The Southern Interior Land Trust has purchased the 16.6-hectare (41-acre) Bourguiba Spring property on Highway 3, three kilometres southeast of Osoyoos.
Achieving this goal in just a few months is due to the support of a variety of donors, including the South Okanagan Conservation Fund, the Wild Sheep Society of BC, the BC Conservation Foundation, the Okanagan-Similkameen Parks Society, the B.C. Parks Foundation, the Government of Canada through the Natural Heritage Conservation Program, part of Canada’s Nature Fund, and dozens of non-profits, companies and individuals who donated what they could.
The Bourguiba Spring property is a steep, south-facing grassland with rock outcroppings above a ravine that protects a groundwater spring—the source of Bourguiba Creek, which flows into Haynes Creek, a tributary of Osoyoos Lake.
Its steep slopes of sagebrush, bunchgrass, and scattered pines are home to California bighorn sheep, provide spring range for mule deer, and habitat for many species-at-risk, such as badger (endangered), rattlesnake (threatened), screech owl (threatened), and half-moon Hairstreak (endangered).
Conservation of this habitat protects valuable undeveloped land for wildlife in a rapidly developing area as well as offering opportunities for the public to enjoy birding, hiking and other outdoor activities in a natural setting with panoramic views.
SILT President Judie Steeves commented, “This is a beautiful piece of natural Okanagan landscape, where the aroma of sage and pinesap remind me of my childhood growing up in this valley. I’ve been sad to see so many of these natural features paved and built over in my lifetime and it’s very rewarding for me personally to participate in conserving a site where delicate mariposa lilies bend in the breeze, and I can hear the meadowlark’s melody.”
She thanked everyone who pulled together to help SILT purchase the property in such a short timeframe.
The twin crises of climate change and biodiversity loss are two sides of the same coin, and we must tackle them together. By working with partners such as The Southern Interior Land Trust and generous donors, we are helping to protect the natural environment in British Columbia and across the country. Protecting lands plays a vital role in helping to halt and reverse biodiversity loss and contributes to the recovery of species at risk. Through programs like the Natural Heritage Conservation Program, the Government of Canada is making progress toward its goal of conserving a quarter of lands and oceans in Canada by 2025, working toward 30 percent of each by 2030
– The Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change
The Wild Sheep Society of BC is incredibly grateful to support this important land purchase which will help sustain wild sheep on the Okanagan landscape. We are thankful SILT has offered us this opportunity to be part of another land acquisition and support BC’s wild sheep.
– Kyle Stelter, Chief Executive Officer, Wild Sheep Society of BC
The Okanagan Similkameen Parks Society takes great pride in contributing to SILT’s acquisition of’ Lot 16 near Osoyoos. We feel that the lot, with its spring and diverse plant and animal life, provides much needed large animal connectivity and protection for larger wildlife in the area. We hope that, as a model of cooperation, Lot 16 is only an initial project of this sort in the southern interior.
– Ian Graham, President OSPS
Bourguiba Spring is just one of many properties SILT either owns, or which SILT has helped to acquire for other conservation organizations in the Southern Interior of B.C.
With the support of the public and their donations, SILT can continue to be responsive to seizing opportunities to conserve other important habitats as they come available. To donate, go to SILT’s website: siltrust.ca/donate. SILT wishes to thank the following organizations and individuals for their generous donations towards the acquisition of the Bourguiba Spring Property:
SILT is a registered not-for-profit charitable organization dedicated to conserving land for wildlife and other living things. In particular, SILT has worked for more than 30 years with a focus on securing gems of habitat as stepping-stones that allow wildlife to move through landscapes impacted by human development or activities.
For media enquiries: SILT Executive Director Al Peatt: 250-328-4699