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The Okanagan Desert is the common name for a semi-arid area located in the South Okanagan Valley region of British Columbia, Canada, primarily around the town of Osoyoos. Part of the area is called the Nk'mip Desert by the Osoyoos Indian Band, though the entire region, like other similar parts of the British Columbia Interior, is technically a semi-arid shrub-steppe.
While some areas in British Columbia are more arid, the South Okanagan shrub-steppe contains several species of plants and animals not found elsewhere in Canada. It is the presence of these specific plants in the Antelope-brush ecosystem that is claimed to make the area unique from other semi-desert areas in British Columbia. The South Okanagan shrub-steppe ecosystem is a habitat for 30% of the Red-listed and 46% of the Blue-listed vertebrates in British Columbia, with several listed as threatened or endangered. More than 24 invertebrates exist only in the Okanagan Desert, with an additional 80 species occurring nowhere else in Canada.
- burrowing owl
- western screech owl
- peregrine falcon
- sage grouse
- sage thrasher
- pallid bat
- western red bat
- tiger salamander
- western ridge mussel
- northern leopard frog
Organizations in desert
There are multiple groups or organizations located in the Okanagan Desert. The Osoyoos Band, a First Nations government located in British Columbia, runs the Nk'Mip Desert Cultural Centre as part of its resort and winery complex, which is located on the east side of Osoyoos. The Osoyoos Desert Society, a non-profit society founded in 1991, maintains the Osoyoos Desert Centre, a 67-acre nature interpretive facility 3 km (2 mi) north of Osoyoos off Highway 97. The Osoyoos Lake Water Quality Society – which focuses on the impact and relationship of the South Okanagan shrub-steppe ecosystem with Osoyoos Lake – is a community public relations organization.
- John B. Theberge. "What's in a Name". Osoyoos Desert Society. Retrieved 18 February 2019.
- G.G.E. Scudder (15 February 1999). "The Osoyoos Desert Society: Experimental Studies on Ecological Restoration of the Shrub-Steppe Habitat; In: Proceedings of a Conference on the Biology and Management of Species and Habitats at Risk, Kamloops, B.C" (PDF). B.C. Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks, Victoria, B.C. and University College of the Cariboo, Kamloops, B.C. Retrieved 18 February 2019.
- Dyer, Orville. 2002. List of Species at Risk: South Okanagan-Similkameen Conservation Program Study Area updated to May, 2002. Ministry of Water, Land and Air Protection, Penticton, British Columbia.
- "Spaces and species: South Okanagan-Similkameen Conservation Project". Penticton, BC: South Okanagan Similkameen Conservation Program. 2016. Retrieved 24 November 2016.
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- "Wildlife of Osoyoos Lake and Area". Osoyoos Lake Water Quality Society. 2019. Retrieved 18 February 2019.
- "Regions: wine is geography". Kelowna, BC: British Columbia Wine Institute. 2016. Retrieved 24 November 2016.
- "Osoyoos Lake Water Quality Society: What we do". Osoyoos Lake Water Quality Society. 2019. Retrieved 18 February 2019.
- "Pocket Desert - Confessions of a Snake Killer" (SWF). NFB.ca. National Film Board of Canada.
- Hamilton, Donald (January 19, 2001). "Pocket Desert: Confessions of a Snake Killer". Canadian Materials. Manitoba Library Association. VII (10). Retrieved 21 April 2011.