In this Issue: Reaching Out to Reach Our Goals

Reflecting On Our Cooperation
OCCP Action Team News
Partner & Conservation News
Workshops and Conferences
Employment Opportunities
Funding Opportunities

Reflecting On Our Cooperation

As we celebrate BC, and the sun, sand, and swimming that attracts people from far and wide, we encourage you to think about how to reach out to neighbours and guests to help enhance local biodiversity. OCCP works to help our partners collaborate on projects that help keep biodiversity protected and connected.

OCCP's Statement of Cooperation commits OCCP Partners in their belief that:

"…the Okanagan Valley natural system is a unique and special place.
The Okanagan Valley is an area of uncommon richness of biodiversity. The mixture of large lake/riparian habitats, undeveloped grasslands and dry forest habitats host species that do not occur elsewhere in Canada, making the Okanagan one of Canada’s three most endangered ecosystems with international importance."

" … the Okanagan Valley natural system is a unique and special place. The area also forms a biological corridor that connects the shrub-steppe habitats of the Columbia Basin with the grasslands of the Thompson Valley and Coniferous forests to the north. The corridor is crucial for many species of birds that migrate through it annually between summer and winter ranges. It is also key to the long-term movement of species as they adapt to changing environmental conditions, including climate change. As the climate warmed after the last ice age, the corridor was the principal portal of entry of southern plants and animals into the dry grasslands of central British Columbia.

The area is home to an increasing number of people drawn by the superb quality of life - the beauty of the landscape, the mild climate, and a richness of resources. It supports a wide range of agricultural, forestry, manufacturing, recreational and tourism activities."

Large listing of the logos of OCCP partners

OCCP Action Team News

OCCP logoOCCP has contributed to a number of community initiatives this month that reach out to the local community and inspire people to take everyday actions to protect Okanagan biodiversity.

Reaching Residents on the Lake

Cover page of the 'A Resource for Lakeshore Living' guide

OCCP has helped partners reach out to residents living on Okanagan Lake with ‘A Resource for Okanagan Lakeshore Living’. The release of the 2016 Okanagan Lake Foreshore Inventory and Mapping Update Report, and the flooding events in 2017 and 2018, highlighted the need for resources that will help landowners make informed decisions about how to keep natural lakeshore areas protected.

Flooding events in 2017 and 2018 highlighted the need for resources to help landowners make informed decisions about how to keep natural lakeshore areas protected

During the past month, each municipality and district received the resources, and OCCP supported the process of mailing the resources to residents.

An online version of ‘A Resource for Okanagan Lakeshore Living’ acts as a home base for connecting to more information about specific topics mentioned in the resource. This online resource can be updated with new information in response to feedback from the community. An online survey for lakeshore residents is currently providing a preliminary insight into residents perspectives, actions, and needs as they think about lakeshore protection. OCCP and partners will also continue to collect feedback from the public at events.

Reaching Recreational Boaters for Water Protection

Smoke Lake
OCCP has coordinated the development of information cards that outline how boaters can minimize their impact on drinking water quality in Kalamalka and Wood Lakes.

OCCP has also worked this month with partners to reach out to boaters recreating on Wood Lake and Kalamalka Lake. A Boat Impact Study of Kalamalka and Wood Lakes (2017) revealed the need to reduce the re-suspension of sediment, and protect ecologically productive areas by creating no wake zones, and enhancing public education programs to protect drinking water and infrastructure. OCCP has coordinated the development of information cards that outline how boaters can minimize their impact on drinking water quality in these lakes.

Volunteers from the Okanagan and Similkameen Invasive Species Society (OASISS), The Regional District of North Okanagan, and the District of Lake Country are now handing these cards out at boat launches, and asking boaters for their input on potential boating rules and regulations. OCCP and its partners also want to hear from lakeshore landowners, and the public. Watch out for volunteers at local events, and let them know how you think water quality can be better protected from boat traffic.

Reaching Residents Who Love Bees

Smoke Lake
A Pollinator Picnic event on July 14th at Brent’s Grist Mill Heritage Park celebrated the amazing work that over 350 Bee Ambassadors have done to create bee habitat and a Nectar Trail through Kelowna

OCCP joined Border Free Bees, and other local organizations, on July 14th at Brent’s Grist Mill Heritage Park for a Pollinator Picnic. The event celebrated the amazing work that over 350 Bee Ambassadors have done to create bee habitat and a Nectar Trail throughout Kelowna.

