Throwback Thursday: Casa del Mell pond enhancement

With Mother's Day around the corner, I am reminded of a pond enhancement project Okanagan Similkameen Stewardship completed last year at Casa del Mell in Osoyoos. This project stands out in my mind because I brought my then 4 year old son to watch and help and he still talks about how he helped to build a pond today.  

About the stewards: Ken and Mellhina Thibault have pledged, as Wildlife Habitat Stewards, to steward a wetland on their property- Casa del Mell, in Osoyoos. When we formed the Okanagan Similkameen Stewardship Society, Mellhina also joined us as one of our founding directors, further showing her commitment to conservation in her community.

About the project: Stewardship biologists Natasha Lukey and Alyson Skinner worked with landowners Ken and Mellhina and excavator operator Ray Paradis to enhance a pond area, install a liner and loose sand in order to create habitat for the Great Basin Spadefoot. Ongoing invasive plant management has also been taken on by Ken and Mell.

About Spadefoots: Spadefoots are unique, desert adapted amphibians which spend most of their lives underground.  The spadefoot is named for a hardened spade on its hind leg which they use to burrow into loose sand in order to escape from predators and also to overwinter.  Spadefoots rely on shallow, temporary waterbodies for breeding and with so many having been filled in for development of our valley bottoms, creating new wetlands is one way to help these little critters survive.

Great Basin Spadefoot
Photo: Jonquil Crosby

Soon, after installing this shallow pond at Casa del Mell, Spadefoots were found using the site- just before Mother's Day.

Casa del Mell is one of the stops on our FREE Meadowlark Festival Tour on May 16, celebrating 20 years of Stewardship in the South Okanagan and Similkameen valleys.

- Posted by Alyson Skinner, Executive Director