Summerland is taking leadership in its efforts to protect and manage biodiversity, a report prepared by the South Okanagan Similkameen Conservation Program states.
“Summerland is providing leadership to the whole regional district,” said program manager Bryn White.
In a recent report, Keeping Nature in our Future: A biodiversity strategy, Summerland was commended for its efforts to address areas of high conservation value within the community.
“With 67 per cent of Summerland’s land base containing ecosystems ranked high or very high in importance for conservation, Summerland plays an important role in shaping the future for biodiversity in the South Okanagan-Similkameen,” she said.
Efforts are being made to protect these ecosystems by updating Development Permit Areas and strengthening associated bylaws to support protection of streamside vegetation, encouraging cluster development and planning to manage and control drainage, sediment and erosion.
The community has 220 hectares of relatively natural parks, including Giant’s Head Mountain, land on Conkle Mountain and other areas.
A challenge, she said, is to manage land uses since some uses are in conflict with others.
In the past, conflicts have arisen between hikers and equestrians and users of motorized vehicles on trails in the area.
“There’s room for everyone to pursue their interests,” she said.
Elsewhere, concerns have been raised about mud bogging in sensitive areas and near the community’s reservoirs.
Mayor Janice Perrino said there are positive steps which have been taken by individuals in Summerland.
These include choosing to voluntarily care for lands and setting aside sensitive areas on their properties for nature.
“We just don’t do enough to celebrate and recognize those people, and we need to,” Perrino said.
For more, visit www.soscp.org.