Lend a hand to the Okanagan Similkameen Stewardship Society and the Historic O’Keefe Ranch in repairing riparian areas along the creek at the ranch this Sept. 28 to mark BC Rivers Day. (Files)

Vernon to show shoreline some love to celebrate BC Rivers Day

Volunteers wanted to help with riparian restoration on O’Keefe Ranch

Celebrate BC Rivers Day next weekend by showing the Deep Creek shoreline some love.

Join the Okanagan Similkameen Stewardship Society and the Historic O’Keefe Ranch in repairing riparian areas along the creek at the ranch.

Riparian areas are crucial for the ecosystem. These areas of thick plant growth alongside water act as the last line of defence for runoff. A healthy riparian area helps filter out pollutants and sediment from water running off lands into water sources. But due to urban and agricultural development, more than 75 per cent of riparian habitats have been lost in the Okanagan, according to the stewardship society.

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The roots of vegetation, such as native trees, shrubs and wildflowers, also help stabilize stream banks, decrease soil erosion and aid in flood protection by slowing and absorbing high stream flows.

Wildlife, including the Western Screech Owl and Lewis’s Woodpecker, rely on healthy riparian areas too. According to the stewardship society, around 85 per cent of all Okanagan species use these areas regularly; finding shelter, water, food and nesting site.

Treed areas benefit the fish as well by creating shade and cooling the water during the hot season—this is vital for Salmon and other fish that breed in streams and rivers.

The ranch and stewardship society are looking for people to join them on Sept. 28 at 10 a.m., pick up a shovel and lend a helping hand. Those interested are to wear closed-toe shoes, gloves and a shovel, if possible. Snacks and refreshments will be provided.

For more information, visit Okanagan Similkameen Stewardship at osstewardship.ca.

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