In this issue:

Reflecting On Our Cooperation
Supporting Our Species – SOS
OCCP Action Team News
Partner & Conservation News
Conferences & Workshops
Events
Employment Opportunities
Funding Opportunities
Resources

Reflecting On Our Cooperation

As we celebrate "back-to-school", and the collaborative power of the labour movement in September, we invite you to consider how the Statement of Cooperation that OCCP's 35 member organizations have committed to, outlines priorities and commitments for collaborative conservation for the next generation:

We believe that it is not too late to save the natural system for our children and for their children

We have today an opportunity for action as unique as the natural system itself. All the necessary factors for a successful conservation program are in place. Governments (including First Nations), non-government organizations, community groups and individuals are aware of the many challenges to the natural system. We have the desire to preserve this special place. The sound science we need to make informed policy choices is at hand. The commitment to cooperation and partnerships is stronger than ever.

We believe that protecting this special place is our shared responsibility

With this Statement of Cooperation we are focusing the energies and efforts of the conservation partners so that each can make a distinctive yet coordinated contribution toward addressing the environmental challenges facing the natural system. We will engage the considerable skills, energy and resources of governments, community groups, educators, youth, workers, industry, and business.

We intend to work through the many cooperative mechanisms currently in place to inform and involve local governments, community groups, educators, youth, workers, industry, and business. This will help ensure an open and transparent process of establishing priorities, identifying opportunities for effective cooperative action, and measuring progress. We will work with and be guided by community-supported, broad-based planning initiatives that affect the Okanagan natural system. The Growth Management Strategies and Official Community Plans of Regional Districts in the Okanagan will be key planning tools that will help to focus our efforts in the Okanagan natural system."

Contact us today to find out how OCCP can help you meet your conservation goals! This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Supporting Our Species — SOS

Development: will it be displacement, death, or deliverance for other species?

On a recent delegation, one of our esteemed councillors asked us what OCCP's role is in terms of development. OCCP exists to provide information and support for conservation initiatives that are brought forward. Our partners, associates, and community members observe opportunities for conservation, and we help them work collaboratively to find a solution. OCCP is often approached about instances where development and rare species intersect, and we are considering a variety of ways to help all species coexist with our human habitats.

The American avocet is a large slender migratory shorebird with a long recurved bill, spindly legs, and a long neck. Its wings and back are black and white, and the head and neck are rusty during breeding season. Their small, but expanding populations rely on wetlands, ponds, and alkaline lakes. They are on the BC Blue List, and are considered to be of Special Concern due to immediate threats to the major breeding areas. They travel throughout the Okanagan, and are known to breed at Alki Lake near Kelowna. Most breeding sites are temporary, and often only in use for one year, but Alki Lake is the one exception. It is the major breeding site in British Columbia, and the only site known to have been in regular use since at least 1987

The western skink is a very secretive reptile, and there are many things we do not know about their life history. They live in grassland, open woodland, and rocky areas near streams, but their range is restricted by the availability of talus slopes and deep fissured rock outcrops for hibernacula in proximity to south-facing slopes. This species is listed under the Federal Species At Risk Act, but this legislation is limited to Federal lands, and populations in other areas are left with little protection. The main threat to this species is from loss of habitat through urban and agricultural development, habitat fragmentation, and an increase in cats and recreational use. Protecting rocky outcroppings and maintaining the connections between core habitat and water would go a long way for helping this species survive.

One of the most asked questions at events this year was "Do we still have badgers in the Okanagan?". We do still see badgers living in our Parks and Protected Areas, but much of their wide ranges are on private land. There are estimated to be only 200300 breeding adult American badgers in British Columbia, with at least two relatively distinct populations, in the ThompsonOkanagan, and the East Kootenay. Relatively low levels of genetic variation and exchange with other populations outside of the Thompson-Okanagan make this population at considerable conservation risk. It is on the BC Red List, and a Federal Species at Risk, and is in great threat of extirpation from BC by continued loss of habitat to development, mortality from roadkill, and the small and dispersed populations.

This summer Brady Strachan reported for CBC that four badgers were struck and killed by vehicles on Okanagan highways in two days, and that number represents about 2% of the entire BC badger population. Badgers in BC is developing a plan to encourage badgers to use culverts to cross roads. Meanwhile, they are asking for the public to report badger sightings, and to slow down at night for animals on the road. There is more information about badgers here [PDF] or view the provincial Recovery Strategy here. Read more below to find out how collaboration can make an impact for conservation in developing habitats.

OCCP Action Team News

Partnering for Planning

This year, OCCP will be facilitating a number of partnerships to enhance planning for biodiversity in the developing areas of the Okanagan. One of the great opportunities we will facilitate this year is planning for connectivity throughout the Okanagan. By planning ahead to maintain connections and corridors between large habitat patches, and we can help populations stay connected to each other, to their food and water, and to the migratory pathways that many animals follow through this region annually.

