The Okanagan Similkameen Stewardship Society (OSSS) is partnering with the Okanagan Crush Pad Winery to restore seven acres of creekside forest and floodplain habitat along Eneas creek.
The lakes of the Okanagan belie the scarcity of water in the hot, dry climate. The lakes and rivers attract not just tourists to the valley, Okanagan wildlife also head towards water on hot days. Eighty-five per cent of Okanagan species depend on wetlands or the forested margins along water courses as part of their habitat.
When Okanagan Crush Pad Winery owners Steve Lornie and Christine Coletta purchased Garnet Valley Ranch as future vineyard land, they saw the potential for giving back to the environment. The property included a large hayfield beside Eneas creek, and they loved the idea of returning it to nature.
With the help of the OSSS, they have already planted well over a thousand native plants. This October, together with the OSSS, they are planting almost 2000 more native trees and shrubs.
The public is invited October 13 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. to help restore this vital and endangered ecosystem. Drop by for any portion of the day with closed-toe shoes, gardening gloves and a shovel. Snacks and light refreshments will be provided.
Over 75 per cent of riparian habitats have been lost to development and channelization of water sources. These habitats are crucial to species at risk like the western screech-owl, yellow breasted chat, and Lewis’s woodpecker. Forests along the edges of water courses and water bodies help to provide shade and keep it cooler during the hot summer months, a necessity for fish like salmon that often breed in these waters.
Funding for this project has been provided by the South Okanagan Conservation Fund, Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation, and Environment Canada’s National Wetland Conservation Fund.
Okanagan Similkameen Stewardship is a local non-profit environmental charity that supports voluntary conservation, stewardship and restoration of important habitats within the Okanagan and Similkameen valleys. For more information, please visit www.osstewardship.ca.
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