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Report: Refined and Updated Ecosystem Mapping for the South Okanagan and lower Similkameen Valley January 2010; updated April 2012

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This report documents the methods and results from the upgrades and updates to the Refined and Updated Ecosystem Mapping for the South Okanagan and lower Similkameen Valley (2009), including reconciliation of Conservation Rankings, as well as linework and attribute updates since the 2009 version.

Author:  Iverson, K. and A. Haney

Old Reference Number:  9922

Old Reference System:  BAPID

Date Published:  Apr 2012

Report ID:  29144

Audience:  Government and Public

There are numerous versions of ecosystem mapping for the south Okanagan and lower Similkameen Valleys. In 1991-1994 the area was mapped using a biophysical habitat mapping approach on 1:15,000 aerial photographs taken in the mid 1980s (Lea et al. 1991; Harper et al. 1996). In 2005, the mapping was updated to the current Biogeoclimatic Ecosystem Classification (BEC) site series classification, biogeoclimatic zone and subzone boundaries, ecosection boundaries, and ecosystem units, including recent burns and new developments (using 2003 orthophotos and fire boundaries). At the same time, the database was upgraded to current Terrestrial Ecosystem Mapping (TEM) standards (Resources Inventory Committee 1998). In 2006, additional areas that had been gaps between projects were mapped, and refinements were done in the Naramata area. The 2006 TEM was used to create a Sensitive Ecosystems Inventory (SEI) by evaluating and grouping TEM units into SEI map units. The resulting SEI map had many polygons where a small proportion was sensitive and the remaining area was considered not sensitive. To be more useful in assisting land management decisions, the Regional District of the Okanagan Similkameen (RDOS) desired that the mapping be refined in three main respects: divide sensitive from non-sensitive areas where possible; delineate wetland and riparian areas as separate polygons (where possible) and to map continuous riparian corridors; and delineate areas of new development as new polygons. To further enhance the SEI as a planning tool, ecosystems were to be given a Conservation Ranking based on their at-risk status, ecological sensitivity and wildlife habitat values. Since the 2009 version, refinements have been carried out opportunistically, including a habitat analysis for Canadian Wildlife Service, and mapping element occurrences of rare ecological communities for BC Conservation Data Centre. This report documents the methods and results from the upgrades and updates to the mapping for the 2009 version, including Conservation Rankings, as well as updates for the 2012 version. Between 2010-2012, the natural part of Okanagan River (McIntyre dam to McAlpine Bridge) was updated for changes to the river and adjacent riparian vegetation. Refinement of additional polygons containing riparian ecosystems in the Okanagan valley-bottom was done in 2011. Changes to the Similkameen River floodplain were captured in early 2012, as part of mapping element occurrences

Report Type
  Terrestrial Information
  Biogeoclimatic Zone - BG Bunchgrass Zone
  Biogeoclimatic Zone - ESSF Engelmann Spruce - Subalpine Fir Zone
  Biogeoclimatic Zone - IDF Interior Douglas-fir Zone
  Biogeoclimatic Zone - MS Montane Spruce Zone
  Biogeoclimatic Zone - PP Ponderosa Pine Zone
  Region - Okanagan
  Terrestrial Information - Terrestrial Biophysical Habitat Mapping
  Terrestrial Information - Terrestrial Ecosystem Mapping (TEM)
  Terrestrial Information - Sensitive Ecosystem Inventory (SEI)

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