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.

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!

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

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

ONA and ORWHFS Partner on ORRI Habitat Rehabilitation

ORWHFS has partnered with The Okanagan Nation Alliance (ONA) to administer HSP funds for use in habitat rehabilitation for species at risk. The work will primarily be conducted along the Okanagan River Channel that was reclaimed through the ORRI Phase-1 project.

The work being carried out by ONA is critical to the Okanagan River ecosystem and is being funded through the Habitat Stewardship Program.