A panoramic view of the Okanagan Valley with West Kelowna in the foreground and mountains in the background
  • Article
Railed steps lead down a steep hillside towards Okanagan Lake

Clean, plentiful fresh water and natural landscapes are a big reason why the Okanagan is such a great place to live. However, our lake and surrounding natural areas are facing significant challenges, a few being increased usage demands, a growing population, and development around the lake. These challenges strain the sensitive lake ecosystem and have a detrimental effect on the health of our lake.

Did you know?

  • Only 41% of the Okanagan Lake shoreline remains natural, the majority has been developed. Currently, there is little protection to maintain these natural areas.
  • Increased shoreline development from 2009 to 2016, has added 165 retaining walls, 164 docks, and 9 new marinas around the lake.
  • The Okanagan Valley is biologically unique with some of the greatest concentrations of species and ecosystems in Canada. Many are found nowhere else in the country and in some cases the world.

Guided by our Biodiversity Conservation Strategy, OCCP looks to address challenges facing our natural areas by promoting a collaborative approach to biodiversity conservation and restoration. In November OCCP’s program manager, Scott Boswell, presented about the importance of collaboration in conservation at the Regional District of Central Okanagan's Driving Collaboration Workshop, an event attended by nearly 100 people representing non-governmental agencies, First Nations, and local and senior governments from across the Okanagan. Those in attendance share common challenges in their focus on protecting natural areas around Okanagan Lake.

"Collaborative partnerships are essential for protecting our natural ecosystems as no single organization has the capacity to do it alone." – Scott Boswell, OCCP Program Manager

The workshop brought like-minded people together in an effort to build relationships, understand different organizational processes, and become more aware of what each is doing in order to collaborate efforts to protect our lakes and natural systems. The event also featured a presentation from the Okanagan Nation Alliance (ONA) about their Water Declaration and ONA water governance initiatives.

“When we take care of the land and water, the land and water takes care of us. This is our law.” - Syilx Water Declaration excerpt

OCCP is working to addresses lake management through:

  • Public education - Our Okanagan Lakeshore Living Resource is a tool for lakeshore residents to support them in managing their property to best protect our lake. Check out our site to learn more.
  • Collaborative Development of The Okanagan Lake Management Plan – OCCP and the South Okanagan Similkameen Conservation Program (SOSCP) have brought together non-governmental agencies, First Nations, and local and senior governments from across the Okanagan to develop a Management Plan to enhance shoreline and upland management to protect Okanagan Lake.


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