EKTAWC), a multi-stakeholder group established in 1990 by the British Columbia government to resolve Crown range conflicts between agriculture and wildlife. The EKTAWC’s final report (1997) identified ecosystem restoration as the solution to these longstanding conflicts. Using scientific research commissioned by the Committee, the final report said forage had to be increased on Crown range if the needs of agriculture and wildlife were to be met and biodiversity of other species maintained. The way to increase forage production was to remove forest ingrowth from the grasslands and open forests of the Trench. Forest ingrowth, the result of 60 years of fire suppression, makes grasslands forest-like and converts open forests to dense stands of unproductive, often unhealthy trees.

The Trench Society is a member of the multi-sectoral Rocky Mountain Trench Ecosystem Restoration Program and sits on the program’s Steering and Operations Committees.

The Society is a member of the Grasslands Conservation Council of British Columbia.