Attendees enjoyed live music and drumming by local Syilx performers, painted signs for ground-nesting bee homes, and received bee-friendly seeds for planting this fall.

OCCP was on hand to share information on how important it is to keep habitats connected, how to report environmental issues and find environmental mapping resources, and how to identify invasive weeds. OCCP Projects Coordinator was also on hand to answer questions about growing native Okanagan grassland species for wild bees, and provided seeds to participants in partnership with SeedsCo Community Conservation.

Reaching Out to Rotarians

Flier listing things you can do to make an impactOn July 25th OCCP presented to the Kelowna Ogopogo Rotary Club about conservation in the Okanagan.

The presentation:

  • introduced key conservation issues
  • reviewed OCCP initiatives to help address these issues
  • and outlined ways that Rotarians can make choices in their own lives that could enhance the protection of biodiversity

OCCP had some interesting conversations with members of the club about the challenges that Realtors and their clients face when wetlands get in the way of development goals, and about the newly forming sustainability working group that is working on developing a plastic recycling workshop in partnership with a local high school.

Partner & Conservation News

Grant Awarded to Monitor Okanagan Lakes for Invasive Mussels

Smoke Lake
Pictured: Osoyoos Lake Water Quality Society sampling for invasive mussels in Osoyoos Lake. Captain Bob Sherwood, President Birgit Arnstein, and Director Deb Sherwood.
Smoke Lake
Pictured: OASISS Aquatics Crew Lead, James Olson, sampling for invasive mussels at Kalamalka Lake.

Protection of Okanagan waterways from the threat of invasive mussels received a financial boost this summer. The Okanagan and Similkameen invasive species Society (OASISS) received a grant from the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation for $17,500 to support the monitoring of five Okanagan lakes for zebra and quagga mussels.

The organization has partnered with the Osoyoos Lake Water Quality Society (OLWQS) who have been monitoring the health of Osoyoos Lake since 1994, but will now be taking additional steps to watch for this unwanted invader. The lakes being monitored include Osoyoos, Skaha, Okanagan, Wood and Kalamalka Lakes

Invasive mussels were introduced to North America from the Baltic Sea in the mid 1980s. They were discovered in Lake Winnipeg, Manitoba in 2013 and Montana in 2016.

At this time, BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Oregon, Idaho and Washington are believed to be free of invasive mussels. The presence of zebra and quagga mussels could harm fish populations and sensitive ecosystems, as well as impact water supplies and tourism. The monitoring program is critical for early detection of mussels if they do arrive in BC. For more information on invasive mussel, visit

Okanagan Similkameen Stewardship Update

It has been a busy spring and summer for Okanagan Similkameen Stewardship - including many native plant enhancement projects, invasive species removal, bat counts, beginner birding workshops, landowner contact and new Wildlife Habitat Stewards! Our latest newsletter is available here.

Landowner Contact and Wildlife Habitat Stewards

Through landowner contact projects, we are connecting with shoreline landowners, primarily along creeks, rivers and wetlands this summer, with the support of the Okanagan Basin Water Board, Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation and Habitat Stewardship Program.

Landowner contact is the first step to establishing written stewardship agreements and identifying areas for habitat enhancement. Currently, Okanagan Similkameen Stewardship supports 90 landowners in stewardship, conservation and enhancement on their properties throughout the Okanagan and Similkameen valleys - 28 of which are from the North and Central Okanagan.

The OSSS Annual Report for 2017-18 available here. OSSS now has membership! Membership information and purchase available here.

Meeting Canada's Commitment to Biodiversity Conservation

The Convention on Biological Diversity, Target 1, commits Canada and other signatory countries to protect at least 17% of the land and inland waters by 2020. In response to this commitment, federal, provincial, and territorial ministers responsible for parks, protected areas, conservation, wildlife, and biodiversity have agreed to a Natural Legacy Declaration, which will guide action toward meeting Canada's conservation targets while working in the spirit and practice of reconciliation.

