Forest Investment Account (FIA) - Land Base Investment Program
FIA Project 5087001

    Mahoney Lake and Willowbrook Ecosystem Restoration, Okanagan Shuswap Forest District
Project lead: Glenn Thiem (Forsite Consultants Ltd)
Author: Oaten, Dustin K.
Subject: Forest Investment Account (FIA), British Columbia
Series: Forest Investment Account (FIA) - Land Base Investment Program
The White Lake Grasslands Protected Area (WLGPA) is located near Oliver, British Columbia (BC) and protects 3700 ha of threatened grassland and forest habitats. A large part of this protected area is within the Ponderosa Pine biogeoclimatic zone (PPxh1) and is ecologically linked to the Sonoran, Mojave, and Chihuahua Deserts within the United States. The primary role of the WLGPA is to protect red-and-blue listed wildlife species and the habitats they rely on. These habitats include very hot and dry grasslands and open pine forests. These ecosystems have been subject to severe tree in growth and a large build up of both fine and large fuels this has led to a degradation of these ecosystems. The Ministry of Environment recognizes that
ecosystem restoration within the WLGPA is required due to an absence of stand maintaining fires. This fire suppression has resulted in dramatic ecosystem changes including a shift from open forests with large veteran pines (Pinus ponderosa) to dense forested stands of young pines and shade tolerant Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii var. glauca). It has also resulted in increased fuel loads that amplify the potential for more severe fires which may destroy both mature trees and large snags. Following the
wildfires of 2003, The Firestorm Review made several specific recommendations applicable to BC Parks, the most important being the reduction of hazardous fuel build-up. BC Parks prepared a prioritized list of parks where fuel management activities should be considered. Results of the BC Parks and Protected Areas Wildfire Risk assessment for the Southern Interior, identified WLGPA as the second highest priority in terms of fuel management priority as 80.4% of the total park area has been identified as having high to moderate fuel hazard rating - with 4.7% rated as high risk and 75.7% as moderate risk. In response to the need for ecosystem restoration, the Ministry of Environment in Penticton, BC, has completed some works, including thinning and
pruning, with debris left on site, within the WLGPA in an area west of Mahoney Lake. The intention of these prescriptions was to restore these areas to better resemble historical ecosystem structure. The prescriptions were also developed to improve
ecosystem conditions for the white-headed woodpecker (Picoides albolarvatus) - an endangered species in British Columbia. The Ministry also attempted to deal with the on-site debris by conducting a prescribed burn in the project area. However, the fire was deemed to be relatively ineffective at removing the debris and it was deemed that hand piling and burning would be necessary to deal with further debris. Ecosystem Restoration treatment prescriptions were developed to complete activities within two areas, Mahoney Lake and Willowbrook. The intention of these prescriptions was to develop treatments which would work to restore the sites to pre-European contact conditions, to reduce the associated fire hazard, and restore the site for White-headed
Contact: Glenn Thiem, 250-832-3366,


Executive Summary (1.4Mb)

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Updated August 16, 2010 

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