Okanagan Similkameen Conservation Alliance

OSCA has been delivering species recovery outreach and extension for more than fifteen years, through strong working relationships with other non-government organizations, local governments and agricultural industry groups. OSCA is well-known for offering seminars and field workshops on species at risk for the viticulture and orchard industries, municipal public works and park staff. Over many years, OSCA and project partners, have developed multi-lingual printed material about wildlife management targeted to landowners and outside workers who encounter sensitive species at risk.

The Okanagan Similkameen Conservation Alliance is undertaking two areas of work to reduce the impacts that everyday work activities have on important wildlife in the South Okanagan. The Okanagan Valley has more species of bats living here than anywhere else in Canada, many of which are at risk because of habitat loss. Bats have lost places to forage for food, roost, hibernate in the winter and birth their pups in the summer. The ‘Managing At-Risk Wildlife in the Workplace’ project helps to reduce threats to bats and other species at risk including snakes, amphibians, and birds through outreach and learning workshops. Because four species of bats commonly use buildings as roosting sites, OSCA will reach out to pest control professionals and building contractors to communicate and demonstrate best practices to reduce bat mortality and habitat destruction. OSCA will also work with grower organizations, agricultural managers and farm workers to raise awareness about working safely in snake country, reducing threats to wildlife such as bats and amphibians, as well as ways to safely and legally deter fruit-eating migratory birds.

OSCA works with many organizations to coordinate and deliver outreach to address some of the most important elements of conservation in the region. This work will be supported by the Okanagan Community Bat Program and the Okanagan Similkameen Stewardship Society, who both work with private landowners and managers to conserve and steward species and ecosystems at risk.

The project was approved by the Regional District Okanagan Similkameen Board and $ 7840 was allocated from the South Okanagan Conservation Fund in 2018. The South Okanagan Conservation Fund dollars match funding from other sources as well as in-kind contributions. The project is expected to complete by February 1, 2019.