In this issue:

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

Reflecting On Our Cooperation

As we celebrate "our home and native land" in July, we invite you to consider how OCCP's Statement of Cooperation that 35 member organizations have committed to, outlines priorities and commitments for collaborations which help Canadians take action for conservation in the Okanagan Valley. Our Statement of Cooperation commits OCCP Partners in their belief that...

…biodiversity is a key component of Canada’s national heritage. Both Canada and British Columbia have made international and national commitments to conserve biological diversity. Canadians from all walks of life are committed to preserving this rich component of our national heritage for the enjoyment and education of future generations. Biodiversity has inherent and ecosystem services values as well as economic consequences that justify its conservation. These values must be preserved for many future generations of Canadians."

In this edition of the OCCP newsletter, you can learn more about OCCP's initiatives for helping people who love this country take action to enhance environmental protection in their own way. Contact us today to find out how OCCP can help you meet your conservation goals.

Supporting Our Species — SOS

It is impossible to celebrate Canada without treasuring the rugged natural beauty and bounty that is provided by its many ecosystems. The First People of this land have developed a deep understanding and connection to the environment here over many thousands of years. Their respect for the environment is reflected in their culture and stories. Westbank First Nation demonstrates their respect for the environment through stories about one of the Okanagan's rarest species:

“nx̌aʔx̌ʔ itkʷ (N’ha-a-itk), commonly referred to as “Ogopogo,” is recognized today as a metaphor for sustainability. Known as the Sacred Spirit of the Lake, nx̌aʔx̌ʔitkʷ lives in the water but can also move to the land and air. nx̌aʔx̌ʔitkʷ reminds us to be mindful of our resources; if nx̌aʔx̌ʔitkʷ disappears due to pollution and misuse of the water, so do the plants, medicines, trees, and foods that sustain us.”

Supporting our species starts with our understanding and respect for the deep history of our environment. As we celebrate our many years living in this great land, may we work harder to understand, respect, and hold a place for nature in Canada.

OCCP Action Team News

This month, OCCP has facilitated and participated in a number of collaborative efforts that aim to enhance everyone's ability to take action for conservation across the countryside.

OCCP participated in the Okanagan Water Forum that was hosted by the Okanagan Nation Alliance (ONA) on May 30th.

The morning began with a discussion about bias and worldview, and how the En'owkin process of community consultation seeks to bring together a wide variety of points of view. With that in mind, Councillor Chris Derickson talked about the flooding, and how, from a Syilx perspective "the lake is not full" because the lake has an ever-changing life of its own. Settlers have decided an arbitrary level where they think the lake is full, actively manage lake levels, and try to impose barriers to hold it in place. However, Councillor Derickson says "Lakes are not like a sink or a bathtub. They do not fill up!"

Chief Byron Louis talked about how over-licensed the streams in the region are, and that certain species should have rights that take precedence before people's use (e.g., we should make sure to keep enough water in the streams for the fish before we remove water for water licenses). Lisa Wilson, Natural Resource Manager from the ONA introduced the Syilx Water Declaration and Water Strategy. Grand Chief Stewart Phillip discussed the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People [PDF], the principles of the Tsilhqot'in Decision, and how the 94 recommendations from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission should be the basis for all discussions. A panel, including Natasha Overduin of CIER, Sarah Alexis of ONA, and Dustin Louis of the Syilx community followed-up by exploring the current projects and methods being used in sharing indigenous knowledge on water planning.

Dr. Jeannette Armstrong discussed the concept of natural law as the basis of a just society, and how our community ethics are the basis of our laws. She explained how the Syilx word for water is shared with all 25 proto-Salish languages, so it is around 12,000 year old, and its root parts denote that the right to water is equal for animals and humans. She shared that the Syilx people consider water to be the source of all life on earth, and the physical manifestation of the Creator, re-making itself over and over in the trees and the animals. Water is a relationship between humans and the environment. Syilx Water Law is based on the moral rights of all life forms. Marlowe Sam provided an overview of settler law on Indigenous Rights, and discussed how water rights are closely tied to land title rights.

James Pepper, Director of Natural Resources Department at the Penticton Indian Band introduced their new initiative to map culturally important sites in the Okanagan. Cultural Heritage Inventory and Mapping (CHIM) is a way to survey cultural sites, and is modelled after the Sensitive Habitat Inventory and Mapping (SHIM) done on local creeks. He commented that the nsyilcen language has 30 words for water, and they are interested in gathering and interpreting place-based knowledge about water. Joanne Dennis of LSIB and Howie Wright of ONA provided updates on their water projects, and the participants closed the day by coming up with social media hashtags to describe their take-home messages #forwardthinking #ourcommitment #givethanks #waterisnotarightitisaresponsibility

OCCP is pleased to announce the completion of the Sensitive Habitat Inventory and Mapping (SHIM) of Mission Creek. This project was facilitated through a collaboration between OCCP, Regional District of Central Okanagan, Okanagan Basin Water Board, and the City of Kelowna. The mapping information collected included GPS and photo survey data for fish spawning areas, wetlands, features and attributes such as retaining walls, bridges and culverts, side channels and tributaries, points of erosion, agricultural runoff, wildlife trees, and fish presence. The SHIM mapping was completed in the spring of 2017 prior to the flooding, making this a valuable tool in assessing the changes that have occurred as a result of the recent flooding.

