North Vernon Park

Photo 2022-06-14, 2 26 12 PM.jpg

Several years ago, two wetlands were created in a natural park along BX Creek in North Vernon. Okanagan Similkameen Stewardship approached the City of Vernon, looking for a site for a demonstration project in the region. Our hope is to further restore and steward this site while engaging the community around it in learning about the wildlife supported by the site, including amphibians, reptiles, and birds, as well as participating in ongoing stewardship such as invasive species management and native plant re-vegetation.

North Vernon park offers important wetland and riparian habitat to all sorts of native plants and animals. BX Creek runs along the east edge of the park and the park is located between swan lake and the heron rookery making it very important to the habitat connectivity in the area. The park is also home to a garter snake den. These harmless snakes gather together in safe den sites to survive the winter.

With support from the Okanagan Basin Water Board and RDNO Greater Vernon Natural Areas and Trails grant, we will host several opportunities for local residents to get involved in stewardship of this park.  We have held several events and talks so far, including:

          - Invasive Plant ID Walk

          - Beginner Birding workshop

          - Volunteer weed pull day

- Habitat Enhancement Planting Day

- Snakes & Snake Smarts

- All About Amphibians

- Attracting Native Pollinators

-a Bioblitz

Gartersnake Dens

When Deleenheer Rd was constructed, there was a berm created between it and North Vernon Park. Huge rocks were placed there and the empty spaces between them were filled in. Not every gap was filled though, and the underground network of small tunnel and chambers was found by the large population of gartersnakes living in the park!  This accidentally-created winter hibernacula (den) site has become the winter home for hundreds of Common and Terrestrial Gartersnakes!

A number of years ago, the North Okanagan Naturalists Club constructed wooden fences around the den entrances and placed a line of large rocks along the oark at Delenheer Rd to protect the dens.  This summer, OSS is increasing the den protection by placing large rocks around the den entrances too, which will also create some shelter and basking areas for the snakes.

Residents of Deleenheer Rd will notice temporary No Parking signs during this work day, as we need the space to properly place the boulders

Common garter snake- ASkinner
press to zoom
DSC_0044
press to zoom
Photo 2022-06-14, 2 20 12 PM
press to zoom
Photo 2022-06-14, 2 26 12 PM
press to zoom
1/1

Invasive Plant Management

Photo 2022-06-14, 2 20 12 PM
press to zoom
Burdock removal compressed to 300dpi_edited
press to zoom
thistle
press to zoom
IMG_1811
press to zoom
1/1

There are a lot of invasive species in North Vernon Park! Invasive plants are those that come from other places and don't belong in BC. They often grow aggressively and push out native plants, which ruins the habitat for many wildlife species. We target a number of invasive plants as part of this park restoration project. Some of the plants you may see our summer technicians removing include:

-Dames Rocket

-Canada Thistle

-Common Burdock

-Himalayan Baslam

-Tall Tumblemustard

-Diffuse Knapweed

-Houndstongue

Some species of invasive plants re-sprout faster and stronger if you try to dig them up. For some of these plants, chemical sprays are really the only option that we have to try and get them out of the park. We are hopeful that we will only have to spray a few times to get control of these species. The few plants that we need to spray are:
-Common Comfrey

-Poison Hemlock  (This one is a health risk to humans!!)

-Hoary Allysum

-Rush Skeletonweed

Replanting with native species

Invasive plants have pushed out most of the native tree and shrub species that should be in the park. Part of restoring the park habitat includes replacing the invasive species with native ones! In September 2021, with the help of over 55 volunteers from the community and local company Tekmar Control Systems Ltd., we planted nearly 700 trees and shrubs that will grow to start shading out and competing with the invasives, eventually to the point where we don't have to help anymore!  Some of the trees and shrubs newly planted in the park include Black Cottonwood, Bebb's Willow, Saskatoon, Trembling Apen, Red-osier Dogwood, Common Snowberry, and Nootka Rose.

We will be planting more in Fall 2022!  If you want to stay in the loop about upcoming volunteer opportunities, sign up for our volunteer list, get our monthly e-news, and/or follow us on Facebook!

Tekmar volunteer day-ASkinner-10
press to zoom
Tekmar volunteer day-ASkinner-24
press to zoom
2021-09-25-NVP Planting-ASkinner-22
press to zoom
2021-09-25-NVP Planting-ASkinner-09
press to zoom
1/1