Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations

Lhá:lt/Harrison-Chehalis Wildlife Management Area

About This Wildlife Management Area

Date Designated: November 16th, 2016

General Location: North of Chilliwack, near Harrison Mills.

Size: approximately 1,033 hectares

Region: South Coast

General Area Description

The WMA contains the dynamic river channels and active floodplain delta associated with the Harrison and Chehalis rivers. It stretches from the Hwy 7 bridge over the Harrison River in the South up to the Morris Creek wetlands in the North. About 833 ha of the WMA proposal is comprised of Crown land and another 200 ha is made up of private conservation lands belonging to the Nature Trust of BC. The private conservation lands that are included in the proposed WMA are leased to the Crown for the purpose of conservation management. The province has been managing the Crown land in the area for fish and wildlife conservation purposes for the past 40 years through various Land Act designations.

Location and Maps

Nature and Culture

Fish and Wildlife Values

The Harrison Chehalis area contains some of the region’s most ecologically productive wetlands that help to support internationally significant fish and wildlife values.  The area provides critical wintering, migration and breeding habitats for salmon, trout, raptors, aquatic birds, amphibians, mammals, and other wildlife.  It is a core area of salmon abundance and diversity as it supports five species of Pacific salmon plus Steelhead.  The area also supports an internationally significant number of Bald Eagles and Trumpeter Swans.  It is also believed to provide spawning and rearing habitats for White Sturgeon which is a Red listed species in BC.  The Harrison system is internationally recognized as a Salmon Stronghold and an Important Bird Area.

Cultural Values

The WMA falls within the homelands of several First Nations and local communities.  These communities have long relied on the natural resources, biological productivity and special environmental features in the area to sustain their quality and way of life.  Local First Nations near to the WMA have expressed strong cultural values linked to the special environmental qualities found in the Lhá:lt/Harrison-Chehalis area.

Purpose of WMA Designation

In the 1990s, the province began exploring the idea of designating the Lhá:lt/Harrison-Chehalis wetlands as a Wildlife Management Area under the Wildlife Act. A WMA designation can provide a more effective management framework and some additional management tools for conserving the area’s internationally significant fish and wildlife values while also considering other compatible land use interests.

WMA Management Plan

In 1997, the province developed the Lhá:lt/Harrison-Chehalis WMA Management Plan for the purpose of further consultation on the proposed WMA. After consulting with First Nations, local governments, and other stakeholders, the province approved the plan in 2002. The plan provides contextual information and interim land management guidance for the site. It also identifies the conservation management goal, principles and objectives for the WMA. The plan may be considered for further public review to incorporate any new contextual information not captured in the current plan.

Management Plan: Lhá:lt/Harrison-Chehalis WMA Management Plan [PDF 2.2MB]

For Further Information

To learn more about Wildlife Management Areas please go to: