SILT Meadowlark Festival – Cold Creek Property Tour Sold Out

SILT hosted a sold out walk and talk tour of its Cold Creek conservation property near Keremeos on May 18th. The tour, in support of the Meadowlark Nature Festival, attracted 20 participants of all ages. SILT President Ross Everatt, outdoors writer Judie Steeves, cottonwood expert Kasey Moran and wildlife biologist Al Peatt led the tour of SILT’s 20-hectare Cold Creek property where over 200 plant and animal species occur. The Cold Creek property is a wildlife corridor that fronts the Similkameen River and extends from an intact cottonwood stand through dry shrub-steppe to steep cliffs, and includes a spring-fed year-round stream.

SILT appreciates and thanks the Meadowlark Nature Festival and everyone who came out with us to Cold Creek; we made new friends, had many engaging conversations and enjoyed a great walk.

You can help SILT conserve other gems of habitat for all living things through your donation of cash or land by clicking on this link.

Tour Group 1

Picture 1 of 9

Photos – courtesy Judie Steeves

Ensuring Species Survival

“Without LightHawk’s help…” is a universal response we receive from passengers, and a description of incredible conservation outcomes that wouldn’t have been possible otherwise.

This fall, LightHawk partnered with the Southern Interior Land Trust (SILT), a Canadian nonprofit that works to acquire fish and wildlife habitats for habitat connectivity in British Columbia. SILT facilitates research on how lynx and bobcats move across landscapes straddling the Canada and the US border. In Washington, lynx are state-listed as endangered, while in British Columbia, they’re commercially harvested for fur. Collecting lynx and bobcat movement data is critical to improving how the cats are managed on both sides of the border, and to prioritize migration corridors to help lynx populations recover in Washington. Bobcats share summer habitat with lynx, and knowing how lynx interact with bobcats will help managers in both countries protect habitat effectively for both species.

Quickly collecting the collars and the precious movement data they contain is paramount— if winter hits before the collars are located the batteries would die and the data would be lost.

OUTCOME: With Volunteer Pilot Dave Riffle’s expert aerial backcountry navigating skills, SILT was able to pinpoint the collar locations, two of which would have likely never have been recovered otherwise due to their remote location.

Without LightHawk, our partners would have to track down the cats’ radio collars on foot and snowmobile over rugged terrain, an extremely difficult, time consuming and potentially dangerous job.

“It is very gratifying to feel that I am making a difference right here, right now.”

LightHawk’s Volunteer Pilots bring incredible dedicaton to conservation. Making an impact “is the greatest reward of my work with LightHawk. When we are flying missions, it is very gratifying to feel that I am making a difference right here, right now,” writes lynx mission pilot, Dave Riffle, who joined LightHawk in 2017. His dedication goes beyond flight. “SILT Executive Director, Al Peatt, and I became good friends after our LightHawk mission. He extended an invitation following the flight to join the effort to live trap, tranquilize and collar new lynx during the winter. i joined SILT’s team to ride out in a snowmobile for the daily “trap” check. Helping to collar a lynx, to feel the warmth of its fur despite the -5ºF temps, gave me a new perspective on the importance of protecting habitat and wildlife migration corridors between our two countries,” said Riffle.

SILT wishes to thank Lighthawk for their incredible contribution to this successful project. Read Lighthawk’s full Annual Report. Their work towards conservation is incredible.

Love Your Lakes Comes to British Columbia

LYL

Free Shoreline Assessment Program “Love Your Lake” is coming to the Okanagan this year!

The Southern Interior Land Trust (SILT) has, for over 30 years, worked in the southern interior of British Columbia to protect and preserve habitat for all living things. Natural lake shorelines, with their ribbon of native plants benefit wildlife and animal movement; protect properties from flood and erosion; and support ecological processes essential to clean, drinkable, swimmable, fishable water. Purchasing lakeshore for conservation is prohibitively expensive, so SILT is exploring other ways to spark widespread voluntary care of lakeshores to benefit all living things, including people.

