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Report: Sensitive Ecosystems Inventory Okanagan Valley: Vernon to Osoyoos 2000 to 2007

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This report is a compilation of 10 projects initiated from 2000 to 2007. The Okanagan Valley study area is in south-central BC ranging from just north of Vernon south to the U.S. border. It covers 369,431 ha within 11 biogeoclimatic subzones and variants, and 6 Ecosections. The report provides methods, results, ecosystems descriptions, planning and management issues, and conservation tools. Data and spatial files are available by individual SEI projects.

Author:  Iverson, K., D. Curran, T. Fleming and A. Haney

Old Reference Number:  NA

Old Reference System:  BAPID

Date Published:  Aug 2008

Report ID:  15326

Audience:  Government and Public

The Sensitive Ecosystems Inventory Okanagan Valley: Vernon to Osoyoos is a compilation of individual projects initiated from 2000 to 2007: the Bella Vista Goose Lake Range SEI, Central Okanagan SEI, Central Okanagan South Slopes, City of Kelowna SEI, Coldstream - Vernon SEI, District of Lake Country SEI, Joe Rich SEI, South Okanagan SEI, TFL 15 TEM, Vernon Commonage SEI, and Naramata SEI. The study area includes portions of the lower elevation ecosystems in the Okanagan Valley from just north of Vernon south to the U.S. border, part of the Similkameen Valley and some middle and upper elevations in the South Okanagan. This report provides documentation, results, and summary descriptions of the inventories and provides conservation tools for future management. The main objective of these projects was to provide scientific information on sensitive ecosystems in order to support sustainable land management decisions and encourage conservation and land stewardship. Some projects used Terrestrial Ecosystem Mapping (TEM) as a base to develop a Sensitive Ecosystems theme map and other projects directly mapped Sensitive Ecosystems. The SEI information is intended to alert local and regional decision-makers to the presence of sensitive and important ecosystems and ecological features. The SEI mapping does not replace the need for on-site assessments in areas where land use changes are proposed. The results show many of the sites identified by the SEI are at high risk of conversion to other land uses or further degradation. Throughout the study area, 47.9% percent was in Sensitive Ecosystems (SE); 7.9% percent of the area was included in the Other Important Ecosystem (OIE) categories. The inventory results indicated that wetlands, broadleaf woodlands, antelope-brush steppe, sagebrush steppe and old forest ecosystems were extremely rare in the study area covering less than 5% of the project area. Although areas of grasslands, coniferous woodlands and mature forests remained, many had been altered significantly and few high quality sites remain. The study indicates many sensitive ecosystems have already been degraded by fragmentation, human use, livestock grazing and alien species.

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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