The Regional District of Central Okanagan has led a partnership with Dr. Lael Parrott at UBCO, and OCCP to map most likely corridors of movement for wildlife in the valley. These corridors were reviewed by representatives from government, First Nations, environmental NGOs, and academia at a workshop, and input about the corridors was collected. The consensus at the workshop was that an Action Team should be formed to begin to pinpoint the locations of the corridors on a more local scale, and decide how best to protect these corridors in partnership with all stakeholders.

A summary report about the workshop will inform the Action Team's next steps, and OCCP will help the team connect the plans for the central Okanagan with the rest of the region. A number of municipalities are reviewing their Official Community Plans this year, and we are hoping to work collaboratively to incorporate connectivity plans in these upcoming OCPs.

This year, OCCP is also facilitating environmental mapping for several municipalities to inform decisions about boating capacity of local lakes, and other types of development. We recently collaborated with the Grasslands Conservation Council, the Okanagan Basin Water Board, the BC Wildlife Federation, and the Community Mapping network to incorporate grassland and wetland mapping into the Okanagan Habitat Atlas. OCCP will bring planners together for a workshop in early November to share best practices for environmental planning and tackle some of the key pinch points for environmental planning. We will also continue to showcase "How Do We Get From Here To There", the museum exhibit about habitat connectivity, in educational venues throughout the Okanagan.

We look forward to seeing how our partnerships help build solutions for environmental plannning, and we would love to help you get involved in planning initiatives. If you would like to be involved in an Action Team for planning for connectivity in the Central Okanagan, contact the OCCP Projects Coordinator at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Partner & Conservation News

Critical Habitat mapping now available

Environment and Climate Change Canada and Parks Canada

Federal Critical Habitat identified under the Species at Risk Act within British Columbia is now available to the public via the BC Geographic Warehouse. This data includes both “Final” and “Proposed” critical habitat, as shown in the maps contained in federal recovery documents that are posted on the Species at Risk Public Registry. Environment and Climate Change Canada and Parks Canada are the custodians of this data. The data can be viewed in iMapBC 2.0 (In the layer library add “critical habitat for federally listed species at risk” under the “Fish, Wildlife and Plant Species” Group. Note that critical habitat polygons will only be shown when zoomed to a scale of 1:800,000 or larger).

Note this is federal data and is also available through Environment Canada and Climate Change through their Open Data Portal. Metadata describing this data is available by doing a search for “critical habitat” in the BC Data Catalogue which is part of the Geographic Data Discovery Service. You can download or connect to the data through the Data Distribution Service. Enquiries about this data are to be directed to the federal contacts listed in the BC metadata. We hope that providing the public access to this data through our customized provincial tools will create efficiencies in the work being done on species at risk and will facilitate using this information during decision-making.

Mission Creek restoration already performing as expected

Mission Creek Restoration Initiative

Four meander notches along the creek’s edge will provide enhanced kokanee and rainbow trout habitats.

Phase 1 of the Mission Creek Restoration Initiative (MCRI) is complete and already providing flood protection and environmental benefits. In April, after completion of the Stage-1 dike realignment, early freshet at 67 cubic metres per second overflowed creek banks where the dike had been removed, allowing water to slowly flow across the floodplain. As the water level across the floodplain increased, water started to flow back into the main creek channel near the west end of the project area.

Stage 2 is also complete, and boasts four meander notches filled with large woody debris along the creek’s edge that will provide enhanced kokanee and rainbow trout rearing and resting habitats. Each meander measures about 30 metres long, six meters wide, and one metre deep.

Phase-1 partners and supporters are gathering September 14th from 1:30-3:30pm for the official ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate project completion. If you’d like to join us, please contact Joanne at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. For more up-to-the-minute information about MCRI, visit the website. Check out our video and Phase-1 Construction Fact Sheet

Managing Director appointed to Grasslands Conservation Council of BC

Grasslands Conservation Council of BC

The SOSCP newsletter reported last month that David Hillary has joined the Grasslands Conservation Council of British Columbia (GCC) as the Managing Director:

"For more than 20 years, Dave has been championing innovation, large landscape conservation, and sustainability. Most recently he was President and CEO of Conservation by Design Inc. and is a former Program Manager and Director of Development with the Nature Conservancy Canada. The Grasslands Conservation Council of British Columbia is dedicated to the stewardship and conservation of the rare grasslands of BC and works to provide methods and tools to better care for them."

The OCCP has recently had the pleasure of connecting with David, and we are looking forward to collaborating with him and the GCC further in the coming year.

