Another parcel of land in the South Okanagan is now under the protection of a conservation group.

With the help of other community partners, The Nature Trust of BC has purchased a 32.2-hectare parcel northwest of Oliver through which Park Rill Creek meanders.

The property will be added to The Nature Trust of British Columbia’s White Lake Basin Biodiversity Ranch complex, which is one of the largest intact grasslands in the region.

“The White Lake Basin is one of the gems in The Nature Trust of BC’s conservation land portfolio,” said Nick Burdock, Okanagan Conservation Land Manager.

“The Park Rill Creek property is one of the finest examples of mixed riparian habitat along the Park Rill corridor. You really get the sense that this piece of land has been cared for in a way that protected its conservation values.”

According to the Trust, the parcel is home to some of the most endangered and rare species in the province, including the endangered Half-moon Hairstreak butterfly and the rare Painted Turtle.

The property also provides important habitat for birds and is rich with vegetation including, aromatic gray sagebrush, desert grassland and broadleaf woodlands.

Residents living in the Sportsmen Bowl area below the property have struggled with Park Rill Creek flooding in recent years, attributing that flooding to beavers.

But Jasper Lament, the Nature Trust’s CEO, said beavers aren’t a problem along that stretch of the creek.

“According to long-term residents of the White Lake Basin, this stretch of Park Rill Creek usually dries up in the summer,” he said.”Our conservation land management staff do not recall ever having beaver problems at this site.”

He added that the Trust would work with government agencies to protect public safety “If beavers create problems in the future.”

The property is also outside the proposed working boundary for a South Okanagan Similkameen national park reserve and is home to a ranching operation that works with the Nature Trust to protect species at risk.

Funding for the project was provided by the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation, South Okanagan Conservation Fund, BC Conservation Foundation, Sitka Foundation, Collings Family Foundation, Gosling Foundation, Burrowing Owl Estate Winery, BMO Bank of Montreal, Odlum Brown Limited Land Acquisition Fund, the South Okanagan Naturalists’ Club and individual donors.

It was undertaken with the financial support of the Government of Canada provided through the federal Department of Environment and Climate Change.

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