Efforts to save the antelope-brush ecosystem include ecological restoration, a process of assisting the recovery of an ecosystem that has been degraded, damaged or destroyed. Because ecological restoration is a relatively new field of study, there remains a great deal to learn. In many cases, research findings and the lessons learned from a project are as important as the actual restoration.
Research on Behr's Hairstreak is ongoing at ODC. Most recently, in 2021 we conducted a Behr's hairstreak survey in conjunction with the Antelope Brush Ecosystem and Restoration project funded by the South Okanagan Conservation Fund, Environment and Climate Change Canada and Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation. This survey, the first conducted in 18 years at ODC, was designed to understand the current state of the red listed Behr's hairstreak butterfly, gauging how the population has changed over that time. Unfortunately the numbers that were observed indicate a decline in population. Read the report here.
Species at Risk Surveys
The southern interior of British Columbia is home to an incredible diversity of wildlife, including more than 300 species of birds, 7 species of snakes and 14 kinds of bats. Some species, like the ghostly pale pallid bat, are not found anywhere else in Canada. Others, including more than 20 kinds of insects and spiders, are not found anywhere else in the world. Many of these animals are at risk – nearly 25 percent of all the endangered and threatened vertebrate species in the province live here in the South Okanagan.
Road Mortality Surveys
As more natural spaces are fragmented to create roads and highways and as traffic becomes denser, the mortality of animals on roadways increases dramatically. Many animals are forced to cross these busy roads as they move between habitat patches in search of resources.
The Osoyoos Desert Society has implemented an app to facilitate a citizen science project seeking data on the impacts of roads on wildlife populations. This program involves conducting walking surveys of the roadway to record and map strikes and mortalities on 146th Avenue. The data collected from this program will be used to build a baseline understanding of road ecology in the area surrounding the Osoyoos Desert Centre, and to develop options for the design and construction of wildlife crossings to mitigate road mortality.
We are currently seeking Citizen Scientists in the South Okanagan/Osoyoos area to take part in this study by conducting surveys and provide us with invaluable data on the effects on wildlife. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to get involved.