Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations

South Okanagan Wildlife Management Area

About This Wildlife Management Area

Date Designated: April 14, 1994

Purpose: Management of habitat primarily for ecosystems and species at risk.

Size: 903 hectares

Region: Thompson/Okanagan

Location and Maps

North of Osoyoos between Vaseux Lake and Osoyoos Lake

Nature and Culture


Species and ecosystems values in this WMA are of high provincial significance and provide habitat for Behr's Hairstreak Butterfly, Lewis' Woodpecker, Yellow-breasted Chat, Bobolink, Lark Sparrow, Gopher Snake, Racer, Painted Turtle, Spotted and Pallid Bats, Fringed Myotis and Nuttall's Cottontail. Many rare birds may be seen in migration throughout the WMA and it is one of the few places in the Okanagan River system where Sockeye Salmon still spawn. In addition, there are numerous examples of invertebrates that are known in Canada only from this locality. South Okanagan Wildlife Management Area

Physiography, Climate and Vegetation

Dominated by the hot, dry summers of the South Okanagan, this WMA is comprised of sandy glacial outwash deposits and dry benchlands, with globally imperiled antelope-brush, riparian woodlands, marshes and ponds. The WMA is made up of a core area and numerous discrete parcels of land - particularly isolated relict river oxbows. The larger portion is located on the old floodplain of the Okanagan River. The floodplain contains water-filled oxbows - once cut off from the Okanagan River Flood Control Channel but reconnected by a weir constructed by Ducks Unlimited Canada - and flatlands dissected by numerous old in-filled oxbows in different successional stages.

Compatible Resource and Recreation Uses

A portion of this WMA is grazed under range use tenure that is managed to ensure habitat objectives are not negatively affected. Adjacent properties include the Haynes Lease Ecological Reserve and properties owned by The Nature Trust of BC, The Nature Conservancy of Canada and Ducks Unlimited Canada. Several Wildlife Habitat Areas are designated within the WMA to mitigate the effects on species and ecosystems from livestock grazing which is permitted through range tenure agreements.

Management Planning

Information on management direction is available from the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations regional office.