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The Okanagan and Similkameen are known for the beautiful shrub-grasslands that cover the rolling hills of our valleys. Unfortunately, these grasslands are among Canadas most endangered natural habitats.  These ecosystems are critical in supporting hundreds of different species of plants, animals, and insects  In addition to their beauty, our grasslands also provide us with excellent recreation opportunities and important grazing lands.


Grassland areas are sensitive and vulnerable to a number of human-related disturbances such as intensive recreational use, intensive livestock grazing, and both agricultural and urban development. Destruction and deterioration of grassland communities primarily occurs through direct removal and degradation of vegetation, and from the introduction of invasive plant and animal species. Contemporary practices of fire suppression and intensive grazing by livestock, have dramatically changed the structure, extent,ecology, and health of Okanagan grasslands in comparison to traditional Indigenous management. 

It is important we treat our grasslands with respect to ensure these benefits can continue for years to come.


What can grasslands do for you?

  • Healthy grasslands have fewer invasive plants and can be less susceptible to severe wildfire due to less fuel build-up

  • The deep, extensive root systems of grasses and grassland plants prevents soil erosion and nutrient loss, and stabilizes slopes.

  • Many of the pollinators that we depend on also depend on the many wildflowers that occur in healthy grassland

  • Grasslands play a critical role in storing carbon in their deep root systems, helping reduce greenhouse gasses

  • Water runoff from rain or flooding gets filtered as it soaks through the roots and soils in grasslands.

  • Grasslands provide permeable areas for rainwater and runoff to soak deep into the ground and replenish groundwater sources

Which local species depend on grasslands?

Further Reading & Resources

BC Grasslands Conservation Council:

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