SILT frequently inspects its properties to ensure they are in good condition and functioning as desired. Edwards Pond is a 50 acre wetland-cottonwood complex near Grand Forks. While it is in great shape we’re concerned about periodic trespass by off-roaders and have had reports of painted turtle needing safe crossing structures as they move to and from their surrounding habitats. Buying the land is not enough! Donations help SILT to keep Edwards Pond and our other conservation properties protected and productive forever. Please donate now!
This ear-tagged and radio-collared male bobcat appeared this week at a Heritage Hills residence south of Penticton. It is not the first time one of SILT’s research cats has spent time in this yard, which is in the heart of great bobcat habitat! SILT is facilitating a Phd study by Trent University looking at how bobcat and lynx interact and use their respective habitats. SILT is interested in where these cats move through the landscape as that information could help guide future habitat management and acquisition.
This cat’s collar was set to drop off last summer so the GPS movement data it contains could be recovered but for some reason the collar has failed to come off. SILT volunteers will continue to try to live capture the cat to remove the collar. If you see it, or any other ear-tagged bobcat or lynx, please call Ross Everatt at 250-499-9840. You can also help by supporting SILT’s work -follow the links on this page to make a tax-deductible donation!
SILT has purchased 109 hectares (270 acres) of open, rolling hills of bunchgrass interspersed with patches of trembling aspen-rose thickets located just east of Grand Forks. The property, known locally as DL 492, is year-round habitat for a herd of 200-300 California bighorn sheep. Rams and ewes of all ages use the land. It is also excellent winter and spring range for mule deer and white-tailed deer. Several species-at-risk occur, including rattlesnake, gophersnake, spadefoot toad, tiger salamander and badger.
This low-elevation grassland is significant for more reasons than its great diversity of wildlife. DL 492 lies within an ecosystem that extends only a short way into British Columbia from Washington State, forming a narrow band from Anarchist Summit east along the Kettle River to the Grand Forks basin.
Buying DL 492 for conservation was made possible by the family of the late Walter Mehmal; the BC Conservation Foundation Land for Wildlife Fund; the Brandow Family; the Wild Sheep Society of BC and its members; the Grand Forks Wildlife Association; and other donors and SILT supporters. If you believe the most rewarding investment for the future of wildlife is habitat acquisition and care, please donate to support SILT’s conservation work.
DL 492 has had a decades-long history of cattle grazing and uncontrolled trespass for off-road ATV use. This has caused some hillslope erosion and soil disturbance. To manage DL 492 for wildlife, SILT will work with its conservation partners, government, and local off-road and other interested groups to promote awareness, exclude cattle, restrict ATV use, and enhance the habitat value of the property.
SILT encourages non-mechanized public use of its lands for wildlife-related recreation and nature appreciation. We believe this rewards and engages people that support and benefit from habitat conservation, provided such use is safe, legal and protects the integrity of the land. SILT will conserve DL 492 in perpetuity, for all living things including people, and will never stray from that responsibility.
Substantial donations to SILT were provided by these and other donors
SILT has an agreement to purchase 109 hectares (270 acres) of rare grassland habitat near Grand Forks. We need to raise $117,000 this month! Please help create another lasting legacy for wildlife. Click here to DONATE. Every dollar matters! Donations are tax deductible.
DL 492 is open, rolling hills of bunchgrass interspersed with patches of trembling aspen-rose thickets. The property is year-round habitat for a healthy herd of 200-300 California bighorn sheep. Rams and ewes of all ages use the land. It is also excellent winter and spring range for mule deer and white-tailed deer. Several species-at-risk occur, including rattlesnake, gophersnake, spadefoot toad, tiger salamander and badger.
The Grand Forks (Gilpin) sheep herd has provided decades of first-class hunting and excellent wildlife viewing opportunities. Your donation will help ensure that undeveloped, productive habitat is protected forever. SILT welcomes and encourages non-mechanized public access for wildlife- and nature-related recreation on all its conservation properties. DONATE HERE
Volunteer President Ross Everatt has installed a replacement sign at SILT’s Ginty’s Pond at Cawston. The pond is valuable habitat for waterfowl, songbirds, painted turtle and other wildlife. The pond has also been a community gathering place, such as for ice-skating parties in winter. Ginty Cawston was a son of a local pioneer and owned the property; his family wanted the pond preserved in honour of Ginty’s love of nature and community. SILT acquired the property in 1991.
Last week, the BC Wildlife Federation Wetlands Team hosted a 2-day Wetlandkeepers community workshop focussed on Ginty’s Pond. SILT appreciates the support and interest of the community in keeping the pond productive and enjoyable — for all living things!
A young bobcat treated at the Kamloops Wildlife Park after she was hit by a car at Gallagher Lake was released near there on June 29. SILT radio-collared and ear-tagged the injured bobcat so that its adjustment back to the wild can be monitored. Knowing how this cat re-adapts to being wild, and where it chooses to go, will help SILT identify and acquire land that can remain as habitat for bobcat and other living things for all time. SILT collared several other bobcats in the area last winter as part of an ongoing research study.
Please report tagged bobcat! Call or text Ross Everatt at (250) 499-9840
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.
Photos – courtesy Judie Steeves
“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.
LightHawk tracks lynx and bobcats from the sky!
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!
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.
Direct questions and logo requests to Al Peatt, SILT Executive Director, at: 250-328-4699; or email@example.com