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Nature Trust of BC expands White Lake protection

The area now covers 8,287 hectares of protected land
The American Badger is one of many species that calls the rare grassland ecosystem of the White Lake Basin home. The protected land in the basin is expanding with another purchase by the Nature Trust of BC. (Bennett Whitnell - Nature Trust of BC)

One of the last remaining properties in the White Lake Basin has been purchased for protection by the Nature Trust of B.C.

The Nature Trust made the announcement of the 65 hectare purchase on Wednesday, Aug. 10, adding to the existing 8,222 hectares of protected land in the White Lake Basin Biodiversity Ranch.

The purchase has been months in the works, with fundraising and donations bringing in the last $200,000 needed to purchase the property.

This will be the second White Lake addition in 2022, and the third since July 2021, which added 163 hectares of land between them.

Beyond the White Lake area, the Nature Trust has been busy in 2022, with further purchases east of Skaha Lake and 194 hectares around the Keremeos Columns, which increased the protected area tenfold.

READ MORE: Keremeos Columns protected area to grow ten-fold

The most recent White Lake addition will be the 13th private parcel purchased by the Nature Trust since 1996, providing protection and continuity of the natural grasslands and the other sensitive ecosystems in the region.

As one of the province’s most threatened ecosystems, grasslands represent less than one per cent of the provincial land base while supporting over 30 per cent of the province’s known threatened and vulnerable plant and animal species.

They also act as carbon sinks, supporting climate regulation due to their sequestration of atmospheric carbon in their deep root systems underground.

Ninety-five per cent of the property contains sensitive ecosystems and rare and diverse species in need of urgent protection. A number of endangered birds utilize the property including the Lewis’s Woodpecker, Barn Swallow, Flammulated Owl, and Grasshopper Sparrow.

Not only do birds call this conservation area home, many other federally listed animals can be spotted in this important habitat such as the Pallid Bat, American Badger, Western Tiger Salamander, and Great Basin Gophersnake.

“As we face rapid biodiversity loss and climate change, nature is our biggest ally,” said Jasper Lament, CEO, of the Nature Trust of BC.” Large-scale nature conservation is a strong tool to ensure biodiversity can flourish undisturbed while also helping to mitigate against climate change. We are delighted to be able to preserve connectivity among rare and threatened ecosystems in the White Lake Basin, through the purchase of this property and take steps to support climate regulation through conservation.”

In addition to the many small donors, the purchase also received financial support of the Government of Canada through the federal Department of Environment and Climate Change.

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Brennan Phillips

About the Author: Brennan Phillips

Brennan was raised in the Okanagan and is thankful every day that he gets to live and work in one of the most beautiful places in Canada.
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