SILT has partnered with Watersheds Canada and the Canadian Wildlife Federation to pilot the highly successful Love Your Lake (LYL) program for the first time in British Columbia, at Vaseux Lake and along the shore of Okanagan Lake in the District of Summerland. The LYL project will provide lakeshore landowners with a free, personalized and private evaluation of their shoreline, with specific actions for how to voluntarily protect and re-vitalize the shoreline to improve lake health while still maintaining their waterfront view.

Shoreline property owners will receive information about the program including an introductory letter and a values survey. Shorelines will be assessed by boat on a property-by-property basis by trained people using a standardized protocol and datasheet. Following the assessments, each shoreline property owner will receive another letter, typically in the spring, with a personal online access code needed to download their free report. The report will contain information about the state of their unique shoreline and suggestions of voluntary actions they can take, specifically tailored to their shoreline, to improve the health of their shoreline. Lake organizations and project partners will receive a lake summary report which generalizes the data over the entire assessed area and identifies community stewardship opportunities applicable to the entire lake shoreline.

All information contained in the individual shoreline property reports and lake summary reports is non-regulatory. All organizations involved in the LYL program take privacy issues very seriously.

This year, SILT will also be supporting the creation of up to three public shoreline restoration demonstration sites in various areas where landowners and others can see how lakeshore restoration works. SILT and the LYL program hope that both aspects of the project will continue in future years on other lakes. Funding and in-kind support for the LYL project has been provided by the South Okanagan Conservation Fund, the LYL Program, SILT, local government and other contributors.

Here is the link to the Love Your Lake program: www.LoveYourLake.ca

Border Patrol — For Wildcats

LightHawk tracks lynx and bobcats from the sky!

A radio-collared bobcat awaits its release back into the wild. The radio collar records the cat’s location, which provides valuable data on how it moves through the landscape.
Arthur Scully, PhD candidate, Trent University Center


Cats never follow the rules, and neither do their wildcat cousins! The border between Canada and the US doesn’t stop a lynx or bobcat, but it can mean life or death for these wild predators. In Washington, lynx are state-listed as endangered, while in British Columbia, they’re commercially harvested for fur. LightHawk flew internationally to help Southern Interior Land Trust scientists collect data on how lynx and bobcat move across the landscape. Knowing this is critical to improve how the cats are managed on both sides of the border, and to prioritize migration corridors for protection.

Volunteer Pilot David Riffle helped the team track the cats from the air, and find radio collars that had dropped off the lynx and bobcats. The collars contain all the cats’ movement data, and without LightHawk’s help, two of the located collars would likely never be recovered due to their remote location. Aerial expediency was key — if winter hit before the collars were located, the batteries would have died and the data would have been lost.Thanks to your generosity, we’re helping wildcats and scientists on both sides of the border!

Remembering Rick Simpson

RICHARD (RICK) LARKE SIMPSON…..12/4/1944 – 02/2/2019


After nearly a decade on the board of the Southern Interior Land Trust, most recently as vice-president, avid conservationist Rick Simpson of Kelowna passed away Feb. 2 of cancer.
For health reasons, he had resigned from the board last year.

Rick had a particular interest in conservation of habitat for fish and had devoted his spare time and his energy for more than four decades in various areas of the province, and provincially, to helping to improve survival rates for spawning salmon and kokanee.

At the same time, he focussed on mentoring and educating young people so there would be passionate new anglers to appreciate the natural world and work to follow in his footsteps.
He also volunteered with fish and game clubs, the B.C. Wildlife Federation, Fishing Forever, the regional environmental advisory commission, and was on the Okanagan Salmon Community Initiative, part of an Okanagan Nation Alliance project to re-introduce salmon to the Okanagan. He was outspoken on environmental issues in his community.

Networking and promoting collaboration between different sectors of a community was a mantra of his, and he involved all sectors of the community, from industry to civic authorities to volunteers and the general public in habitat conservation causes.

Rick will be greatly missed, and the board and members of the Southern Interior Land Trust express our sadness and condolences to the Simpson family. He is survived by his partner of over 15 years Gael Russell, his son Richard Kemp Simpson, his daughter Kelly Suzanne Simpson, the mother of his children Grace Bartel, his brother Jeffery Simpson and his sister Victoria Nuttall.

