On Oct. 24 staff and members of the Penticton Indian Band

Okanagan project aims to preserve and restore Garnet Valley

A co-operative project is underway to mitigate impacts from wildfire and to preserve and restore the Garnet Valley.

A co-operative project is underway to mitigate impacts from wildfire and to preserve and restore the Garnet Valley, north of Summerland, is underway.

The Penticton Indian Band, B.C. Ministry of Forests, Land and Natural Resource Operations and the Okanagan region of the B.C. Wildlife Federation received $150,000 to prevent and/or mitigate economic, ecologocal and cultural impacts of wildfire in the Summerland area, improve important wildlife habitat habitat (particularly the Mule deer winter range) and provide a platform for relationship building between the province, the PIB, the Summerland and Peachland Sportsman’s Associations and the B.C. Wildlife Federation.

The funding is from the Forest Enhancement Society of B.C., which allocated over $2.74 million to 23 projects around the province to the first group of funding commitments.

“The projects the society is funding complement projects under the Strategic Wildfire Prevention Initiative and Forests for Tomorrow,” said Steve Thomson, Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, in a press release. “I congratulate the society in getting up and running so quickly and delivering the first projects this fall. I look forward to seeing the results on the ground.”

In total 60 proposals were received and evaluated by the society board of directors.

The primary objective in the Okanagan is to treat the forest ingrowth and habitat degradation in the Garnet Valley. A secondary objective is that traditional practices, Indigenous knowledge and ecosystem and fire science are used in harmony to provide the strongest possible results. This will be achieved through specific treatments which consider cultural heritage, Indigenous knowledge and ecosystem science to guide prescription development.

The work in this specific area will be complete in the spring of 2017 and then begin in another region. The work will be ongoing throughout the Okanagan territory to maintain safe and healthy habitats.

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