At the WSSBC Convention and Fundraiser in Kamloops on March 11, 2017 the Wild Sheep Society of BC presented The Nature Trust of BC’s CEO Dr. Jasper Lament with a cheque for $20,000 to partially fund the purchase of “Skaha Lake Eastside”.
This property will be set aside, protected from development and maintained as a grassland ecosystem in perpetuity. It is the final piece of a fantastic complex of conservation lands which includes the McTaggart-Cowan/Nsək’łniw’t Wildlife Management Area (WMA). This WMA is 6,491 hectares (16,033 acres) primarily secured for the protection and management of Bighorn Sheep habitat.
The topography throughout the parcel is ideal for Bighorn Sheep. It is generally steep with some flat benchlands interspersed throughout. The lower portions are grasslands, transitioning through mixed forest at the mid-level to rocky terrain at higher elevations. This parcel is located in two of the most endangered biogeoclimatic zones: Bunchgrass and Ponderosa Pine. This property is important for supporting at risk species such as Bighorn Sheep, White-throated Swift and the Western Rattlesnake. It has the potential to support the endangered American Badger.
Management objectives will focus on increasing the quality of Bighorn Sheep habitat, improving connectivity and sheep movement within the adjacent WMA and decreasing human caused disturbance. Purchasing the property will also reduce the risk of disease transmission by excluding domestic sheep and goats.
The estimated total project cost is $1.3 million, which includes land acquisition, legal, appraisal and land management.