In this issue:

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

Reflecting On Our Cooperation

As we celebrate how hard we all work, and the start of another school year in September, we invite you to consider how OCCP's Statement of Cooperation outlines priorities and commitments for education and our hard work in the Okanagan Valley. Our Statement of Cooperation commits OCCP Partners in their belief 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."

OCCP Action Team News

OCCP exists in part to act as a hub of information and resources that help our community take action to improve environmental protection in the Okanagan. We have contributed to a number of outreach initiatives over the past month that we hope will inspire others to consider the environment in their everyday activities.

Seeking Scholars of Shoreline Sustainability

This year, to help keep the shoreline of Okanagan Lake healthy, OCCP is working with a number of partners throughout the valley to educate landowners and local governments around Okanagan Lake about the regulations and best practices for improvements on foreshore properties.

We are looking for organizations and individuals who are passionate about shoreline habitats to provide input to this initiative.

Future natural shoreline loss can be prevented or reversed by replanting and retaining a natural buffer area along the waterfront during development (see how much was lost over the past seven years in the FIM Update Report (2017)). These permeable and absorbent greenspaces allow lake waters the room to rise and fall with the changing seasons, and provide a wide range of other benefits.

Okanagan shoreline planning would benefit from a collaborative effort by all Okanagan individuals and communities. By protecting the foreshore we preserve an important part of our social-ecological heritage and important driver of our economy. Many people are already working together to enhance shoreline protection, but much of the responsibility also lies with individual landowners to preserve shoreline over the long term.

Our objective is to:

  • provide information to local governments, lakeshore landowners, key stakeholders, and the public on the current state of the shoreline of Okanagan Lake
  • promote Best Practices for foreshore management and protection

Our goals are to:

  • establish a framework for regional partners to collaborate on a shared outreach initiative to raise public awareness of the importance of, and ways to protect, foreshore ecosystems and habitat connectivity for the water quality of Okanagan Lake
  • support on-the-ground habitat restoration activities that will protect riparian and foreshore habitat at a restoration site
  • work with lakeshore landowners, key community stakeholders, the Okanagan Similkameen Stewardship Society, local governments and the Ministry of Forests, Lands, and Natural Resource Operations to monitor and evaluate how foreshore ecosystems are being protected and/or restored around Okanagan Lake

The team intends to:

  • develop and distribute a foreshore ecosystem primer and summary document to lakeshore landowners
  • create an interactive display on foreshore ecosystems and water quality
  • conduct presentations to local governments, real-estate agents, and development associations on the importance of foreshore ecosystems to ensure new development incorporates best practices in habitat protection
  • encourage other community groups and local governments to use the outreach materials to raise the awareness of the importance of foreshore ecosystems on Okanagan Lake and other large lakes in the region
  • and collaborate with local government staff and the Okanagan Similkameen Stewardship Program to design and implement a restoration and monitoring plan for a local foreshore restoration site

Back to School for OCCP's Coop Student

This summer, I have been fortunate enough to work with OCCP as their co-op student assistant. I realized how much effort goes into planning environmental projects... starting with grant applications before anything can truly take off, to attending planning meetings, such as the Foreshore Inventory Mapping Steering Committee. Writing about species at risk for the newsletter has helped me understand the precious biodiversity in the Okanagan. By reading several regional district reports and attending workshops (Map Our Marshes), I have learned a lot about wetlands, grasslands, and the importance of vegetation buffers! My work this summer wasn't always at a desk.  For example, I used my muscles and my artistic talents to help open the exhibit about connectivity at the Penticton Museum.  I have also been able to work with OSSS in public outreach and weeding in a variety of lands. I am thankful for this wonderful opportunity and hope to continue my work in a similar field - when I was hired, I was told no day is the same and I sure agree!
Valentina Rvigimba.

Outdoor Education Guide to Support the BC Curriculum

OCCP has been working with teachers at Okanagan Landing Elementary in Vernon, SD22 staff, the UBCO Innovative Learning Centre, the Okanagan Basin Water Board, and local First Nations representatives to develop "Our Relationship with Water in the Okanagan: An Outdoor Education Guide to Support the BC Curriculum".

