HASH(0xb4bcc0)

HASH(0xb4bcc0)

B.C. wetlands grow with land purchase by conservation groups

B.C. birding area grows with conservancy purchase

OLIVER, B.C. — A parcel of land in a birder’s paradise in British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley has been secured by the Nature Conservancy of Canada.

The 36.4 hectare property is located in an expanse of wetland near the Okanagan River and is an important acquisition because so much of the valley bottom has been lost to development and agriculture, said Barb Pryce, the southern Interior program director with the conservancy.

“Finding a parcel that’s 90 acres in size is quite a rarity in the south Okanagan and that’s why it’s so important,” she said.

Less than 15 per cent of the valley bottom remains wetlands.

Bird watchers from around the world come to see the diversity of birds that use the area for breeding, nesting, hunting and as a migration stopover.

The long-billed curlew, yellow-breasted chat and bobolink, all designated as species at risk in Canada, are found in the area.

“Some of the birds in the area are in decline, so anything we can do to support their population levels is really important.”

Pryce said part of the farmland will remain in hay production because the dapper-looking bobolink songbird uses the grassland as a breeding ground. The males are black and white and have a straw coloured head.

Grasslands are rare and cover less than one per cent in the province, she noted.

Pryce said the conservancy and Ducks Unlimited Canada, which co-owns the land, will start a restoration program on the property soon. 

The land is criss-crossed with old oxbows, or wetland channels, that have been cut off from the Okanagan River since the river was straightened in the 1950s to control flooding.

“You can see them from Google imagery. We’ll likely be excavating those parts of the land,” she said, adding that they will plant vegetation natural to the area, such as cottonwood, dogwood and willow trees.

The groups don’t plan to link the oxbows back to the Okanagan River itself. Pryce said they dug out the channels on a similar restoration project just south of the property and within minutes water was rising out of the oxbows and the next day they were full.

“A day or two after that we had waterfowl swimming on these places. It’s really amazing how nature wants to revert back to its natural condition.”

That area, not far from the Canada-U.S. border is a flood plain, and before people moved at the turn of the last century the area was mostly marshland, she said.

A conservancy news release says rebuilding the wetland areas will allow for other species to move in, such as the western painted turtle or the blotched tiger salamander, which is also a species at risk in Canada.

— By Terri Theodore in Vancouver.

The Canadian Press

Canadian Press

Just Posted

The RCMP presence in Central Okanagan public schools is being reviewed by the board of education. (File photo)
RCMP presence welcomed in Central Okanagan public schools

Staff survey feedback overwhelmingly positive from students, staff and parents

The administrative headquarters for the Central Okanagan Public Schools. (File photo)
COVID-19 exposures confirmed at 2 Central Okanagan Schools

The infected individuals are self-isolating at home

Farming Karma is set to release a line of fruit vodka sodas soon. (Twila Amato/Black Press Media)
Kelowna fruit growers expanding line of beverages

Farming Karma is expanding from fruit sodas to fruit vodka sodas

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Jane Linden
KCR: Volunteering keeps you active

Kelowna Community Resources shares stories of its volunteers in a weekly column

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

Most Read