The Flathead River Valley is the last large unsettled low elevation valley in southern Canada. As a result, species like grizzly bears are able to use lush riparian areas (the zone where the river meets the land) that they have been displaced from almost everywhere else. The Flathead River is also home to a rich shifting mosaic floodplain that provides outstanding habitat for birds. The river has never been dammed and its banks have never been tampered with to prevent flooding. The Flathead's undeveloped state is due to the fact that Canada’s national railway line was built one valley to the north, through the Elk Valley, and because the soil and climate are not very suitable for agriculture.
“A unique community of carnivore species resides in the Transboundary flathead region that appears unmatched in North America for its variety, completeness, use of bottomlands, and density of species that are rare elsewhere.” - Dr. John Weaver.
“The “shifting habitat mosaic” mediates very high biodiversity and bioproduction. Indeed I hypothesize that the highest level of species diversity in the Rocky Mountains, if not the entire continent may occur in these floodplains.” - Dr. Jack Stanford.