Sage and Sparrow Conservation Lands Expansion
Nature Conservancy of Canada
Nature Conservancy of Canada works with partners to conserve important natural areas and biological diversity across all regions of Canada through direct purchase, land donations, retiring resource extraction permits and licenses, and negotiated conservation agreements. Since 1974, NCC has helped to protect 820,000 hectares (2 million acres) in the province of BC and 14 million hectares (35 million acres) across Canada.
This project is a fee simple acquisition of two parcels of land totaling about 308 acres northwest of Osoyoos BC, immediately north and contiguous with NCC’s Sage and Sparrow Conservation Area and the south Okanagan Grasslands Protected Area. With this acquisition, the total amount of NCC’s connected private conservation land will be 1516 hectares, an increase of 8%.
This acquisition is a key addition to the Sage and Sparrow Conservation Area that will contribute to a larger protected north-south corridor within the landscape that includes the South Okanagan Grasslands Protected Area (SOGPA). A multitude of protected species including migratory birds, waterfowl, songbirds, amphibians, reptiles, ungulates, and wide-ranging animals, will benefit from this acquisition.
The key habitat values on the property are significant, and are a diverse mosaic of ecosystems which provide for a multitude of habitats and species. On the adjacent Sage and Sparrow holdings, there are at least 62 federally and/or provincially listed species at risk. The property contains seven of the eight biodiversity conservation targets identified in NCC’s South Okanagan Similkameen Natural Area Conservation Plan and are an excellent representation of the grasslands and dry and moist forest ecosystems in the South Okanagan region. Additionally, two large wetlands on the property hold water year-round and provide vital habitat for both wetland and upland species in this otherwise arid landscape.
The project was approved by the Regional District Okanagan Similkameen Board and $266,597 was allocated from the South Okanagan Conservation Fund in July of 2020. The South Okanagan Conservation Fund dollars match funding from other sources as well as in-kind contributions. This project is now complete, with the acquisition finalized in December of 2020. See the video here.