This past Friday, with the partnership of the Okanagan Similkameen Stewardship Society (OSSS), St. Lawrence of University, and Mr. Jaswinder Kailay, we started a new phase of enhancement actions on an Osoyoos pond.
8 volunteers removed by hand and with the help of a back-hoe (local operator Ray Paradis), more than 750kg of metal and debris from an old truck frame (which was at least more than 50yrs old!). Removing this metal was a critical step in restoring this wetland area.
|Mr. Jaswinder Kailay committed to stewarding the pond on his|
property with the assistance of OSSS.
Since 2004, Stewardship and partners have been restoring this pond site with past landowners removing non-native invasive predatory species. Mr Kailay purchased this agricultural property about one year ago and has already signed a voluntary commitment as a 'Habitat Steward' with executive director, Alyson Skinner of OSSS. Our main goal on this property is to restore the ponds water quality, enhance with native vegetation, and to provide habitat for native species including Western Painted Turtles. It is the long-term commitment and voluntary actions of landowners that make the difference and allow these important projects to move forward.
Wetlands provide a critical ecological service for the local ecosystem. They provide many essential functions that not only protect our environment but also the health of local communities. Wetlands are like natural sponges- cleaning water as it passes through. In the south Okanagan more than 85% of wetlands have been filled in or otherwise destroyed, and many remaining wetlands are in need of restorative actions such as this. The greatest threats to wetlands include infilling, introduction of non-native species (such as fish), agricultural over spray (both pesticides, herbicides & nutrients), and garbage debris.
OSSS assists landowners through habitat enhancement projects such as native plantings, invasive non-native species removal, garbage removal, installing bird nesting and bat boxes, providing swimming pool froglogs, and habitat and species expertise.
This project was made possible with funding from Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation, Habitat Stewardship Program and Wildlife Habitat Canada.