The protected land will maintain sensitive ecosystems and protect at-risk species

Nonprofit organization The Nature Trust of BC has announced that 151 acres (61 hectares) of land is being added to the White Lake Basin Biodiversity Ranch conservation complex in the South Okanagan, protecting the region for generations to come.

Known as the Park Rill Floodplain, this land is home to at-risk species such as the Lewis’s Woodpecker, which is losing its nesting habitat in Ponderosa Pine forests, as well as other birds including Peregrine Falcons and Western Screech Owls. It is also home to animals such as endangered American Badgers, Nuttall’s Cottontail, black bears, Mule Deer, Bighorn Sheep, and more.

The South Okanagan region hosts native grasslands that are home to an abundance of wildlife species, which is also one of B.C.’s rarest land cover types, covering only 1 percent of the province. This new protection will help to conserve these critical habitats and preserve the wildlife species that call the land home.

Park Rill Floodplain animalsNature Trust of BC“Through the ongoing support and generosity of our partners and donors, we are delighted that Park Rill Floodplain will be added to the White Lake Basin Biodiversity Ranch Complex. Park Rill Floodplain protects additional critical habitat for species at-risk and helps sustain a viable biodiversity ranching operation. Expanding this Nature Trust conservation complex will play a vital role in maintaining habitat connectivity and ecological resiliency,” comments Nick Burdock, Okanagan conservation land manager.

The Park Rill Floodplain contains six ecosystems that are considered sensitive: sagebrush steppe, open coniferous woodland, seasonally flooded fields, wet meadow, sparsely vegetated rocky outcrops, and importantly, grasslands. Expanding the protected area will maintain the wellbeing of these natural ecosystems and the animals that live within them.

“The diversity of species and habitats protected by this project exemplifies the importance of the native grasslands within the South Okanagan. The Nature Trust of BC has a sterling track record for protecting, managing and restoring these and other critical habitat types in B.C. For that reason, the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation is a proud funding partner of the Nature Trust and of our shared goals of conserving fish, wildlife and their habitats through the protection and conservation of BC’s natural landscapes,” says Dan Buffett, CEO of the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation.

This addition of protected land was made possible thanks to landowners and conservationists Ray and Jennifer Stewart, as well as the financial support of Environment Climate Change Canada, Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation, George Galbraith and Family, Val and Dick Bradshaw, and various individual donors.