The District of Summerland, British Columbia, Canada
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Development Services

Natural Environment



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 Municipal boundaries.

Terrestrial Ecosystems

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 Columbia�s 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 �at risk� and may be provincially, nationally or globally significant � 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.

Aquatic Ecosystems

Okanagan Lake provides a varied and extensive riparian area for the Summerland area.
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 Summerland�s 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 Summerland�s 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.

Agriculture

Environmental Resources for Farmers and Ranchers

 

What's New

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 access the Guide to Development in Sensitive Areas.

 

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 For More Information

Contact Anna McIndoe at 250-826-7008 or acmcindoe@gmail.com