Conservation Fund being established in the South Okanagan

South Okanagan Similkameen Conservation Program (SOSCP)

On July 7th, the RDOS Board gave third reading to a service bylaw to establish a Conservation Fund for the South Okanagan region. The bylaw goes to the Inspector of Municipalities for approval, then back to the Board for Adoption and out for public assent later this fall.

If fully adopted, the South Okanagan Conservation Fund will collect an average of $10 per household, per year in the City of Penticton, District of Summerland, Town of Oliver, and RDOS Electoral Areas of A, C, D, E and F.

Attributes of the fund include:

  • The Conservation Fund will be a regional, dedicated source of funding from a property levy of on average of $10 per household
  • Conservation organizations will be able to apply each year for funding to support conservation
  • The conservation fund could generate over $400,000 each year to support conservation efforts in the South Okanagan

Fundraising for the Okanagan Rail Trail

The process to convert rails to trails is already underway along the Okanagan Rail Trail. The rail trail will provide a tremendous opportunity to experience and learn about the rich habitats of the Okanagan. It will get vehicles off the road, especially in Lake Country and Kelowna where the route will be used for safe commuting. It will connect communities, and people of all ages and abilities. It will be a legacy for future generations.

There are many opportunities for communities to help create this legacy, one meter at a time (1 m of trail = $160). All donations are received by the Community Foundation of the North Okanagan and the Central Okanagan Foundation, and will go towards the development of the trail in its entirety. Visit the website to find out how you can donate and get involved! Let's Make It Happen!

Environmental Advisory Commission

Regional District of Central Okanagan (RDCO)

RDCO is seeking to add members to the Environmental Advisory Commission. If you are aware of someone who may be interested in this opportunity, please feel free to forward the attachment as Planning staff is currently welcoming membership applications and inquiries.

The Commission works with staff to advise the Regional Board on the environmental aspects of land use planning and impact on environmental sustainability. Commission members will be selected on the basis of their demonstrated interest and participation in community matters, availability, work experience, knowledge and background in the environment. Meetings are held approximately once a month at the Regional District office.

To be considered for this volunteer opportunity, please submit a brief outline of your background and experience online, or by forwarding to the Planning Section:

Phone: 250-469-6227
Fax: 250-762-7011
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
In Person: 1450 KLO Road, Kelowna, BC

A link to the agenda for this meeting of the Environmental Advisory Commission can be found on the Enviornmental Advisory Commission webpage.

Conferences & Workshops

Webinar: Decision Support Tools for Prioritizing Barriers to Aquatic Connectivit

BC Wildlife Federation

Erik Martin (The Nature Conservancy) Wed, Oct 19, 2016 6:00 AM - 7:00 AM PD Please see the website for more information.

BC Mine Reclamation Symposium Returns to Its Roots in the Okanagan

The BC Technical and Research Committee on Reclamation is hosting its 40th annual BC Mine Reclamation Symposium at the Penticton Lakeside Resort from September 19-22, 2016. The symposium was first held at Vernon Lodge in 1977, and has travelled around the province since to facilitate tours to either reclaimed mine sites or mines with innovative reclamation programs. The 2016 symposium will continue the tradition of demonstrating current practices in reclamation through a tour at the closed Glencore Brenda Mine copper‐molybdenum site and two days of technical paper presentations.

The 2016 Abstracts and Papers List is now available for your information here [PDF].

Anyone who has photographed mine reclamation activities in BC is welcome to enter our photo contest to celebrate 40 years of the BC Mine Reclamation Symposium. See the 2016 Photo Contest rules here [PDF]!

To register for this event through Friday, September 9, click here.

Bio-engineering: A Restoration Course

Columbia Mountains Institute of Applied Ecology
October 18 and 19 with instructor David Polster, in Revelstoke

The course will cover soil bioengineering and the applied uses of live plant materials, rocks, soil and landscape elements to perform engineering functions such as slope stabilization, soil erosion control or seepage control. The course is designed for anyone interested in restoring the natural functioning of damaged ecosystems. Registration is $395 and includes catering and a course manual covering all materials discussed in the class. Course is full, but they are accepting registrations for the waitlist. More information here.

Trend Analysis and Environmental Impact Assessment

Columbia Mountains Institute of Applied Ecology
October 18 - 20, with Dr. Carl Schwarz from Simon Fraser University, Revelstoke

Environmental impact assessments want to know if trends over time differ between control and impact sites. Statistical methods for the analysis of trends over time use many of the same methods as the analysis of experimental data (e.g. ANOVA, regression) but must now deal with problems such as autocorrelation and process error. Click here for more information and to register.

