Recommended Environmental Management Practices for Vineyards

Site selection and land clearing

  • Okanagan Similkameen VineyardChoose previously developed agricultural land for a vineyard rather than converting sensitive natural habitat to vineyard.
  • During vineyard establishment, minimize the footprint of disturbance. Don’t automatically remove ground cover from the entire property. Consider retaining native ground cover and plants in gullies, property margins, rocky slopes and Okanagan Similkameen Vineyardareas unsuitable for cultivation. Reestablishing native ground cover is much more difficult than protecting it during building.
  • Protect natural habitat around your property. Don’t use gullies as dumping grounds and avoid cutting into the hillsides and destabilizing slopes.
  • Time major construction or replanting to avoid unnecessary impacts on wildlife. Mid-October to March are the best times.
Okanagan Similkameen Conservation Alliance  vineyard
Okanagan Similkameen Conservation Alliance  vineyard_rows
Habitat buffers
  • Okanagan Similkameen Vineyard BuffersUse buffer strips to protect sensitive wildlife habitat during land clearing and to absorb agricultural chemical runoff.
  • Natural habitat areas support beneficial insects and have been shown to reduce the need for pesticide applications.
  • Follow best management guidelines to prevent pesticides, nutrient and sediment run-off that might contaminate aquatic or riparian areas on your property and harm native fish and amphibians.
Okanagan Similkameen Conservation Alliance  vineyard_buffers
Living with wildlife (also see living with wildlife section)
  • Accidental traps: Trenches and irrigation valve boxes can attract and trap snakes, amphibians, and rodents. For worker safety, make sure valve covers are lifted off carefully to check for snakes. To prevent small animals getting trapped in valve boxes or ponds, put rocks or sloped surfaces in the water to create haul-out spots.
  • Travel corridors: Wildlife may need to use your property at certain times of year. Consult local wildlife advisors to OSCA Snake Workshopensure that wildlife travel routes are not completely blocked by fencing. Large fenced fields should have a second gate that can be opened if animals get trapped.
  • Snakes: Seven species of snakes occur and only one is potentially venomous. Provide artificial cover boards or rock piles as hiding spots located away from busy work areas. Train field crews to avoid killing snakes during vineyard activities. Contact outreach@osca.org if you would like Dogs in Vineyardshelp with snake safety training and management.
  • Wildlife crop damage: Dogs are a great way to keep away birds and rodents as are owls, hawks and snakes. Investigate non-lethal physical and biological methods of discouraging wildlife that destroy crops - such as wildlife-proof fencing. Avoid non-selective trapping of rodents and birds. Make sure anti-bird netting is properly staked and fastened to prevent birds getting trapped inside.
Okanagan Similkameen Conservation Alliance  deer_snared
Okanagan Similkameen Conservation Alliance  snake_workshop
Okanagan Similkameen Conservation Alliance  dogs_vineyards
Share good environmental practices with staff
  • Snake FenceBe compliant with federal and provincial legislation affecting species and habitats at risk in your area. Communicate best management practices with all your employees including seasonal employees. Lastly, work with neighbouring property owners to protect natural vegetation areas and control invasive weeds. Consider joint projects to protect adjacent natural habitats.

Okanagan Similkameen Conservation Alliance  snake_fence