Okanagan and Similkameen regions have lost up to 90% of wetlands since 1800

Kelowna Capital News – February 6, 2020

About 90 per cent of low elevation wetlands have been lost in the Okanagan and Similkameen regions since 1800, according to the Okanagan Basin Water Board (OBWB).

The board said 38 per cent of the low elevation wetland loss in the Okanagan and Similkameen regions has occurred between 1988 and 2010.

The board said there are multiple reasons for why the wetlands have been diminishing at such a rapid rate.

“Unfortunately, wetlands have been lost or impacted by urban development, agriculture, forestry, encroachment of invasive species and climate change,” said the board in a press release.

To help combat the issue, the board recently unveiled a new Okanagan Wetland Action Plan. 

As part of the action plan, a Wetland Advisory Committee would be formed to advocate for better municipal laws around wetland protection.

The plan would aim to prevent any further net loss of Okanagan wetland area by 2025 and to achieve a net gain in Okanagan wetland area by 2030.

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