GRASSLANDS & SHRUB-STEPPE
WHAT IS A GRASSLAND?
Grasslands are sensitive landscapes that are home to a wide range of plant and animal species, some of them found nowhere else in the world. Grasslands are open areas dominated by grasses, forbs and shrubs. Within these natural areas, plants are adapted to thrive where summers are long and hot, rainfall is sparse and drought is common, winters are cold and where wildfires occur.
THREATS TO GRASSLANDS
The main threat to grasslands in the Okanagan and Similkameen is the continued loss and fragmentation of existing natural areas due to agricultural and urban development. Close behind are degradation of these habitats caused by motorized recreation and invasive plants. Only 10 percent of the south Okanagan and Similkameen grasslands remain in a relatively natural state.
WHY ARE GRASSLANDS SO IMPORTANT
Grasslands provide safe capture, storage, filtration and release of clean water. Grasslands are great places to recreate. They are destinations for hiking, wildlife observation, hunting and gathering. Grasslands are home to some of the most iconic wildlife in our valleys, including the California Bighorn Sheep.
grasslands what you can do
Tread lightly. ALWAYS stay on established paths and trails. Set aside grassland habitat on acreages, ranches and in agricultural areas. Manage invasive plants. Clean seeds and soil off of vehicles, clothing and equipment. Landscape with native plants rather than introduced and invasive species which could readily spread into natural areas.