In November 2020, SILT acquired an additional 35 hectares (86 acres) of grassland habitat east of Grand Forks on Morrissey Creek Road, adjacent to its other DL492 property. This additional land secures and provides even more 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.
District Lot 492 just east of Grand Forks, BC. DL 492 is 109 hectares (270 acres) of open, rolling grassland interspersed with patches of trembling aspen and rose. The property is a low-elevation grassland adjacent to provincially designated bighorn sheep winter range and lies between two other conservation properties that provide secure travel corridors to higher elevation habitats.
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.
In 1991, the ORWHFS purchased Edwards Pond, a former oxbow of the Kettle River located in Grand Forks. This is a 50-acre property that supports a variety of species, including an abundant population of Western Painted Turtles, which are a species of special concern in interior British Columbia.