AGRICULTURE AND STEWARDSHIP
Farming is an important land use and major contributor to the economy in the Okanagan and Similkameen valleys. Farmers have long been stewards of important wildlife habitat, and have a critical role in conservation and stewardship.
Okanagan Similkameen Stewardship provides assistance and support to landowners, including farmers, who contribute to wildlife habitat stewardship, conservation and restoration while maintaining agricultural production on their properties.
If you would like more information about our initiatives on farms or other existing agricultural programs in the Okanagan and Similkameen valleys that may be useful on your working property, please contact us.
BENEFITS OF WILDLIFE ON FARMS
Wildlife provides many benefits to agricultural properties including pollination, composting of organics to provide nutrients for crops, filtration of water and pest management. Further, keeping strips of native plants along creeks and rivers can help with flood and erosion control.
Enhancing and conserving natural biodiversity can often increase productivity of farms by encouraging pollinators and beneficial predatory insects. Agricultural properties, in turn, can provide valuable habitat for the region's wildlife while taking advantage of the benefits that stewardship of wild areas provides.
Natural areas can also reduce the need for pesticides because native plants attract beneficial insects and other wildlife that eat agricultural pests and also help with pollination.
WHAT DO NATURAL AREAS DO FOR YOU?
Clean water : plants in natural areas help filter sediments and pollutants out of water
Soil retention & erosion control: trees and shrubs provide a natural protection against wind and dust. These buffers play a valuable role in erosion control and soil retention as the plants' roots hold soil in place.
Bank stability : Plant roots help slow water and anchor soil in stream banks, slowing and even preventing erosion.
Flood control : Wetlands act as sponges, slowing flood water and giving that water a chance to enter groundwater.
Homes for pollinators and beneficial insects : retaining natural areas on your farm will help ensure pollinators, beneficial insects and wildlife have a home.
Frost Protection: wetlands provide frost protection, which can protect tree fruits in early spring. Water in wetlands helps regulate temperature around them- reducing fruit loss in "frost pockets"
JOIN OTHER RANCHERS & FARMERS!
If you are interested in learning more about wildlife and habitats on your property, contact us to arrange a free site visit. We have partnerships with 100 landowners in the Okanagan Similkameen and can assist with things from tailored information and assessments, development of land management plans and restoration projects as well as recognition for landowners who are maintaining natural areas on their ranches and farms.