New information signs produced with a grant from B.C. Parks’ Community Legacy Program are being installed in three local important bird areas this fall: Kilpoola Lake, Osoyoos Oxbows and Vaseux Lake. B.C. Nature is installing the signs in partnership with B.C. Parks.
Five sites in the South Okanagan Similkameen earned the international designation “important bird area” in 2000 because they provide habitat for several birds listed as under threat by the Canadian Species at Risk Act. For example, Lewis’s woodpecker, western screech owl, yellow-breasted chat and sage thrasher.
“These signs will be a welcome addition to information in our local parks and protected areas,” said Eva Durance, local caretaker for the Vaseux Lake important bird area.
Durance is part of a network of over 50 volunteers in British Columbia who act as the ‘eyes, ears and hands on the ground’ for B.C.’s 84 important bird areas. Caretakers work within their communities to monitor and promote IBAs, and to ensure that local conservation ideas are put into action.
“Raising awareness about the importance of these particular areas for birds is a key priority for caretakers in the South Okanagan Similkameen” said Krista Englund, IBA caretaker co-ordinator for B.C. Nature.
“These signs will inform visitors to some of the South Okanagan’s most popular parks and protected areas about the local birdlife they might see during their visit, and what they can do to help protect these sites for birds. In addition to the three interpretive signs, we are installing IBA identification signs provided by Nature Canada at all five locations, including Chopaka Customs and White Lake.”
To view the new information signs, visit Blue Lake in South Okanagan Grasslands Protected Area, Vaseux Lake Provincial Park or Haynes Lease Ecological Reserve along Black Sage Road at the north end of Osoyoos Lake.
These small signs will let visitors know when they are entering an IBA and feature QR codes that enable visitors to access information about the site on their smartphones.
The Important Bird Area Program identifies, monitors and helps protect the most vital places in Canada for birds so that conservation action can be directed in the most effective way possible.
Canada’s 600 important bird areas are part of a global system of more than 11,000 sites. Migratory birds depend on IBAs to rest, feed and breed. Without them, birds could not make their long and difficult journeys each year. The Important Bird Areas Program is an initiative of BirdLife International that is jointly co-ordinated in Canada by Bird Studies Canada and Nature Canada, and by Bird Studies Canada and B.C. Nature in British Columbia.
In celebration of their 100th anniversary in 2011, B.C. Parks provided $450,000 to community groups through the Community Legacy Fund to support improvements to 27 parks across the province. Grant recipients were determined by the B.C. Conservation Foundation and received up to $20,000 per project for work such as trail enhancements and improvements that supported recreational activities or conservation of the parks’ ecology or cultural history.
For more info about the Important Bird Areas Program or important bird areas within the South Okanagan Similkameen, please visit www.ibacanada.ca.