Mission Creek provides critical habitat and corridors for fish and wildlife with its spawning, rearing and overwintering and feeding habitats. The creek is home to many species of fish in including juvenile salmonids and animals such as deer, elk, turkey vultures, blue herons, as well as aquatic invertebrates and plants all of which function as part of the region’s wetland ecosystem. This new mapping has greatly improved the information about the creek and will assist in strengthen rationale for better protection and restoration of the riparian habitats in the face of continued land development. The SHIM mapping will be used by community planners, environmental organizations and government agencies to guide management and land use decisions for habitat restoration projects and assist in the design of floodplain management plans.

SHIM information can also:

  • Assist in determining setbacks and fish/wildlife-sensitive zones
  • Provide a means of highlighting areas that may have problems with channel stability or water quality, and require more detailed study
  • Identify and map point and non-point sources of pollution
  • Provide baseline mapping data for future monitoring activities

A copy of the mapping can be found on the OCCP website's Mission Creek: SHIM project page.

OCCP is pleased to announce the release of the Kalamalka and Wood Lake Boat Impact Study on Source Waters. Growth in the Okanagan region and an increase in boating activity has generated an interest and a need for a comprehensive and scientific analysis of the potential impacts of boating activity on water source protection. With this in mind, the Districts of Lake Country and Coldstream, RDNO, RDCO, the Okanagan Similkameen Invasive Species Society, and OCCP collaborated to retain Ecoscape Environmental Ltd. and Larratt Aquatic Consulting Ltd. to undertake a study that would investigate the potential threat of boating activity on source water protection for the municipal and domestic intakes on Kalamalka and Wood Lake.

The consultants used physical data and a spatial model to quantify the risks and determine the areas of highest vulnerability on Wood and Kalamalka lakes. The data collection included water sampling, mapping the lake bottom, monitoring currents and monitoring and modelling boat activity. The study suggests that boating recreation is capable of sediment re-suspension within shallow areas, most notably in the south and north ends of Kalamalka Lake. Further, this sediment can migrate towards municipal intakes under the right conditions.

The study was completed over the summer of 2016 and the consultants presented the report the District of Lake Country, the District of Coldstream and the Greater Vernon Advisory Committee (GVAC) in June of 2017. The presentations noted the main risk of power-boating on water quality is related to either contaminants (pathogens, bacteria, hydrocarbons and metals) released during sediment re-suspension from boat propellers or from chemical spills, most frequently occurring during re-fueling, cleaning, or disposal of waste. There are approximately 8000 boats registered in the Greater Vernon area, with a projected increase of 2000 boats in the near future, and an expected increase in demand for boating facilities such as; marinas, docks, boat launches and dry storage facilities.

The Districts of Lake Country and Coldstream and GVAC supported the report’s main recommendation to focus on a multi-jurisdictional collaborative approach to implement the report. The specific recommendations focus on addressing spills, reducing the re-suspension of sediment, and protecting ecologically productive areas. To achieve these goals the report suggests creating spill management strategies, no wake zones, and public education programs on the issues and solutions to protect water source protection. The full report can be found on the OCCP website.

OCCP also participated in the Border Free Bees Pollinator Picnic on June 25th, to celebrate the completion of Kelowna’s first nectar trail. The Kelowna Nectar Trail is a 7.4 km series of flowery stepping stones through the south Mission neighbourhood that helps pollinators move safely through the urban landscape. More than 80 private homes and businesses, as well as every single school along the route, have signed onto the Trail with a commitment to nurture a one square meter patch of bee-friendly, pesticide-free, and waterwise plants.

The Pollinator Picnic provided Nectar Trail Bee Ambassadors the chance to learn about the diversity of native bees, view live honeybees circling their Queen, make a flapping bee, learn about gardening for bees, and keeping habitats connected, dance to some bee-utiful music, and come together as a community to support bee conservation.

Border Free Bees has an excellent variety of resources available on their website, including a guide to the common pollinators of BC, a list of Okanagan native plants for bees, and citizen science bee guide and app.

Partner & Conservation News

Make Water Work in your yard!

Okanagan Basin Water Board (OBWB)

Summer is finally here and with that, hot temperatures and the need to think about our water use.Make Water Work is an Okanagan-wide outdoor water conservation campaign aimed at helping residents make water work more effectively and efficiently on their landscape in summer – when water use is greatest.

