Columbia Wetlands - Visitor Use information

The Columbia Wetlands Wildlife Management Area was established for the conservation and management of fish and wildlife habitats and landscape connectivity so that the Columbia River Wetlands continues to function as a natural floodplain ecosystem.

Area Restrictions

Motorized access area restrictions are in place to minimize environmental impacts to wetland habitats and the native flora and fauna from motorcycles, all-terrain vehicles, jetskis, speedboats, snowmobiles, hovercraft, drones, and other motorized conveyances traveling at high speed or making loud noises. Human use may cause: abandonment of nests, harassment of wildlife, increased predation from frequent leaving of nets and predation of young due to disruption/dispersal of family groups, egg breakage as a result of rapid flight from nests, flooding of nests from boat wakes, destruction of emergent vegetation, bank erosion and siltation from wakes resulting in increased sedimentation which destroys food values.

In order to maintain and preserve the wetlands and consistent with the primary intent of the WMA designation, access by motorized conveyances is restricted. Under Section 7 (4) of the Wildlife Act no person may enter the Wildlife Management Area with a conveyance of any description which is powered by a motor which exceeds a rating of 20 horsepower.  

Boating Restrictions

  1. Motorized vessels are limited to 20 hp (15 kw) or less on the main channel of the Columbia River.
  2. No motorized water craft are permitted in the side channels, ponds or wetlands.
  3. No towing or wakeboarding is permitted in the wetlands or on the main channel of the river.

Boating Restrictions sign

Threats to the Columbia Wetlands Wildlife Management Area

Since the Columbia Wetlands Wildlife Management Area (CWWMA) was established in 1996, land use and levels recreation have changed substantially. Higher level of use are impacting wetland habitats and management actions are required to ensure the integrity of the wetlands and protect the natural condition into the long-term.

Threat Description
Access Cross-valley roads and bridges are the most frequently-utilized locations for accessing the wetlands and launching onto the mainstem Columbia River.  This threat also includes unauthorized mountain bike trails.   The infrastructure and its use fragment the WMA, degrade habitats, displace wildlife and cause noise disturbance.  Access also leads to the establishment of invasive species.
Cumulative effects and climate change Consideration of effects which may individually be minor but collectively impose significant impacts on the CWWMA. Climate change threatens to impact long-term water quality and quantity in the wetlands, and alter habitat types.
Forest ingrowth and encroachment Forest ingrowth and encroachment have diminished the amount, health, vigour and structure of the upland-open and the upland-forested habitat zones.
Habitat loss/changes, including forest health Examples include sediment infilling, loss of mature cottonwoods, loss of browse and beetle infestations.
Human-caused disturbance Wide-ranging activities including recreation, water use, forestry, agriculture, train derailment and spills from transport trucks.
Impact to species at risk and critical habitat Use of CWWMA that does not align with recovery strategies.
Invasive species Invasive plants are established on the upland-open habitat zone and have reduced the health, vigour and distribution of desirable native plants.  Invasive plants are not known in the open water habitat zone.  Yellow flag iris has recently been reported and, if uncontrolled, will impact the wetland and meadow habitat zones in the WMA.  Other invasive plants pose a threat to the natural values of all habitat zones in the WMA.  Similarly, invasive animals, e.g., American bullfrog and mussels, are not known but pose a threat to the natural values of the WMA.

For more information about the Columbia Wetlands, visit the Columbia Wetlands Stewardship Partners site.