This resource guide will help local teachers feel more comfortable leading Okanagan-specific outdoor education that meets the new guidelines in the BC Curriculum.

Watch the OCCP newsletter for updates and information on this initiative.

Partner & Conservation News

Testing Our Strategy for Saving Rare Species

A study released this summer from UBC’s Okanagan campus has found that Canada often does not meet its own Federal legislation, which requires threatened or endangered species to be protected through a Recovery Strategy within specific timeline.

Federal law requires that a Recovery Strategy be developed for every threatened or endangered species, to help guide the strategies for their recovery, and protect them from further decline. These strategies are supposed to identify habitats that are critical to the species’ survival, and even though the laws are in place, there is a backlog of work to be done to develop the Recovery Strategies. As a result, proper protection is not possible to enforce. Delays in developing Recovery Strategies could be placing them further at risk of extinction. Political willpower, funding and more expertise are needed to address this issue.

Read more about the study in these news articles from UBCO and CBC.

Seeking Assistance with an Important Amphibian and Reptile Area Application

Representatives from Environment and Climate Change Canada in Delta are currently working on an application for an Important Reptile and Amphibian Area for the many species in the Central Okanagan.

To put forward a stronger application, they would like to contact and engage with local partners working in parks, conservation programs, and land trusts who might be interested in having an area designated for reptiles/amphibians.

If you have knowledge about important areas for reptiles or amphibians in the Central Okanagan, and are interested in getting involved, please contact OCCP's Projects Coordinator at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., and she will connect you with the project team.

Conservation Fund Applications Now Open

The RDOS has announced that the South Okanagan Conservation Fund is now open for applications!

The Fund is a dedicated source of funding for the purpose of undertaking environmental conservation projects in participating areas of the South Okanagan. The Fund will support activities, projects, and works that include, but are not limited to, water, environment, wildlife, land and habitat conservation efforts to protect natural areas. Projects that are technically sound and effective, and provide value for money through partnerships with other funders will have priority.

Applicants must be a registered not-for-profit organization, or organizations may partner with a qualified organization. Multi-year projects are acceptable to a maximum three years, however proponents must apply each year. The application deadline is September 29th. A Technical Review Committee has been established and will review project proposals and make recommendations to the RDOS for final funding approval.

September 1 - Call For Proposals
September 29 - Applications Due
October - RDOS and Technical Advisory Committee Review
December - RDOS Board of Director’s Final Approval
January - Applicants Notified
February - Funding Agreement Documents Finalized
For more information on the South Okanagan Conservation Fund go to the website here.

OBWB Annual Meeting

The Okanagan Basin Water Board hosts its annual public meeting Fri. Sept. 8 at the Westbank Lions Community Centre, 8:30 AM – noon.

The theme of the meeting is “Weathering Extremes.” From cold weather and floods, to fires and droughts, 2016-17 has been a year of extreme weather.

The meeting will feature keynote speaker Maximilian Kniewasser. Max is the director of the Pembina Institute’s B.C. climate policy program and will be presenting on The State of Climate Action and Clean Growth Opportunities for B.C. Our second presentation, providing a review of this year's provincial flood response, will be given by Shaun Reimer, Section Head for Public Safety and Protection with the B.C. Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development.

Our Make Water Work 2017 Champion Community will also be announced, followed by Executive Director Anna Warwick Sears presenting our 2016-2017 Annual Report, Weathering Extremes. There will be time for questions and discussion. Light refreshments will also be served. The event is free, however seating is limited. Registration is required here, and you can also see the full agenda here.

Bee-Decking the Meadow

Border Free Bees team has just finished a week long initiative to create a community art installation at the Public Art Pollinator Pasture at Brent's Grist Mill Heritage Park in Kelowna.

The team spent each evening teaching community members how to harvest and coil native plants into small baskets. The baskets made over the course of the week were combined into a public art installation for the park that is meant to resemble the shapes found in the underground nests of local bumblebees.

Check out the new installation, and the progress of the plants added to the Pollinator Pasture for the bees, by visiting meadow today

Cherry Creek Enhancement Update

Cherryville Water Stewards continue to build a comprehensive water quality database on local streams and the Shuswap River. The hydrometric station in Cherry Creek provides real time water quantity information throughout this year of extremely high and extremely low flows.

