The Southern Interior Land Trust has succeeded in purchasing the 16.6-hectare (41- acre) Bourguiba Spring property on Highway 3, three kilometres southeast of Osoyoos. (Submitted)

Southern Interior Land Trust buys 16.6 hectares near Osoyoos

Wildlife, including some endangered animals will now have permanent access to water

Wildlife on the hot, dry, sunny lower slopes of Anarchist Mountain in the South Okanagan will now have year-round access to drinking water, in perpetuity.

The Southern Interior Land Trust (SILT) has succeeded in purchasing the 16.6-hectare (41 acres) Bourguiba Spring property on Highway 3, three kilometres southeast of Osoyoos.

Achieving this goal in just a few months is due to the support of a variety of donors, including the South Okanagan Conservation Fund, the Wild Sheep Society of BC, the BC Conservation Foundation, the Okanagan-Similkameen Parks Society, the BC Parks Foundation, the Government of Canada through the Natural Heritage Conservation Program, part of Canada’s Nature Fund, and dozens of non-profits, companies and individuals who donated what they could.

Lot 16, the Bourguiba Spring property, is a steep, south-facing grassland with rock outcroppings above a ravine that protects a groundwater spring—the source of Bourguiba Creek, which flows into Haynes Creek, a tributary of Osoyoos Lake.

READ MORE: Nature Trust purchased parcel of land by White Lake biodiversity ranch

Its steep slopes of sagebrush, bunchgrass and scattered pines are home to California bighorn sheep, provide a spring range for mule deer, and habitat for many species-at-risk, such as badger (endangered), rattlesnake (threatened), screech owl (threatened), and half-moon hairstreak butterfly (endangered).

Conservation of this habitat provides protection of valuable undeveloped land for wildlife, as well as offers opportunities for the public to enjoy birding, hiking and other outdoor activities in a natural setting.

SILT President Judie Steeves commented, “This is a beautiful piece of natural Okanagan landscape, where the aroma of sage and pinesap remind me of my childhood growing up in this valley. I’ve been sad to see so many of these natural features paved and built over in my lifetime and it’s very rewarding for me personally to participate in conserving a site where delicate mariposa lilies bend in the breeze, and I can hear the meadowlark melody.”

She thanked everyone who pulled together to help SILT purchase the property in such a short timeframe.

“The twin crises of climate change and biodiversity loss are two sides of the same coin, and we must tackle them together. By working with partners such as The Southern Interior Land Trust and generous donors, we are helping to protect the natural environment in British Columbia and across the country. Protecting lands play a vital role in helping to halt and reverse biodiversity loss and contributes to the recovery of species at risk,” said Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change.

Lot 16 is just one of many properties SILT owns, or which SILT has helped acquire for other conservation organizations in the Southern Interior of B.C.

Conservation