Events

Save the date: up and coming events at the Allan Brooks Nature Centre

The Allan Brooks Nature Centre (ABNC)

You're invited to the Allan Brooks Nature Centre Wine & Wild Things Sparkling Gala and Auction at Sparkling Hill Resort on September 24! All proceeds from this unique reception-style event go to the Allan Brooks Nature Centre Society to educate our next generation of nature lovers and maintain our reputation as a leader in nature education and promotion. Experience wild things, gourmet hor d'oeuvres, an exclusive selection of silent and live auction items, delectable treats and a comedy show! More information and tickets available at: http://bit.ly/2aGXb3A.

Raptor Week
Don't miss the final productions of The Raptors at Allan Brooks Nature Centre September 20-24. Watch hawks, falcons, owls and vultures fly right over your head from our beautiful viewpoint in Vernon. Want to get even closer? Book an hour long Encounter Course where you get to hold and learn about multiple birds and have a hawk fly to your gloved arm! It's an experience you won't soon forget. Tickets and more information available here.

SENS Presents

Pesticides
September 22, 7 pm, Schubert Centre, Vernon

Dr. Warren Bell, founder of Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment (CAPE) explains how pesticides impact us all and how chemical companies operate. Everyone welcome! Sponsor is the Sustainable Environment Network Society (SENS).

Climate Justice and its connection to Income Inequality
October 11, 7 pm, Schubert Centre

SENS teams up with Canadian Federation of University Women, UBCO, and other local groups to bring in Seth Kline of the progressive ’think-tank' Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives to speak on Climate Justice and its connection to Income Inequality. He will also speak at UBCO Wednesday afternoon on Income Inequality and Taxes for those who can attend that event. Donation appreciated to assist with costs.

Festivities for the fish at RDCO Parks

Kokanee Exhibit

The land locked Kokanee salmon are making their annual spawning run along the many tributaries of Okanagan Lake or along the lake shore itself. During the late summer and fall, local streams will be full of the red, fresh water cousins of the Sockeye.

Now through mid-October, you’re invited to learn more about this interesting and important fish to the Okanagan at the ‘Kokanee’ exhibit in the Environmental Education Centre for the Okanagan or EECO. It’s open Tuesday through Sunday in Mission Creek Regional Park, Springfield and Durnin Roads.

For more information on this and other EECO programs, check out ‘Your Guide to Regional Parks’, visit the Regional District website (regionaldistrict.com/parksevents) or contact the EECO at 250-469-6140.

kikinee Salmon Festival

Check out the displays and watch the Kokanee salmon spawning in Mission Creek during the ‘kikinee Salmon Festival’. The activities are being held Sunday, September 18th at Mission Creek Regional Park (Springfield and Durnin Roads). This free, family event runs between 11:00 am and 3:00 pm and promises to provide lots of fun for children and adults alike. The festival opens with a traditional Okanagan First Nations welcome followed by lively performances from local entertainment, ‘fishy’ displays and activities.

For more information visit the Regional District website, regionaldistrict.com/parksevents, or you can contact the EECO at 250-469-6140.

NatureKids go Camping!

Kelowna NatureKids is teaming up with North Okanagan NatureKids to put on an overnight camping trip full of crafts, learning, and fun! We will be staying at the newly reopened Silver Lake Camp in Peachland from September 24th to 25th. More details, and a list of recommended supplies, can be found on our Facebook event. Cut off date to RSVP is September 20th.

Employment Opportunities

Ecoscape is looking for biologist

Ecoscape in Kelowna currently has two available positions for full time employment for Junior, Intermediate, and Senior Biologists. Please submit a resume and cover letter in person or electronically to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Funding Opportunities

Thank you to The South Okanagan-Similkameen Conservation Program for this great list of upcoming grants:

September 8
Real Estate Foundation of BC
Applications for general grants are accepted in the area of sustainable food systems, freshwater and the built environment.

September 10
Mountain Equipment Coop
Access and Activitiy and Capacity Building grants enable people to enjoy the outdoors and support conservation initiatives.

September 16
Telus Community Foundation (Thompson-Okanagan)
Community Board members choose programs that focus on youth, demonstrate social or technological innovation in program delivery, and involve arts & culture, education & sport, or health & well-being in our environment.

September 19
TD Friends of the Environment Foundation (TDFEF)
In celebration of Canada's 150th anniversary next year, TDFEF has announced a special round of funding focused on the revitalization, animation and stewardship of public green spaces. The foundation has combined what would have been its December 2016 and April 2017 funding rounds into a single round in February 2017. A new process for grant applications has also been introduced. Applicants with eligible projects must submit an Expression of Interest outlining the details of their project by September 19. The Expression of Interest will be reviewed and successful applicants will be invited to submit a more detailed grant application by November 21.

Resources

The Biodiversity Conservation Strategy for the Okanagan

BC Species and Ecosystems Explorer

Report rare species sightings to the BC Conservation Data Centre.