Rick Simpson Obituary

R.E. Taylor Conservation Property

For Immediate Release

The Southern Interior Land Trust (SILT) has purchased 4.9 hectares (12 acres) of seasonally-flooded mature water birch forest, on the banks of Keremeos Creek near Olalla, between Penticton and Keremeos.

The property is a gem of intact streamside Water Birch forest, one of very few remaining in the Okanagan-Similkameen. It provides habitat for at least five federally-listed species at risk, including the Yellow-breasted Chat, Western Screech Owl and Lewis’s Woodpecker. It is also good habitat for deer, bear, bobcat and badger that travel across the valley, and for rainbow trout in the creek. 

The property will be known as the R.E. Taylor Conservation Property, in honour of Ron Taylor of Winfield, BC, whose dedication and commitment to wildlife conservation in BC has spanned more than half a century. Ron helped to create SILT over 30 years ago, served as its President for many years, and has been on the Board of Directors since the society was formed in 1988.     

SILT is a volunteer-run, not-for-profit charity dedicated to conserving land for all living things. SILT works to acquire those gems and jewels of wildlife habitat that act as “stepping-stones” for animal movement through developed areas.

SILT believes that maintaining public access to its conservation lands rewards and further engages the people that support and benefit from habitat conservation. SILT thanks everyone who donates to support SILT’s work. SILT also recognizes the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation (HCTF) and the hunters, trappers, guides and anglers that contribute to the HCTF through their licence fees, for making a significant financial contribution to the R.E. Taylor Conservation Property purchase. 

“The HCTF is very pleased to contribute to the purchase of this property to protect some very rare undisturbed valley bottom habitat in the Okanagan,” says HCTF CEO Brian Springinotic. Though the Foundation was not aware of SILT’s plan to name the property after Ron Taylor when it decided to support the project, Springinotic says it’s a fitting tribute. “Naming this property after Ron is a fantastic way to recognize his many contributions to conservation in BC, including past participation on the HCTF Board of Directors.”      

Learn more and donate to support SILT at: www.siltrust.ca. Tax receipts will be issued for donations of cash, land or bequests.

NEWS MEDIA:

Direct questions and logo requests to Al Peatt, SILT Executive Director, at: 250-328-4699; or apeatt@siltrust.ca

SILT BioBlitz a Success

The Southern Interior Land Trust (SILT) held its first ever BioBlitz last month at its Cold Creek property near Keremeos. We had 17 attendees, including six national and provincial experts in plants, mosses, butterflies, bats and birds. More than 200 species were documented.

The information gathered will be used to help SILT plan for further long-term conservation of this remarkable land. We appreciate everyone who volunteered their time and experience and thank Telus and Argo Road Maintenance for supporting the event.
Our Cold Creek property is 20 hectares of Similkameen River frontage with mature cottonwood thickets extending through to sagebrush, dry cliffs and a year-round spring-fed creek. It is habitat for bighorn sheep, mountain goat, deer, rattlesnakes and falcons, to name just a few.

SILT owns four properties outright and is working on prospects in the Similkameen, Okanagan, West Kootenay and Thompson-Nicola areas. Tax receipts may be issued for donations of cash or land.

Click here to support SILT or email: apeatt@siltrust.ca

Cold Creek BioBlitz Planned

BioBlitz Canada

Hi everybody!!

First and foremost, I want to thank everyone that is planning to participate in our upcoming BioBlitz to be held on Saturday, June 2nd. It is going to be an excellent day of outdoor fun and species identification! The BioBlitz will run from 6:00 am until 11:00 pm. Download the Agenda

 

This will be a small BioBlitz consisting mostly of experts, generalists and participants that are keen on learning and developing their ID skills!! We look forward to seeing you all there!

 

Each of the organizers will be present on the property for the day and will be happy to assist you in any way possible!!