Despite this year’s historic flooding in the Okanagan and high lake levels, the need to be WaterWise continues. Water restrictions are now in place in communities throughout the valley, albeit perhaps for different reasons. As it turns out, high water levels and turbidity have put a strain on water treatment plants. Putting more demands on the system just adds more stress. However, as our summer’s hot temperatures continue, with more +30C days expected than normal, the need to conserve will become more important, ensuring enough for food crops, fish and firefighting.

Visit to find water-saving tips, watering restrictions for your neighbourhood, as well as information about the Make Water Plant Collection – a list of plants, trees and shrubs perfect for the Okanagan climate. PLUS - Take the Challenge! Pledge to Make Water Work for your chance to win a $6,000 WaterWise yard upgrade, with another $2,000 in prizes to be won. Make Water Work is an initiative of the Okanagan Basin Water Board (OBWB)’s Okanagan WaterWise program, delivered in partnership with valley municipalities and water utilities.


Okanagan Basin Water Board (OBWB)

With the warm weather comes more traffic on Okanagan lakes – and the greater the possibility of invasive zebra or quagga mussels being introduced into our waters. The Okanagan Basin Water Board’s Okanagan WaterWise staff are out again this summer promoting its Don’t Move A Mussel message and has several partners helping, including the Okanagan and Similkameen Invasive Species Society (OASISS) and others

If you love our lakes… and if you have out-of-town family or friends coming to visit with watercraft (motorized or non-motorized – boat, seadoo, kayak, paddleboard, etc.) or other water-related gear (e.g. fishing equipment) – HAVE THE TALK! Make sure they know the risks to our waters, understand the importance of stopping at watercraft inspection stations, and are following the Clean-Drain-Dry protocol.

Learn more about the risks to the Okanagan, find prevention tips, and how to #HaveTheTalk at Help spread the message. Not the mussel. #DontMoveAMussel #CleanDrainDry

Stewardship Update

Okanagan Similkameen Stewardship Society (OSSS)

Okanagan Similkameen Stewardship awarded 14 local landowners and volunteers for their outstanding contributions to wildlife habitat stewardship and conservation, and casts the spotlight on rare plants, cheatgrass, painted turtles and a riparian restoration project on a Summerland ranch in their semi-annual e-News.

BC Annual Bat Count Update

Okanagan Community Bat Program (OCBP) encourages bat watchers to do two more bat counts between July 15 and August 5 (South and Central Okanagan, and Similkameen) or July 21 to August 15 (North Okanagan). The counts during this second window will potentially be higher due to maternity colonies with fledgling bat pups learning to hunt. OCBP thanks the Bat Education and Ecological Protection Society (BEEPS) in Peachland for monitoring the maternity colony in the attic of the Peachland Visitor Centre. Because of their work OCBP was able to learn that the first bat pup was spotted this year on June 24th. Little Brown Myotis pups are about the size of a kidney bean when they are born, and learn to fly by the time they are about 3 weeks old. For more information, please visit the BC Community Bat Program.

Conferences & Workshops

Wetland Workshops

BC Wildlife Federation

Map our Marshes is coming to Oliver, BC on July 28th!

Join BCWF for this FREE one-day workshop: An introduction to wetland ecosystems, classification, values, and stewardship.

You will learn how to use basic GPS techniques to evaluate and protect wetlands in your community. This wetland mapping and rapid assessment workshop is a great one day course for community volunteers, students, consultants, and anyone passionate about healthy watersheds. In developed areas, many of BC's watery "kidneys" and "ecological supermarkets" have already vanished, and this is why we need engaged citizens to take an active role in protecting those that remain.

For more info contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 1-888-881-2293 ext. 225 Sign up now, as space is limited! Registration and more information can be found here.

Wetlands Institute

East Kootenays | September 23-29| Click here for more information

Wetland Restoration & Invasive Species Workshop

Revelstoke | July 27 | Click here for more information

The Columbia Shuswap Invasive Species Society is hosting a free one-day wetland restoration and invasive species workshop with the BC Wildlife Federation, in partnership with the Columbia Mountains Institute. This workshop will provide an overview of steps involved in restoring a wetland, including site selection, design considerations, and permitting requirements.Following morning presentations, the participants will travel to a site to receive hands-on training in wetland restoration design. Instructor Neil Fletcher is the Wetlands Education Program Manager for BC Wildlife Federation. To register, email your name and your affiliation to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call: 1-855-785-9333. Click here for more information.

Wild Kidz Camps

Winfield | July 17-21| Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information
Rock Creek | July 24-28| Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information


Save the Date for RespectFest

September 18-24, 2017 in Vernon, BC.

