Whipsaw Creek Ecological Reserve Purpose Statement, 2007

Posted February 7, 2007 | Categories : 27,Management,Rare Species,Reports |

Background Summary

The Whipsaw Creek Ecological Reserve (ER # 27) is located just west of Highway 3 about 10 km south of Princeton. The surrounding lands have been selectively logged and beetle infested trees have been removed. Lands adjacent to Ecological Reserve # 27 are grazed by livestock but the Whipsaw Creek Ecological Reserve is completely fenced.

See the full PDF, including a map at: whipsaw_crk_er_ps

The Ecological Reserve encompasses both north- and south-facing slopes. There are variations in aspect and soil texture which result in plant communities ranging from open grassland to fairly dense forest. The grasslands are dominated by big basin sagebrush and Sandberg’s bluegrass. Other flora include sagebrush buttercup, western spring beauty and arrow-leaved balsam-root. The upper south-facing slope supports stands of ponderosa pine and Douglas-fir with big sage and bluebunch wheatgrass. The crest of the ridge supports vegetation transitional between the south and north slopes such as ponderosa pine and pinegrass. On the north slope of the ridge, the forest is made up almost entirely of Douglas fir and pinegrass. Ungulates found in the Ecological Reserve include elk and mule deer. Mountain blue birds, Townsend’s solitaire, Williamson’s sapsuckers (red-listed) and blue grouse are a few of the bird species found here. It contains fern fossils and has the potential to support white western groundsel (Senecio integerrimus var. ochroleucus).

Research has been carried out over the years by The University of British Columbia, including climate and the effects of substrate quality on the nitrogen dynamics of forest floors.

Primary Role

The Ecological Reserve was created for the purpose of maintaining a representative stand of ponderosa pine and Douglas-fir in the dry subzone of the Interior Douglas-fir biogeoclimatic zone (IDF).


Protected Area Values and Significance Summary Matrix

Representation Ecosection:Hozameen Range (HOR)- contributes only 0.03% to the protected areas system representation of this ecosection. 20.58% of the total ecosection area within the province

Biogeoclimatic subzone/variant:

IDF dk2- small contribution (0.04%) to the protected areas system representation of this subzone/variant. This subzone/variant is poorly represented (3%) in the protected area system.

IDF xh1- 0.18% contribution to the protected areas system representation of this subzone/variant. This subzone/variant is moderately represented (7%) in the protected area system.

williamson'sRare/Endangered Values: Williamson’s sapsucker (red-listed).

See : the Recovery Plan for the Williamson’s Sapsucker
(Sphyrapicus thyroideus) on Crown Lands  in British Columbia 

Scientific/Research Opportunities: Nitrogen cycling; use of forest fragment by rare species; monitor climate change on south and north slopes; monitor effects of mountain pine beetle.

Vulnerability:  The Whipsaw Creek Ecological Reserve’s isolation from other protected areas, its adjacent land uses, small size and lack of ecological boundaries makes it vulnerable to threats.

Area: 32.4 hectares

Date of establishment: July 29, 1971

Management Issues

Known Management Issues


Occasional forest blow-down across the fence allows cattle to enter the Ecological Reserve.

Weeds on adjacent lands spread into the Ecological Reserve and affects the functioning of its ecosystem.

Only limited information is available on plant species and communities.

Forest in-growth could have an impact on the natural ecosystem.

The recent high levels of mountain pine beetle and western pine beetle attack in areas adjacent to the ecological reserve may have a significant impact on the ponderosa pine in the Ecological Reserve.

Repair when required. Seek the assistance of the rancher to identify downed fencing.

Work with Ministry of Forests and Range and the rancher to control the spread of weeds in the area.

Undertake an inventory of the Ecological Reserve.

In consultation with the Ministry of Forests and Range assess the potential to use prescribed fire to control the in-growth and undertake action if feasible.

Monitor the affect of impacts on the Ecological Reserve. Encourage scientific research about these beetle attacks using this ecological reserve a long-term natural study area.