Working together to Keep Nature in our Future.

South Okanagan-Similkameen
Conservation Program

SOSCP Conservation Science Forum 2019

for qualified environmental professionals, conservation partners and land managers.

Wednesday February 20, 9 am to 5 pm

Okanagan College, Penticton

Time Agenda
8:45 am Registration Opens
9:15 am Welcome
Bryn White, SOSCP Manager
Opening Remarks
Darcy Henderson
Time Agenda
9:30 am

Species at Risk and Critical Habitat in the Okanagan: What you need to know, effective mitigation and environmental assessments –

Celina Willis – Canadian Wildlife Service / Alison Peatt -SOSCP

Overview of the legal context of species at risk in BC including: how QPs can find out information about and work with critical habitat, how to support species at risk recovery on private lands, how regional environmental assessments can be improved, and what effective mitigation looks like.

Celina Willis is a Conservation Project Development Officer for the Canadian Wildlife Service with a focus on consultation and engagement around species at risk. Celina has a BSc in biology from Queen’s University and a Masters in Resource and Environmental Management from Simon Fraser University.

Alison Peatt is a Registered Professional Biologist (R.P.Bio) with more than 30 years’ experience working in both the private and public sectors. Alison works in partnership with SOSCP and South Okanagan Similkameen local governments as a Shared Environmental Planner to provide advice on development planning consistent with environmental regulations and values.

Time Agenda
10:30 am

Research Findings, Threats and Mitigation Strategies for SARA-Listed Amphibians and Snakes

Orville Dyer and Jamie Leathem – Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resources and Rural Development.

11:00 am

New Small Mammal Research Priorities for BC – Southern Interior Species

Orville Dyer – Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resources and Rural Development.

Orville is a wildlife biologist working for the provincial government in the Okanagan for over 35 years. Past work focused mostly on species and ecosystems at risk. Orville is now coordinating the BC response to white-nose syndrome.

Time Agenda

Light Lunch (Provided)

12:30 pm

KEYNOTE: Integrating Traditional Ecological Knowledge and the need for 
 collaboration between the Indigenous community and Western Science Methods

Dr. Jeannette Armstrong, Canada Research Chair in Okanagan Indigenous Knowledge and Philosophy, UBC Okanagan.

Jeannette Armstrong is a Syilx Okanagan Canadian, knowledge keeper, internationally recognized writer, educator, researcher, artist, sculptor, and activist. Jeanette is passionate about indigenous research that advances knowledge and will better guide environmental practices.

Her research into Indigenous philosophies and Okanagan Syilx thought and environmental ethics that are coded into Syilx literature is recognized locally and globally, and she serves as an active member of the Okanagan Nation Alliance and the En’owkin Centre. Jeanette was central to the founding of the South Okanagan Similkameen Conservation Program partnership, and the intention and practice of many working as one for advancement of environmental and cultural knowledge and sustainability in our region.

Time Agenda
1:15 pm

Advances in the Treatment and Management of Psoroptes Ovis in Bighorn Sheep

Adam Hering – Western College of Veterinary Medicine


Treatment trial performed to test the efficacy of two new drugs for the treatment of psoroptic mange in Bighorn sheep through a joint effort of the Western College of Veterinary Medicine, Penticton Indian Band and the BC Ministry of Forests Lands and Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development throughout 2017 and 2018. Will highlight treatment trial results, diagnostic testing results, management implications, and future research priorities.

Dr. Adam Hering is a veterinarian and PhD student at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine studying wildlife epidemiology. He graduated veterinary school from the University of Calgary and then spent one year in mixed-animal practice before beginning a PhD and partnering with the BC provincial wildlife biologists and the Penticton Indian Band to investigate potential treatment options for psoroptes in bighorn sheep.

Time Agenda
1:45 pm

Syilx Grizzly Bear Recovery Initiatives

Cailyn Glasser – Okanagan Nation Alliance Natural Resources Department


Okanagan Nation Alliance continues to work on projects and initiatives that support the full protection and recovery of Grizzly bears in Syilx Territory and with neighbouring First Nations. Through this presentation, the ONA will share our projects and initiatives to date, prospective work for 2019 and how it all ties to the bigger Grizzly bear recovery picture.

Time Agenda
2:15 pm

Flood-dependent forests in a flood-intolerant world: can we coexist with cottonwood?

Kasey Moran

An investigation of the current demographics of cottonwood forests in the Okanagan-Similkameen and the impact of river diking, channelization, and land use. Local restoration projects with early outcomes will be highlighted and predictions and recommendations for coexisting with cottonwood now and in the future will be discussed.