Getting to the property:

Cold Creek is located ~9kms west of Keremeos on Highway 3.
We will have “SILT BIOBLITZ” signs posted on the highway from both directions to help you find us.
Below, is a link to a google maps point so you can use GPS if you desire
https://goo.gl/maps/69vZTfqDr

Parking for the event will be in the pullout section on the side of the highway. Signs will be posted to help guide you to the parking area.

Once you Arrive:

We ask that you register when you arrive and collect your species ID report cards.
Once registered, you are free to go about the property and ID…ID…ID!

You are welcome to stay as long as you like and to participate in identifying as many species as you like!

Meals will be provided to the participants who are present at those times
Attached is the preferred “Schedule of Events”

Experts are welcome to come whenever, and stay for as long as you like.  We do however ask that you are present during your allotted time in order for less experienced participants to have you around while they are working & learning!

Accommodations:

If anyone is in need of places to stay, there are camp sites, motels and hotels within reasonable distance from the property. Email me directly for suggestions. 

Materials & Equipment:

As SILT is not a science-based organization, we have limited equipment and therefore ask that if you are able, please bring your own equipment for your own use:

  • Binoculars
  • Butterfly nets
  • Traps
  • Field guides
  • GPS

etc.

General Things to Bring:

  • ID materials (ID books, keys, hand lenses etc)
  • Clip Board
  • Water bottle- refill station available
  • Snacks
  • Sunscreen
  • Hat
  • Other sun protective gear

 

If you have any more questions or concerns, please feel free to email, text or call me by responding to this email address carlymariescott@gmail.com, or reaching me at 613-340-5722.

 

We look forward to seeing you all there!!
Warmest regards,

Carly Scott

Cold Creek

SILT Hires Executive Director

Al Peatt

Professional Biologist Al Peatt has been retained by the Southern Interior Land Trust as its executive director — a new direction for the 29-year-old volunteer-run organization — effective June 1st.

Peatt was one of the founding directors of the society, so this brings him full-circle.

Most recently, he was senior wildlife biologist for the Okanagan Nation Alliance and prior to that he worked for the B.C. Ministry of Environment in the Southern Interior through the 1980s and 1990s.

He was recently awarded a Fellow in Association of Professional Biology, one of only a few in B.C., by the Association of Professional Biology. This designation is reserved for members that stand as role models and bring distinction to the profession with inspiration and mentorship to other members.

With this newly-created position, Peatt will work to rejuvenate and raise the profile of the SILT, which currently owns four conservation properties: Ginty’s Pond in Cawston, Cold Creek near Keremeos, and Edwards Pond and Wards Lake at Grand Forks.

SILT has also assisted in acquiring such properties as Rose Valley Regional Park, a Swan Lake wetland, productive spawning habitat on Christina Lake and vital bighorn sheep habitat on the east side of Skaha Lake.

Peatt was a key participant in several of SILT’s original acquisitions and is excited to bring his many years of experience in land securement and wildlife habitat management to the organization’s new role.

The Southern Interior Land Trust also helps to administer projects such as the Okanagan River Restoration Initiative, Ellis Creek re-naturalization and Mission Creek Restoration in collaboration with a number of other non-government organizations, governments and conservation groups.

SILT’s primary emphasis is to acquire local gems of productive wildlife and fish habitat that provide valuable linkages to other larger-scale habitats and conservation areas.

“With this step forward, SILT will renew its purpose to protect sensitive fish and wildlife habitat for all living things in the B.C. southern interior, including people” said SILT President Ross Everatt. “We are excited to continue and expand SILT’s long history of habitat securement. It’s all good!”

Learn more about the SILT from the website at: www.siltrust.ca

If you are interested in learning more about the organization; becoming involved in its work; donating or bequeathing land or money for conservation, call/text Al Peatt at: (250) 328-4699 or email apeatt@siltrust.ca

Media enquiries:

SILT President Ross Everatt (250)- 499-9840

SILT Board Elected for 2017

The SILT elected a new Board of Directors at its AGM held on March 18, 2017.

President: Ross Everatt

Vice President: Rick Simpson

Secretary: Judie Steeves

Treasurer: Gordon Wilson

Directors: Joan Lindsay; Bill Bosch.

President Emeritus: Ron Taylor