Ritchie Lake in Garnet Valley north of Summerland is a valuable deer winter range area purchased by the Crown and now managed by Ministry of Forests Lands and Natural Resource Operations, Ecosystems Section. This was once a healthy wetland with Great Basin Spadefoot and other wildlife. Over the years the wetland has been damaged by ATV and vehicle mud-bogging as well as access by cattle. A restoration project partnership was formed including the SOSCP; the Summerland Sportsmen’s Association (affiliated with BC Wildlife Federation); Ministry of Forests Lands and Natural Resource Operations -Ecosystems, Forest & Range; Conservation Officer Service; and Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation–Public Conservation Assistance Fund.
The partners recently completed wetland fencing and placed boulders strategically inside the fence perimeter to eliminate access to off road vehicles and cattle. They have also worked to inform the community about the values and importance of this site as a water source for wildlife; and will be monitoring the area for use by wildlife use and human compliance with the fencing. Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation funding of $6,000 was matched with volunteer labour and donated materials. Six people worked on the site for three days–a wonderful example of local partnerships.