Hanson Park stream bank stabilization near the tea garden has been accomplished under a Section 11 Permit from the Province of BC, coordinated by Lorne Davies, P. Geo. Large blast rock was installed by Ian Templeton to replace the eroded rip rap and protect the stream bank upstream from the Cherryville Elementary School well. In the upstream portion of Hanson Park, the diversion beyond the stage deflects any overland flow to the cottonwood flood plain.

A Message from the North Okanagan Naturalists Club

NONC has just published a Fall Newspacket full of a great nature stories.

NONC members reported about:

  • a Great Egret and a Badger spotted in the Vernon area
  • a flycatcher nest with an oversized house guest
  • a hummingbird banding conference
  • a shocking new revelation about lichens
  • and an amazing study about migration limits of warblers using citizen science data, among other great information

Check it out today by becoming a member.

Allan Brooks Nature Centre Upcoming Events

From September 18-24, 2017 in Vernon, BC. RespectFest 2017 will be 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. Allan Brooks Nature Centre is proud to be a part of North Okanagan RespectFEST 2017- a week long celebration of respect and diversity that will provide opportunities to learn about, and interact with, people from all different races, cultures, religions, and backgrounds. RespectFEST 2017 is a celebration of respect and diversity in the North Okanagan.

Allan Brooks is excited to announce The Raptors are returning to Vernon during RespectFEST 2017. “One of the main themes of RespectFEST is ‘Respect our land and environment’, what better way to express that theme than with these amazing birds?” Says Vicki Proulx, Events and Communications Coordinator at Allan Brooks Nature Centre. The Raptors are an unforgettable and unique experience for many, families and corporate groups alike. The birds return September 21-24, 2017. Flight Demonstrations will be held daily at 11:30 and Encounter Courses will be held Sept 21-23 at 2pm & 4pm daily. The Raptors will also be in attendance at Sparkling Hill Resort for the Allan Brooks Nature Centre Wine and Wild Things Gala, September 23rd. For ticket info visit the website.

A true community partnership, RespectFEST is spearheaded by the Social Planning Council of the North Okanagan, the Allan Brooks Nature Centre, and the Downtown Vernon Association. More info about RespectFEST.

Wine and Wild Things Gala Fundraiser
SAVE THE DATE Sept. 23, 2017

On the Lookout for BTb

The wildlife health monitoring program for Bovine Tuberculosis (BTb) in MU8-23 is again underway to confirm the disease is not present in the wild deer population. The collected heads are being sampled for BTb in response to positive cases in cattle in the Cherryville area several years ago. We are testing to ensure that it has not become endemic to the wildlife as once the disease is established in a wildlife population it is difficult to eradicate. Results from past years sampling are negative.

Ongoing surveillance with a minimum target of 50 samples is required to ensure the wildlife deer remain BTb free. To that end, we request that everyone who reads this article disseminate this information to hunters, friends and family, game club members and on social media and hunting forums to increase the awareness of the program in hopes of reaching the target sample size for head submissions.  This year we are again pleased to announce that we have a junior hunter draw sponsored by Kencraft Sales in Lavington and a hunter draw prize donated by Fisher’s Home Hardware in Vernon. The drop off freezer locations within the Cherryvillie/Lumby area are:

RT Ranch Sausage & Custom Cutting, Rory Griffin, 1-250- 547-0129
39 Byer Road, Cherryville

Sundowner Meats & Deli, Uwe Lauterbacher 1-250- 547-1463
2611 Hwy 6 (Hwy 6 & Creighton Valley Road just east of Lumby)
Lumby BC, during opening hours and after hours 6-11pm by appointment
Or you can call Susan in Lumby at 250-547- 9207 to arrange for a drop-off

Along with the North Okanagan drop off locations if individuals so desire they can contact any BC Ministry office and deliver the head to a wildlife biologist or Conservation Officer. If you have any questions about this please feel free to contact myself at the number noted above or via email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Cait Neslson, Provincial wildlife Health biologist (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ). To learn more about the Wildlife Health Program visit the website.

