The natural environment of Summerland offers many unique physical features (silt
bluffs, hoodoos, knolls) and sensitive ecosystems (grasslands, riparian areas,
mature and old growth forest, wetlands, shallow-soiled rock outcrops and
ridges). It is the juxtaposition of these diverse habitats that contribute to a
wide diversity of species, both common and rare, that are found within the
The dry forests, shrub and grasslands are integral ecological systems, providing
summer and winter habitat for a number of species. Additionally, these areas
function as a significant wild land/urban fringe and provide a buffer between
semiarid lands vulnerable to forest fires and human settlement.
The South Okanagan Region is home to 58% of British Columbiaï¿½s rare, threatened
and endangered wildlife species. One of the most iconic species of this area is
the Mountain Goats that inhabit the northern part of the District. It is rare
to see these majestic animals so close to an urban area and this provides
unique opportunities for wildlife viewing. Summerland is home to several common
species that are seen frequently throughout the area depending on the season,
including mule deer and black bears. Many songbirds and other migratory birds
can be seen stopping over during their long travels. Hawks and other raptors
such as bald eagles and osprey are regular hunters and patrol the skies, grassy
slopes, silt bluffs and lakeshores for prey. Rattlesnakes and blue racer snakes
are found in the dry Summerland area hillsides.
The area is also known to be home to many species listed as ï¿½at riskï¿½ and may
be provincially, nationally or globally significant ï¿½ yet are rare enough that
many longtime residents have never seen them. The American badger is one of
many such elusive species, which until recently used burrows in banks of loose
soils to confirm their presence. Owls, cottontail rabbits, songbirds,
woodpeckers, reptiles, bats, plants and plant communities are all represented
on the list of species that are at risk, of concern, and are known to occur
throughout the diverse landscape of Summerland.
Okanagan Lake provides a varied and extensive riparian area for the Summerland
There are also three creeks (Aeneas Creek, Prairie Creek and Trout Creek)
flowing through the municipality, providing fish habitat. Aeneas Creek has
spawning habitat at its mouth and supports fish upstream of Garnet Valley Road.
Trout Creek normally supports fish upstream of the municipal water intakes.
Unfortunately the installation of culverts through the developed areas of the
District and along the highway to accommodate the Prairie Creek drainage has
resulted in significant destruction of streamside vegetation and habitat.
Trout Creek is the second largest tributary flowing into Okanagan Lake. Kokanee
and Rainbow Trout are but two of a number of fish species residing in streams
and foreshore areas of Okanagan Lake within Summerland. The damselfly, Vivid
Dancer resides in more than one of Summerlandï¿½s creeks. The Tiger Salamander,
Great Basin Spadefoot, and other amphibian species are dependant on ponds,
marshes and temporarily wet areas in the district. Amphibians can be heard
calling in the warm spring evenings. Great diversity of invertebrate species
also occur in the marshes on the foreshore of Okanagan Lake, including a
freshwater mussel at risk that occurs nowhere else except in the Kootenay and
Okanagan River systems.
Landowner Stewardship Resources
Learn about Summerlandï¿½s wildlife and natural areas, and steward your property
for the protection, restoration and enhancement of the natural environment.
Developer Resources and Best Management Practices
Detailed information for activities and planning for development that is
sensitive to the natural environment.
Environmental Resources for Farmers and Ranchers
The District of Summerland is working to
keep the natural environment protected.
We have mapped and designated sensitive
natural areas such as watercourses,
grasslands, forests and wetlands, so you
may be asked to complete an
environmental assessment if your
property occurs in one of these areas.
Expenses and time associated with
development approval can be reduced if
you begin the planning process by
considering environmental values.
Please review the
Guide to Development in Sensitive Areas.
Click here to
Development in Sensitive Areas.
For More Information
Contact Anna McIndoe at 250-826-7008 or