RespectFest 2017 is a week-long multicultural event with four main themes: respecting our land and environment; honouring our indigenous history and roots; understanding our multicultural history, and recognizing the strengths that diversity brings to our community and nation. RespectFest is funded by the Government of Canada as part of Canada 150.

Raptor Weeks

July 18th - August 20th

Experience the thrill of an up-close encounter with the Raptors! Beginning on July 18th, Raptor Weeks at Allan Brooks Nature Centre will run daily for five consecutive weeks. All age public programs will be offered six days a week (Tuesday - Sunday).

Experience adventure and discovery in the grasslands with hands-on activities, displays, family-oriented programs and youth camps. Raptor Encounter Courses at 10am, 3pm and 4pm daily. Live raptor flight demos daily at 11:30am, with a second presentation at 5:00pm, Fridays & Saturdays!

Become a Member and be part of an ever growing community of people keeping nature in their future. Members get free unlimited admissions and do not pay full price for programs at Allan Brooks Nature Centre throughout the season (April 15 to October 31).

Eco-Blast is back and better than ever!

The Fresh Outlook Foundation is excited about its Eco-Blast Kids Camps in Lake Country (July 24-28) and Kelowna (August 14-18)! A partnership between FOF and the Okanagan Boys & Girls Clubs, these week-long day camps use song, dance, art, theatre and hands-on learning to teach children from 6-12 about nature. Each week culminates in a magical concert that showcases what the campers learned and created. Registration is $149, which includes all activities, supplies, lunches and snacks. We’re looking for financial support to send kids to camp whose families can’t afford the full registration fee. To help, please contact Joanne at 250-766-1777 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Bee-Decking the Meadow: A Community Eco-Art Installation

Border Free Bees

WorkBee Series: Eco-Fibre Processing Circles
August/September 2017 (Further Details TBA)

Learn about harvesting local materials, make rope and coiled forms as contribution to the community installation, and meet new neighbours at the newly established Pollinator Pasture. Join artist Jaymie Johnson in making sculptural works resembling bumblebee nests using hand-made nettle fibre rope and coiling of pine needles and wild grasses at the Brent Grist Mill Heritage Park Pollinator Pasture. A project inspired by the mentor-ship of working with artist Sharon Kallis at the Richmond Pollinator Pasture in 2016. In collaboration with BorderFree Bees and EartHand Gleaners Society, this event series is presented by University of British Columbia Okanagan, in partnership with Emily Carr University of Art + Design and the City of Kelowna. For more information contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit

Funding Opportunities

Community Investment Program

Application Deadline: July 14th
Fortis offers up to 15,000 to projects that directly benefit the environment
Read more here

TD Friends of the Environment Foundation

Application Deadline: July 15
Need funding for your environmental project? The TD Friends of the Environment Foundation supports a wide range of environmental initiatives, with a primary focus on environmental education and green space programs. Read more here.

Community Gaming Grant (Environment)

Applications accepted: July 1st - Aug 31
Community Gaming Grants support eligible not-for-profit organizations that deliver community programs that benefit the citizens of British Columbia. Read more here.

NSERC announces awards nominations and grants

Is promoting science your passion? Take advantage of the following great opportunities from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC). Nominate an individual or a group for an NSERC Award for Science Promotion The nomination deadline is September 1, 2017. Info here. Or, apply for an NSERC PromoScience Grant. The application deadline is September 15, 2017. Info here. NSERC invites applications that promote the natural sciences and engineering to Canada's young people, particularly to groups such as girls and Aboriginal peoples that are under-represented in scientific and engineering careers. In addition, NSERC is issuing a targeted call for applications that focus on resources, tools and professional development for teachers. These professional development programs must be outside of accredited courses or degree requirements. Subscribe to the NSERC newsletter here.

Nature Conservancy of Canada Round 3 of Other Qualified Organizations (OQO) Program

Application Deadline: Ongoing until November 1

The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is pleased to announce Round 3 of the Other Qualified Organizations (OQO) Program. Funded by Environment and Climate Change Canada and administered by NCC, the program will provide up to $5 million in support of conservation in communities across Canada. Land acquisitions closing between April 1, 2017 and January 31, 2018 will be considered under Round 3 of the OQO Program, and applications will be accepted until 5:00pm EST on November 1. Read more here..

Employment Opportunities

Okanagan Water Demand Model Technician

Okanagan Basin Water Board (OBWB)
Location: Kelowna, BC

The Okanagan Basin Water Board (OBWB) is seeking a highly motivated individual with excellent interpersonal, research, writing and organization skills to fill the position of Water Demand Model Technician, reporting to the Executive Director. We offer a competitive wage, based on qualifications. This position is made available through a Green Jobs initiative of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC), and is open to early-career professionals, up to age 30 years old. The position is a Full-time Term Position for 6-8 months. The start time is flexible between July and September.