HCTF has recently committed $500,000 to the acquisition of the South Block of Elkink Ranch by the Nature Conservancy of Canada. This connective property will increase the Sage and Sparrow Conservation Area to over 3,100 acres of continuous South Okanagan grassland habitat, and will also bridge the current gap between the Chopaka East and Kilpoola components of the South Okanagan Grasslands Protected Area.
As one of Canada’s most endangered ecosystems, these grasslands provide critical habitat for a diverse range of amphibian, reptile, bird and mammal species, some which occur nowhere else in the world. Resident species-at-risk include Lewis’s woodpecker, grasshopper sparrow, and burrowing owl. Together, the properties also provide an important wildlife migration corridor.
In accordance with the Foundation’s goal of encouraging public use and enjoyment of BC’s fish, wildlife and habitats, the acquired lands will be made publically accessible, providing recreational opportunities compatible with maintaining the property’s conservation values. These opportunities include non-motorized access to the property for hunting.
HCTF is pleased to have contributed to NCC’s campaign to secure this important piece of grassland habitat, and sees Elkink South Block as a valuable addition to the Foundation’s many existing conservation investments in the South Okanagan. The Nature Conservancy of Canada is in the final stages of fundraising for this property, and we are very hopeful that they will be ultimately successful.