Okanagan Conservation Planning (OKCP)

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Okanagan Biodiversity Strategy Featured


What is a Regional Biodiversity Strategy?

A biodiversity conservation strategy is an environmental policy framework that sets priorities for identifying, preserving and restoring important natural areas. The strategy promotes a “big-picture” landscape view of the region and provides a framework for considering conservation options for entire ecosystems and watersheds that go beyond municipal or rural boundaries and includes all land-tenures.


Why is a Strategy needed here?

The Central and North Okanagan are unique regions in Canada, recognized provincially and nationally as biodiversity hotspots and for the richness and rarity of species and habitats. The region is also an important ecological corridor between the arid Columbia Basin and Great Basin to the south and the grasslands of the Central Interior of BC. The Okanagan is renowned for having one of the highest proportions of the country’s species and ecosystems that are considered at risk.

Accelerating growth has put a great deal of pressure on this important region. Ecosystems that were rare on the landscape to start with, such as grasslands and riparian forests, are being lost forever – and so with them go the natural assets and services (e.g. storage and filtration of water resources) they provide to the human communities and economies that depend on them.


connectivityWithout a master plan for conserving sensitive ecosystems and their associated species we will continue to experience an increasing erosion of ecosystem integrity due to incremental development. A biodiversity strategy is not intended to impede development, but to identify areas with high ecological values where local governments may chose to designate levels of protection.



  1. A vision document: shows the connection between decisions made in backyards, neighbourhoods, and communities and the bigger issues of environmental health and climate change facing our region and province.
  2. Mapping and data: Habitat status maps, habitat conservation strategy maps, proposed riparian, wildlife and green recreation corridors, species information, and best management practice documents offered in an accessible format for planners and developers.
  3. Habitat and natural areas assessment including: Ecosystem descriptions and scientific criteria for designating moderate to high levels of protection for sensitive habitats, GIS-based identification of existing habitat patches and connectivity corridors, strategies for identifying and monitoring indicator species at risk and their habitat requirements.
  4. Recommended policies and tools: Regional performance measures for monitoring biodiversity health including long-term goals and measurable short-term objectives for protecting the region’s natural ecosystems, examples of land use planning tools to incorporate into community plans, zoning, and development permit areas, recommendations for voluntary stewardship including tax incentives and last but not least, recommendations for local agency and government partnerships to achieve regional habitat goals.

Strategy Process:

 bcs process chart

Phase 1: Assessment Mapping:

  1. Which Ecosystems are the most important for conservation? (Conservation Rankings)
  2. Where are the “hot spots”? i.e. areas of the greatest importance for biodiversity (Relative Biodiversity)
  3. Where are the “hot spots”? i.e. areas of the greatest importance for biodiversity (Relative Biodiversity)
  4. How are habitats linked to form an interconnected network ? (Wildlife Connectivity)
  5. What is already being managed for biodiversity and where are the gaps? (Land Management Classes)

Please click here to see the methodology report.

Please click here to see the maps

Phase 2: Biodiversity Conservation Strategy Final Documents and case studies:

  1. Definitions, Vision and Guiding Principles
  2. Goals
  3. Analysis and Key Findings
  4. Case Studies
  5. Connectivity Document
  6. Strategic Directions for Local and Senior Governments
  7. Opportunities for Action

Phase 3: Implementation and Monitoring:

  1. Engage public, stakeholders and decision-makers, including First nations
  2. Finalize Action Plan: roles, responsibilities and timeline
  3. Finalize Measurement,
  4. Reporting & Evaluation Plan
  5. Coordinate strategy implementation with the South Okanagan Similkameen Biodiversity Strategy

Project Timelines:

bcs timeline


Link to Reports:

A Biodiversity Conservation Analysis for the North and Central Okanagan Region

Biodiversity Conservation Analysis and Mapping for the South Okanagan Similkameen Region: Keeping Nature in Our Future Volume 1 (Sept, 2011)

Project Funders: vflogo newrdco.imageRDNO LOGO COLOURREF logoenviroment canada logoobwbgnlcc logo 500px


In-Kind Contributers: City of Kelowna-colCOV Logolk country2logo bcgov


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