An American Kestrel sits atop a pole on Lakeshore Drive W. near Churches Thrift Shop in February 2020 and tears apart a rat it caught on the highway side of Lakeshore. (File photo)
An American Kestrel sits atop a pole on Lakeshore Drive W. near Churches Thrift Shop on Feb. 26 and tears apart a rat it caught on the highway side of Lakeshore. (Martha Wickett - Salmon Arm Observer)

An American Kestrel sits atop a pole on Lakeshore Drive W. near Churches Thrift Shop in February 2020 and tears apart a rat it caught on the highway side of Lakeshore. (File photo) An American Kestrel sits atop a pole on Lakeshore Drive W. near Churches Thrift Shop on Feb. 26 and tears apart a rat it caught on the highway side of Lakeshore. (Martha Wickett - Salmon Arm Observer)

Potential effect on raptors prompts Salmon Arm rodenticide ban on city property

City’s environmental advisory committee favours prevention, snap traps over pesticides for rats

A disoriented rat scurries down the sidewalk as it slowly dies from poisoning. A hawk spots it and dives, soon devouring it.

This is a scenario the city’s environmental advisory committee wants to stop.

On March 8, committee member Amy Vallarino urged the city to join a growing list of municipalities committed to a ban of rodenticides (defined as chemicals or other agents used to kill rats or other rodents) on city property.

Vallarino pointed out that Salmon Arm is known for its bird-watching, making the cut in 2017 as one of the best places for birding in B.C.

She referred to the city’s current rat problem. She recently spoke to her neighbour who has lived in Salmon Arm for 35 years, and this is the first time he’s caught rats.

Not every one will want to use a trap so they usually go to the easiest option, the bait box.

“Whatever eats the bait at the bottom, it makes its way all the way through the food web, right to the top…” she said. “Specific to Salmon Arm, we’re talking about the owls, the hawks, the raptors.”

She said an owl can eat 1,000 rodents a year. “That’s called bio-accumulation of the poison.”

Everyone knows you can’t eat tuna every day or you die of mercury poisoning, she added.

“It’s the same concept here, but the poor owl doesn’t know it’s eating poison.”

Read more: Rats rear their pointy heads in Salmon Arm

Read more: Resident issues warning after rats found in another area of Salmon Arm

Read more: City of Salmon Arm facilities not plagued by rats, no rodenticide used

She said the province has adopted integrated pest management, where a variety of methods are used, with ones that harm the ecosystem as a last resort.

Early options would include prevention, cleaning up the backyard of attractants like compost and bird feeders, and screening holes where rats might enter a home. Next would come snap traps or other traps.

A third option could be supporting an increase in raptors and owls, by increasing their nesting habitat. Fourth would be pesticides.

“If you rely only on pesticides or rodenticides, you end up killing your birds of prey who are your biological control agent.”

She urged the city to ban the use of anticoagulant rodenticides on all city-owned properties, as well as continuing and increasing its existing education program. Anticoagulant rodenticides thin the rat’s blood so it bleeds to death internally, sometimes taking up to two weeks, council heard.

“I don’t think a lot of citizens really mean to harm an ecosystem. Or have even thought about it. They just say, ‘I have a problem in my backyard and how do I deal with it.’”

Coun. Sylvia Lindgren, chair of the city’s environmental advisory committee, brought forward a new policy.

The focus was the rodenticide ban on city-owned properties, as well as a request to the B.C. government to introduce a province-wide ban. It also included an education component and a direction to incorporate humane practices – such as the integrated pest management approach where prevention and snap traps would be part of the solution.

Staff said they’re aware of previous problems with rodents at the wastewater treatment plant, when contractors were brought in.

Because Lindgren’s motion was not for a bylaw, it can be adjusted to meet the needs of city staff.

After clarifications and discussion, council voted unanimously in support.
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Salmon Arm council

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Windsurfers enjoying a windstorm on Skaha Lake in Penticton on March 28, 2021. (Sandy Steck Photography)
Wind warning issued for Okanagan Valley

Boaters are being warned of gusts up to 70 km/h by late afternoon on Sunday

Vernon Vipers forward Ryan Shostak (centre) fends off a check from Salmon Arm defenceman to get a close-in scoring attempt on Silverbacks goalie Owen Say during Vernon’s 3-2 B.C. Hockey League pod play shootout victory Saturday, April 17, at Kal Tire Place. (Lisa Mazurek - Vernon Vipers photography)
Vernon Vipers use shootout to subdue Salmon Arm

Snakes score 3-2 B.C. Hockey League pod play win at Kal Tire Place

Coldstream Fire Department crews stationed at Kal Lake Provincial Park parking lot on Cosens Bay Road on Sunday, April 18, after a car went over a cliff in the area. (Roger Knox - Morning Star)
Driver escapes after car goes over cliff in Coldstream near Kal Lake Park

The driver has been transported to hospital with unspecified injuries

A GoFundMe page has been launched for a Vernon man whose BX orchard property home off Pleasant Valley Road near Stickle Road was totally destroyed in a fire Saturday, April 17. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
Fundraising campaign launched for Vernon man who lost home to fire

A GoFundMe page has been started by family; man taken to hospital with injuries from fire

Each spring, the Okanagan Fest-of-Ale is held in Penticton. This year, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the festival will not be held. However, beer is still available. How much do you know about this beverage? (
QUIZ: How much do you really know about beer?

Put your knowledge to the test with this short quiz

Vancouver resident Beryl Pye was witness to a “concerning,” spontaneous dance party that spread throughout social groups at Kitsilano Beach on April 16. (Screen grab/Beryl Pye)
VIDEO: Dance party erupts at Vancouver’s Kitsilano Beach to the dismay of onlookers

‘It was a complete disregard for current COVID-19 public health orders,’ says Vancouver resident Beryl Pye

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during Question Period in the House of Commons Tuesday December 8, 2020 in Ottawa. The stage is set for arguably the most important federal budget in recent memory, as the Liberal government prepares to unveil its plan for Canada’s post-pandemic recovery even as a third wave of COVID-19 rages across the country. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Election reticence expected to temper political battle over federal budget

Opposition parties have laid out their own demands in the weeks leading up to the budget

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A Kelowna Pride Festival 2019 participant holds up a flag. (Kelowna Pride Society)
Kelowna Pride, RCMP continue to work on ‘Safe Place Program’

A new committee has been formed to refine the ‘Safe Place Program’ created by the Kelowna RCMP

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

A strange odour at a West Kelowna apartment building prompted the evacuation of 150 residents on Sunday morning, April 18. (Aaron Hemens - Capital News)
Strange smell at West Kelowna apartment prompts evacuation of 150 residents, pets

150 residents ordered evacuated from a West Kelowna apartment building early Sunday morning

This is what’s left of a truck that caught fire at Pyramid Provincial Park off Highway 97 near Summerland Saturday night. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Photo Gallery: Truck gutted by fire at popular Okanagan park, trees saved

Just a metal shell of what once was a pick up truck is left at the scene

A syringe is loaded with COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to open up COVID vaccine registration to all B.C. residents 18+ in April

Registration does not equate to being able to book an appointment

(Black Press file photo).
UPDATED: Multiple stabbings at Vancouver Island bush party

Three youths hospitalized after an assault in Comox

Most Read