Sickle Point, south of Penticton on Skaha Lake, must be conserved for its value as wildlife habitat. It has the highest conservation ranking (Class 1) by the Southern Okanagan Similkameen Biodiversity Conservation Strategy (Keeping Nature in Our Future).
Sickle Point’s water birch and wild rose communities support endangered wildlife such as the Yellow-breasted Chat, Lewis’s Woodpecker, Western Rattlesnake and Pallid Bat. Sickle Point is part of the seasonal path for resident and migrant wildlife, including the American White Pelican and Sandhill Crane.
The Southern Interior Land Trust supports the Save Sickle Point Committee in its effort to raise funds for the purchase of this valuable conservation property. Read more about Sickle Point and how you can help by visiting the Save Sickle Point Website.
Photo Credit: David Mai
The aim of this project was to remove and clean up debris piles at the entrance of SILT’s Taylor property, the debris consisted of concrete scraps and abandoned water main fittings encased in concrete. As the existing material held some wildlife habitat quality, it provided an opportunity for a habitat enhancement project to support species at risk.
This project included building an overwintering den habitat for snakes, the targeted species include: Northern Rubber Boa and Gartersnakes, as well as other reptiles that reside in the area. This project was scheduled in late fall to avoid potential harm to reptiles and nesting birds.
A big thanks to SILT’s executive director and biologist Al Peatt and his assistant biologist Lindsay Lalach for a terrific effort in planning and executing this project and also to the SILT board volunteers for coming out to help with the work.
A further 35 hectares (86 acres) of grassland habitat two kilometres east of Grand Forks on Morrissey Creek Road has been purchased for wildlife conservation by the Southern Interior Land Trust (SILT).
Purchase of these open, south-facing bunchgrass slopes with patches of deciduous shrub thickets provide habitat for a number of species, including year-round use by the Gilpin Herd of California bighorn sheep, 200-300 animals, including all ages, for its forage and security habitat.
Funds for the purchase included donations from the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation, B.C. Conservation Foundation, Tom and Jenifer Foss, the Wild Sheep Society of B.C., Wild Sheep Foundation Alberta, other individual donors, and the Government of Canada through its Natural Heritage Conservation Program.
An adjacent 109 hectares (270 acres) was purchased earlier this year by SILT, with support from the Walter Mehmal Family, and contributions from the B.C. Conservation Foundation, the Brandow Family, the Wild Sheep Society of B.C., the Grand Forks Wildlife Association, and other donors.
SILT is a volunteer-run, not-for-profit charity dedicated to conserving land for all living things.
President Judie Steeves comments, “We’re delighted we’ve been successful in our collaboration with so many different interest groups and individuals to conserve these two properties. Now we need to work with the local community to prevent motorized use of these grasslands, so they are not destroyed for use by wildlife. Otherwise, the public is welcome to hike over and enjoy the scenic wild beauty of this land.
“As well as wild sheep, there are both mule and white-tailed deer; rattlesnake, gophersnake and racer; and birds such as canyon wren which I recently spotted there. An endangered badger was sighted on the property this past August. Both properties have habitat for at least six federally-listed species-at-risk.”
We are proud to once again be a partner in this project that leaves a conservation legacy that will forever be upon the landscape. Resources like this will ensure that future generations have the opportunity to see untouched wild spaces in perpetuity…..Kyle Stelter, past-president of the Wild Sheep Society of B.C.
A shout out to the conservation-minded people, the hunters, the non-hunters and the organizations that made all of this possible. SILT and this acquisition are examples of how we can pull together even in these very tough times…..Calgary’s – Tom Foss of the Foss Foundation
The BCCF is pleased to be able to support the SILT acquisition of land for protection of important bighorn sheep and mule deer habitat, as well as other species…..Gerry Paillie of the BCCF Land and Wildlife Committee
SILT owns two other properties in the Grand Forks area, Edwards Pond and at Wards Lake, as well as properties at Keremeos, Cawston, and the R.E. Taylor Conservation Property on Keremeos Creek near Olalla.
SILT welcomes enquiries from people interested in gifting land, or from anyone wishing to donate to help conserve lands containing important natural features. For details, go to the SILT website at: siltrust.ca
Badgers are carnivorous mammals that live in the grasslands and dry forests of the interior of British Columbia. Even though we live with badgers, not many people are fortunate enough to see one because badgers generally move around at night and are secretive by nature.
Badgers are endangered in British Columbia and it is believed that probably less than 350 badgers live here now. The grasslands and dry forests of the Thompson, Okanagan, Boundary, Nicola, Cariboo, and East Kootenay regions are home to most of the remaining badgers in BC.
Habitat loss, through housing developments and intensive agriculture, and deaths caused by road mortality, shooting, and poisoning are contributors to the decline of badger populations in BC.