Supporting Our Species - SOS

SOS — Salmon School

Sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka) have two forms: one that travels to the ocean and back, and one that remains in freshwater for its entire life (usually called kokanee). Kokanee populations have evolved independently many times, and offspring of kokanee and sockeye occasionally switch their lifestyles. The Cultus Lake population of this species was classified as endangered by COSEWIC in 2003 because it is genetically unique and has been deemed irreplaceable. Our own populations are not considered to be at risk now, but researchers expect changing temperature and precipitation patterns to have a large impact our local salmon populations through lower water levels in streams and rivers, higher water temperatures, and more intense flood events that can scour eggs from the spawning beds.

There are a number of groups taking initiatives to conserve our local salmon populations. The Okanagan Nation Alliance (ONA) host annual Sockeye Fry Release Ceremonies, and the ONA Fisheries Department has developed a number of initiatives to support healthy sockeye salmon stocks in the Okanagan, including their Sockeye Reintroduction Program and hatchery, habitat restoration, helping reestablish the connection for the fish to travel between the ocean and our local lakes past a number of hydroelectric dams, and a "Stream to Sea" program where local classes raise sockeye salmon fry. The Okanagan Basin Water Board is also collaborating with partners to study Environmental Flow Needs, which is the quantity, timing, and quality of water flows in a stream needed to sustain the aquatic life.

Can you think of any ways you can get involved to support our local sockeye salmon?

Conferences & Workshops

BC Nature Conference and Fall General Meeting

“Lakes, Grasslands and Forests”
September 21 - 24, 2017
Hosted by the North Okanagan Naturalists’ Club (NONC), Vernon

The North Okanagan Naturalists’ Club looks forward to welcoming you to the City of Vernon and the Greater Vernon area for an exciting lineup of activities focused on nature.

It’s getting closer! Register now: Go to the NONC website, and click on the Fall General Meeting page for the Conference Program [PDF] and all of the details and forms.

Xeriscape Class

Our class contains practical information for people who want to make changes to an existing landscape or create a new landscape, as well as for those who are new to gardening in the Okanagan.

Saturday, September 23, 2017, 10am - 2pm
First Lutheran Church, 4091 Lakeshore Road, Kelowna
More information and registration here.

Learn How to Preserve Food

Preserving Summer’s Bounty: Sept 28th, 7 pm, Schubert Centre.
A how-to evening of short demos for such items as crackers, pickles, drying foods, solar cookery, sourdough bread, kombucha, sauerkraut (bring your own small jars and lids), and more!  Sponsors: Food Action Society of the North Okanagan and Sustainable Environment Network Society (

ONA hosting river restoration workshop

Preserving Summer’s Bounty: Sept 28th, 7 pm, Schubert Centre.
A how-to evening of short demos for such items as crackers, pickles, drying foods, solar cookery, sourdough bread, kombucha, sauerkraut (bring your own small jars and lids), and more! Sponsors: Food Action Society of the North Okanagan and Sustainable Environment Network Society (

ONA hosting river restoration workshop

Okanagan Nation Alliance is hosting a River Restoration Workshop, "15 Years Of Restoring Salmon Habitat in the q̓awsitkw Okanagan River", on October 3 and 4 in Penticton. The workshop will discuss the stream analysis and hydraulics that directed the restoration designs and describe the planning, construction, monitoring methods and successful results. Presenters include Kari Alex and Camille Rivard-Sirois, Okanagan Nation Alliance Fisheries Department, Lauren Terbasket, En'owkin Centre and Robert Newbury, Newbury Hydraulics.

More information here [PDF]. Proposed agenda here [PDF]. Download registration form here [PDF].

For more information contact Dominique Alexis at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 250-707-0095 ext 201.

Pacific Northwest Section, Society for Range Management, 2017 Annual Meeting and Symposium

Location: Prestige Hotel and Convention Centre,
Vernon, British Columbia
Time: October 3 - 5, 2017

The symposium will focus on discussions of collaborative approaches to managing a complex landscape. This landscape (the plateau east of the Okanagan Valley) supplies drinking and irrigation water, supports timber, recreation, wildlife and grazing activities all in close proximity to the urban areas of the Okanagan.  The tour will take you onto the plateau where most of the research has happened.

Visit the website more information.

Building SustainABLE Communities conference

The Fresh Outlook Foundation is hosting its 7th Building SustainABLE Communities conference in Kelowna November 21-24.

