With the holiday season upon us, we'd like to extend a heartfelt thank you to our Partners, funding supporters, community members, and readers for your continued support and for helping us keep nature in our future. 

From all of us at OCCP we wish you and your loved ones a very happy holiday season!

2018 has truly been an excellent year filled with many local conservation success stories. We'd like to take the opportunity to share two key successes with you.

2018 marked a step towards the establishment of the North Okanagan Conservation Fund. Over the summer, the Regional District of North Okanagan Board gave a first reading for a bylaw to create a Conservation Fund that will support biodiversity conservation projects in the North Okanagan. Although there is still more work to be done to get this fund established, this is a step in the right direction for conservation in our region. 

A conservation fund provides the means for local governments and conservation organizations to secure ecologically significant lands, protect natural ecosystems, enhance livability within the region, and create a legacy that will benefit future generations. - Conservation Fund Guide for BC

In 2018, the District of Lake Country, the Regional District of Central Okanagan, the University of British Columbia Okanagan Campus (UBCO), and OCCP made great strides towards protecting habitat connectivity in the Okanagan. This year the District of Lake Country included the northern 16km section of a 65km ecological corridor into a draft of their new Official Community Plan (OCP). Council has given first reading to the OCP and a public hearing is scheduled early in the new year. This corridor provides critical habitat for an array of plants and animals that are unique and rare, and some are found nowhere else in Canada. This important habitat allows species to forage, migrate and find a mate which is essential for their long-term survival. It also links the core protected habitat areas found in Okanagan Mountain and Kalamalka Lake Provincial Parks. 

The Kalamalka-Okanagan Mountain connectivity route is critically important because it’s the last low elevation route below the tree line that bypasses the City of Kelowna. - Dr. Lael Parrott, Professor, Sustainability, UBCO

Thank you to our partners for collaborating through the OCCP to realize a vision for healthy ecosystems and habitat networks that are valued and conserved by decision-makers and citizens alike. The programs and initiatives you are a part of help to support biodiversity conservation. We look forward to creating more conservation success stories in 2019!