Habitat Stewardship in the Okanagan Basin, 2015-16

Final Report: Habitat Conservation in the Okanagan Basin, 2015-16

Goals and Objectives

The success of landowner contact and community conservation initiatives comes from building long-term, positive relationships with landowners. Habitat Stewardship in the Okanagan Basin builds on over 20 years of stewardship in the Okanagan and Similkameen valleys of BC.

The focus in this project is to continue to support key landowners in voluntary stewardship agreements and to provide them with information and technical assistance with managing wetland, riparian and associated upland habitats, while also working with communities to address conservation issues on a larger geographic scale.

This program’s objectives and activities include:

  1. Conserve habitats on private land and within communities that support native fish and wildlife in the Okanagan and Similkameen valleys of British Columbia.
    1. Support existing Wildlife Habitat Stewards and engage new landowners in these written management agreements.
    2. Engage communities in conservation of habitats in their geographic region.
  2. Restore and enhance habitats that support native fish and wildlife in the Okanagan and Similkameen valleys of British Columbia.
    1. Support landowners and community groups in development and maintenance of habitat enhancement projects including exclusion fencing, native plant re-vegetation and invasive plant management.
  3. Promote and engage private landowners and communities in environmental understanding and resource stewardship.

Specific Habitat Products/Results Supported by WHC’s Contributions

WHC’s contribution will focus on conserving, enhancing and managing wetland and riparian habitats with a focus on working with landowners towards developing and maintaining stewardship agreements (short-term securement) on private land and within communities of the Okanagan Basin.

Benefits to Waterfowl, Wetland-Associated Species, and/or Other Wildlife

This project continues to build support for conservation by communicating the value of waterfowl and wetland to land stewards and community groups of the Okanagan Basin. It also engages land owners and community groups in conservation of important waterfowl and wetland habitats on their properties and in their neighbourhoods.

Relevance to Habitat Planning, Decision Making and/or Management

Okanagan Similkameen Stewardship Society will contact local land owners and managers with waterfowl and wildlife habitats and assist them in developing management plans and agreements on each individual property.  They will then monitor each agreement and plan to ensure that key tasks are implemented in order to improve and enhance habitats. 

They also work with groups of landowners to take on a conservation project in their neighbourhood. They connect these stewardship groups to area directors and decision makers as required in order to meet the needs of each individual within the community.

Project Location

The project will be conducted in the Okanagan Basin of BC within wetland, riparian areas, lakes, grasslands, rugged terrain and open forest habitats.

The Okanagan Basin is an exceptional place, known for its varied landscapes wildlife diversity and rare plants and animals. Many of Canada’s most vulnerable species and ecosystems are found in the Okanagan and voluntary stewardship is key to “keeping nature in our future” in the Okanagan.  This region has long been recognized as one of Canada’s four most endangered ecosystems with nearly 90% of wetland and riparian habitats having been lost to channelization of the Okanagan River, and agricultural and urban development.

Project Contact

For more information on this project, please contact Alyson Skinner, Executive Director, Penticton, BC.