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Kelowna  

Eco-corridor considered

UBC research is paving the way for a protected wildlife corridor on the east side of Okanagan Lake.

Prof. Lael Parrott says the region is in danger of fragmenting low-elevation ecosystems and losing the habitat and movement routes needed by wildlife. 

Kelowna was identified in the 2016 census as one of the fastest-growing cities in Canada, putting further pressure on habitat. 

“This is the last chance we have to protect these areas, which are important for at-risk species and many migratory animals,” says Parrott. “If we develop these areas, wildlife that depend on low-elevation habitats will have no chance of moving north to south.”

Four years ago, Parrott’s team began mapping and computer modelling the Okanagan Mountain to Kalamalka Lake corridor, a route many species already migrate through. It includes large tracts of low-elevation grasslands and open woodlands.

A collaborative effort with governments was started to protect a one kilometre-wide, 75-km long area between the two parks.

The corridor is a variety of Crown land and private property. Much of the area is used for recreational purposes and is populated by animals such as as elk, badger, big horn sheep and a variety of snakes and bats.

“We live in one of the most beautiful places in Canada, and most of us live here because of the quality of life that comes from our natural ecosystems. We have an opportunity to develop differently, and set an example for other places," says Parrott.

Lake Country is considering adding the corridor into its Official Community Plan.



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