The overarching theme for this highly acclaimed event is Innovation Through Collaboration, with major sub-themes being Climate Action, Water Stewardship, Food Systems/Security, and Community Capital / Infrastructure.

Workshops will focus on ecological economics, community engagement, and sustainability for young professionals. And breakout topics include leadership and governance, sustainable development, active transportation, community health and climate change, local prosperity, collaborative change, ecological imperatives, and the sharing economy.

While 90 speakers from all sectors have been confirmed (see the Preliminary Program [PDF]), there are a few speaking slots left. If you have an up-to-the minute story to share (especially one about innovation and/or collaboration) please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Whatever your area of interest, there’s plenty to intrigue, inform, and inspire you at BSC! There are also many unique and fun ways for you to interact with other delegates… check out the SustainAbility SchmoozeFest, SustainAbility Village, and Tasty Talk Dine-Arounds. For more info and to register, visit


Something's Fishy at the EECO Centre!

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 24th 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 will include lively performances from local entertainment, ‘fishy’ displays and activities. The hugely popular Nylon Zoo’s inflatable ‘Salmon Story Telling Tent’ is returning this year where children are encouraged to dress in colourful costumes and swim, crawl or stroll into the interactive tent and listen as story tellers narrate Native legends about the salmon.  After you have had a chance to see the Kokanee in the spawning channel you can learn more at our current exhibit “Fins and Fur” at the Environmental Education Centre for the Okanagan.

‘Fins and Fur’ Exhibit

Late each summer the land locked Kokanee salmon make their annual spawning run along the tributaries and waterfront of Okanagan Lake. Through the fall, local streams will be full of the red, fresh water cousins of the Sockeye along with hungry black bears ready to fill their bellies. Now through early-October, you’re invited to learn more about this interesting and important animal relationship in the Okanagan at the ‘Fins and Fur’ 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.

Kokanee Interpretive Programs

You’re invited to witness an annual rite of nature while learning more about the life of the Kokanee salmon. Check out the Regional Parks ‘Kokanee Spawning Interpretive Program’ weekends in Mission Creek Regional Park off Springfield Road and Hardy Falls Regional Park in Peachland.

Parks Interpreters will be at both locations to answer questions and share Kokanee secrets weekends from 12 noon to 4:00 pm beginning Saturday, August 19 at Hardy Falls Regional Park and August 26 at Mission Creek Regional Park.  Weekday school tours and special presentations for community groups start September 11th and may be booked by donation through the EECO (Environmental Education Centre for the Okanagan).

For more information on these and other EECO and Regional Parks programs visit the Regional District website or contact the EECO at 250-469-6140.

Funding Opportunities

Real Estate Foundation of BC

Application Deadline: September 6

The REFBC grants fund research and knowledge mobilization, public and professional education, initiatives that support law and policy analysis/reform, and other land use and real estate related projects that benefit BC communities. Applications for general grants are accepted in the area of sustainable land use, built environment sustainability, freshwater sustainability, and local and sustainable food systems. Read more here.

Telus Community Foundation (Thompson-Okanagan)

Application Deadline: September 8

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. Read more here.

Mountain Equipment Co-op

Application Deadline: September 10

Access and Activitiy and Capacity Building grants enable people to enjoy the outdoors and support conservation initiatives. Read more here.

NSERC announces awards nominations and grants

Application deadline: September 15

Is promoting science your passion? Apply for an NSERC PromoScience Grant. 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.

The City of Vernon

Application Deadline: November 14

The Environmental Planning Assistant has launched a Sustainability Grants program for up to $1000 per small projects open to community and non-profits contributing to Vernon. Read more here.

Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation Enhancement & Restoration Grant

Application Deadline: November 2

These grants are provided to projects that: focus on freshwater wild fish, native wildlife species and their habitats; have the potential to achieve a significant conservation outcome; best represent the interests of the Trust Foundations' contributors, and maintain or enhance opportunities for fishing, hunting, trapping, wildlife viewing and associated outdoor recreational activities. HCTF enhancement grants are available to anyone who has who has a good idea that benefits fish, wildlife and habitat in British Columbia. Read more 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.