Southern Interior Land Trust

The Southern Interior Land Trust (SILT) has, for over 30 years, worked to secure those gems and jewels of fish and wildlife habitat that act as “stepping-stones” for animal movement between larger conservation areas. SILT owns four conservation properties and has contributed to the purchase of many more. Natural shorelines, with their ribbon of native trees, shrubs, grasses and herbs benefit wildlife; protect properties from flood and erosion; and support ecological processes essential to clean, drinkable, swimmable, fishable water. With the current extent of lakeshore modification and development in the South Okanagan, the ecological function of our shorelines is clearly threatened.

This project pilots the Love Your Lake Program for the first time in British Columbia on Vaseux Lake and Okanagan Lake in the District of Summerland by providing lakeshore landowners with a free, personalized and private evaluation of their shoreline, with specific actions for how to voluntarily protect and re-naturalize the shoreline and still maintain their waterfront view. We will also support creation of up to 3 public shoreline restoration demonstration sites on public land (e.g. parks) where landowners and others can see how restoration works.

Our goal is to maintain ecological functions provided by shorelines by increasing landowner understanding of how they influence water quality and wildlife; by identifying and prescribing opportunities for protecting and enhancing shoreline habitats and; by inspiring and achieving landowner action to restore and protect their shoreline while maintaining, and perhaps enhancing, their property values and views. Many shoreline landowners have an interest in protecting water quality and wildlife, yet may not know that their shoreline actions are negatively affecting these values.

This project was approved by the Regional District Okanagan Similkameen Board and $ 39,556 was allocated from the South Okanagan Conservation Fund in 2019. The South Okanagan Conservation Fund dollars are matching confirmed funding from other sources including grant and foundation funds. The project is expected to complete by February 15, 2020.