Kasey Moran is a PhD candidate in the Stream and Riparian Areas Research Lab at UBC Vancouver. She is currently studying the effects of river diking and channelization on cottonwood forests in the Okanagan-Similkameen.

Time Agenda
2:45 pm

Reconnecting Floodplain Ecosystems

Karilyn Alex – Okanagan Nation Alliance Fisheries Department

3:15 pm

Comparing habitat use and travel corridors of range-edge Canada lynx and bobcat and Canada lynx response to habitat fragmentation

Arthur Scully – Trent University

Along the Canada-US border bobcat are at their leading range-edge, Canada lynx are at their trailing range-edge, and both of their ranges overlap. We compare how these two similar species are selecting habitat and travel corridors along this shared range-edge. Canada lynx experience decreasing habitat fragmentation north of their trailing range-edge because of reduced human activity and increasing habitat heterogeneity. By comparing the movement of Canada lynx on a latitudinal gradient from their southern range-edge to the core of their range, this research explores how Canada lynx may use differing travel patterns to persist in heavily fragmented habitats.

Arthur Scully completed his BSc. and MSc. at Washington State University studying wildlife Ecology. For his MSc. research, he studied Canada lynx’s habitat selection response to the presence of bobcat and cougar in Washington State. Arthur is currently a PhD candidate at Trent University, studying bobcat and Canada lynx habitat selection, travel corridors, and behaviour in response to habitat fragmentation. He has been collecting data on bobcat and Canada lynx in the Okanagan using GPS collars.

Time Agenda
3:45 pm

Southern Interior Mule Deer Project

Chloe Wright – UBC Okanagan

The Southern Interior mule deer project is a collaborative effort between UBC – Okanagan, British Columbia Fish and Wildlife Branch, BC Wildlife Federation, The University of Idaho and the Okanagan Nations Alliance with funding support from the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation and numerous fish and game clubs throughout southern BC. The project was initiated because mule deer populations in southern BC are suspected to be declining. The causes of this decline are unclear due to multiple, simultaneous changes in the landscape including increasing predator densities, human development, competition with other ungulates, and wildfire suppression. This project will help disentangle which mechanisms are driving deer populations in southern BC. The results from this research will help ensure that communities, stakeholders, and managers are using their limited funds to conserve habitats that have the greatest impact on mule deer in BC.

Chloe is a PhD candidate at the University of British Columbia – Okanagan studying in Dr. Adam Ford’s lab. In 2018 she earned her MSc in Wildlife Biology at the University of Montana where her thesis focused on white-tailed deer survival and movements in the Midwestern USA

The South Okanagan Similkameen Conservation Program is a partnership of fifty organizations working together to conserve the unique biodiversity and environment of this region. The membership is a diverse group of government, non-government, First Nations and academic institutions. SOSCP has been working collaboratively in South Okanagan Similkameen communities, coordinating and facilitating partner activities and improving the effectiveness of conservation efforts for over 18 years. our vision To maintain a healthy environment that sustains the diversity of indigenous plants and animals while enriching people’s lives.

The vision of SOSCP is to maintain a healthy environment that sustains the diversity of indigenous plants and animals while enriching people’s lives. The six broad strategic objectives that guide SOSCP activities are:

SOSCP recognizes that decisions, policies and practices are important to ecological conservation and works to provide the tools and guidance needed to make sustainable planning choices.

Sustainable Land Use Planning

Supporting the acquisition of key habitats includes purchases, covenants or donations of private land, often in conjunction with enhanced protection of Crown lands. Securement activities include restoration, care, and management of these important areas.

Securing Key Habitats

SOSCP promotes stewardship activities and encourages landowners to protect biodiversity, enhance habitat for plants and wildlife, and manage lands sustainably.

Enhancing Stewardship on Public and Private Land

Involving communities in conservation is essential. SOSCP support professional development workshops, school programs, festivals and outdoor seminars that foster a love and understanding of our natural environment.

Expanding Community Involvement

SOSCP is committed to using a science-based approach to guide actions and decision-making, and to promote and facilitate further scientific research for species and ecosystems at risk.

Applying a Science-Based Approach

The En'owkin Centre continues its work to recover, revitalize and perpetuate Syilx Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) so it can be applied throughout traditional Syilx territory.

Applying Traditional Ecological Knowledge

South Okanagan Similkameen Conservation Program