The Nature Trust of BC launches a $425,000 crowdfunding campaign to conserve rare temperate grasslands and nine federally at-risk species along the Similkameen River.
June 20, 2022, Northern BC, Canada – The Nature Trust of British Columbia, one of the province’s leading non-profit land conservation organizations, announces that it has been given the opportunity to purchase 11 hectares (27 acres) of rare and ecologically important temperate grasslands along the Similkameen River. The Nighthawk Hill Grasslands is located in the Similkameen Valley southeast of Keremeos and west of Osoyoos. It is found within the unincorporated community of Cawston and within the traditional territory of the Lower Similkameen Indian Band (Sməlqmix) and Okanagan Nation (Syilx People).
Known as the Nighthawk Hill Grasslands, the area is an important wildlife corridor that allows animals to access the river from the South Okanagan Grasslands Provincial Protected Area – an adjacent massive 9,364 hectare protected area. Once purchased, this biodiversity-rich area will be protected as a conservation area, ensuring that it will never be sold or developed.
“Grasslands provide critical support for biodiversity. Mammals, birds, amphibians and reptiles all rely on grasslands. Grasslands cover less than one percent of British Columbia’s land area and are one of Canada’s most endangered ecosystems. By protecting this land, we ensure that the at-risk species that call it home have a chance to flourish.” said Dr. Jasper Lament, CEO of The Nature Trust of BC.
Temperate grasslands are widely considered to be one of the most altered terrestrial ecosystems on earth and endangered on most continents. The hot and very dry Bunchgrass ecosystems are the rarest land cover type in British Columbia and are at high risk of being lost, with only 6.9 percent protected. The Nighthawk Hill Grasslands are wild and largely undisturbed, making them a haven for wildlife – including at-risk species under the federal Species at Risk Act (SARA). This area is home to at least nine federally listed at-risk species and is crucial for wildlife conservation as it includes over 100 meters of river corridor.
The Nighthawk Hill Grasslands are home to a diverse range of imperiled species. Endangered mammals in the area include the Pallid Bat, American Badger, Western Harvest Mouse, and Nuttall’s Cottontail. The property is home to eight at-risk birds, such as the Sage Thrasher, Barn Swallow, Common Nighthawk, Olive-sided Flycatcher, Yellow-breasted Chat, Bobolink, Bank Swallow, and Lewis’s Woodpecker. The hot and dry climate attracts a plethora of reptiles and amphibians, such as the Western Yellow-bellied Racer, Western Tiger Salamander, Great Basin Spadefoot, Western Rattlesnake, and Great Basin Gophersnake.
“BC is the most biodiverse province in Canada and land conservation is crucial to ensure that the incredible species that we are so lucky to live alongside are able to survive in perpetuity. Protecting the Nighthawk Hill Grasslands is one important step towards this goal.” said Dr. Jasper Lament, CEO of The Nature Trust of BC.
The purchase of this area adds to the legacy of The Nature Trust of BC, demonstrating its unwavering commitment to protecting the vulnerable ecosystems and rich biodiversity in BC and helping to mitigate the impact of climate change in our province.
The Nature Trust of British Columbia is a leading non-profit land conservation organization with over 50 years of success protecting and caring for B.C.’s most critical habitats. Since 1971, The Nature Trust of BC and its partners have acquired more than 73,000 hectares (180,000 acres) of ecologically significant land to save vulnerable wildlife, fish and plants.
- Visit: www.naturetrust.bc.ca
- Follow us on Twitter: @NatureTrustofBC
- Become a fan on Facebook: www.facebook.com/NatureTrustofBC/
- Follow us on Instagram: @NatureTrustBC
VIDEO AND IMAGES: Here
The Nature Trust of BC
Alicia Collyear, Account Director