Farming with Wildlife

Okanagan Similkameen Stewardship Society

Okanagan Similkameen Stewardship Society has been working with local community members for over 20 years. OSSS helps people care for important natural areas by providing information and ways to coexist with wildlife, and assisting landowners to steward natural areas on their properties while maintaining their farms, ranches, vineyards or other land uses.

Within the South Okanagan valley, two notable changes in the area over the last 30 years are the decline in cattle ranching and the boom of the wine industry. In addition, there is a trend to maximizing the economic potential of every type of land. Together, this results in more intensive and sterile-to-wildlife agriculture, which causes to wide-scale habitat loss. Edge-to-edge agriculture has become the norm and has fewer opportunities and more barriers to wildlife than traditional orchards. Farmers may be reluctant to engage in implementation of nature-based solutions that do not also benefit their bottom line. Further, time is a non-renewable resource; relevant, specific training opportunities are more effective in achieving on-the-ground outcomes for conservation.

This project is the first year of a 3-year request. Approved by Regional District Okanagan Similkameen Board and $20,000 was allocated from the South Okanagan Conservation Fund in 2023. The project is expected to complete by January 31, 2024.