At a meeting in late June, federal Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna, outlined details on the Canada Nature Fund of $1 billion for conservation action across the country. The Fund:

  • will make it possible to establish new protected and conserved areas, including by advancing land conservation with private landowners
  • support species-protection efforts by provinces and territories
  • and help build Indigenous capacity to conserve land and species

Under the Canada Nature Fund, a call for proposals will be launched in the coming months to identify initiatives that will create new protected and conserved areas on public and private lands and support collaboration toward establishing Indigenous protected and conserved areas. More information here.

A Call for Expressions of Interest for the Municipal Natural Assets Initiative

In municipalities across Canada, infrastructure is aging, capital and operating costs are rising, and service delivery is strained by growing populations and shifting conditions. Solutions may be all around us: there is growing evidence that natural assets provide, or could be restored to provide, services just like engineered assets, often at lower costs. However, most local governments lack policies and methods to measure services provided by natural assets or the risks to services if the natural assets become degraded.

The Municipal Natural Assets Initiative (MNAI) offers a methodology and support for local governments to integrate natural assets into core asset management and financial processes using the same systems as for engineered assets. MNAI is now offering a watershed-level program in BC focussed on the needs and capacities of local governments.This notice is to solicit non-binding expressions of interest from approximately 7 smaller/rural local governments to host collectively one single Municipal Natural Assets Initiative (MNAI) project located in a single watershed (or connected/neighboring subwatersheds).

The deadline for Expressions of Interest is August 17, 2018. Click here for more information and to read the Request for Expressions of Interest.

Applications Welcome for the RDCO Environmental Advisory Commission

If you are interested in future development in your community, the Regional District would like to hear from you. RDCO is currently looking for volunteer members to serve on the Environmental Advisory Commission. The group works with Planning staff to advise the Regional Board by reviewing appropriate development applications within the Electoral Areas for potential impacts on environmental sustainability.

Members of the Advisory Commission will be selected on the basis of their demonstrated interest and participation in community matters, academic and/or technical qualifications, availability, work experience, knowledge, professional expertise, and land use planning. Information about the Advisory Commission is available online or by contacting the Regional District Community Services by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by calling 250-469-6227.

Comment on Provincial Species At Risk Legislation

Recovery of species at risk is a responsibility we all share. The help of Indigenous peoples, government organizations, not-for-profit organizations, industry and natural resource focused businesses, and citizens is needed to ensure the conservation of species at risk.

This year, 2018, will see new opportunities to participate as the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy moves towards their mandate to create new species-at-risk legislation. Wade in on three areas of discussion to help shape this new legislation.

Workshops & Conferences

Environmental Flow Needs (EFN) Conference: Science, Policy & Practice

October 17-18, Kelowna BC

Why should local government politicians, senior management and staff attend this EFN conference? Environmental flows (in local rivers/creaks/streams) are critical to maintaining healthy freshwater ecosystems, particularly in light of a changing climate and competing demands on water.

Join us this October 17-18 in Kelowna to explore various aspects of environmental flows, including EFNs for fish and aquatic ecosystems, economic and cultural values, current regulatory and policy frameworks for protecting aquatic habitat, lessons learned and challenges and opportunities.

The EFN conference presents an excellent opportunity for local governments (politicians, senior management, and planning/environmental staff) to explore first-hand some of the latest science about EFNs, including recent collaborative work in the Okanagan and across North America. The interactive nature of this conference allows participants to engage in discussion with experts and community members on several topics that are critical to understanding EFN issues and learn about robust policies and practices.

Hosted on the unceded territory of the Okanagan Syilx people, the Indigenous context of this conference will enable sharing and blending a diversity of viewpoints. For local governments, the conference offers a number of opportunities, including strong science to support decision-making and planning and the potential to form new relationships and strengthen existing ones.

For more information on sponsorship and registration, visit:

Bioengineering: A Restoration Course

Sept 26 and 27, Revelstoke BC

Columbia Mountains Institute of Applied Ecology presents a two-day course on soil bioengineering, an applied science that uses live plant materials, rocks, soil and landscape elements to perform an engineering function 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 (riparian shorelines, steep slopes, etc.).

Topics covered include:

  • successful restoration and reclamation
  • soil bioengineering techniques
  • regional differences in climate, soils, hydrology, plant types and growing seasons
  • and maintenance and monitoring

The course is presented by David Polster who has been involved in the reclamation of severely disturbed sites for over 35 years. David has taught many courses with CMI and has been brought back by popular request! He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. For more information and to register, click a href="http://" target="_blank">here.

Environmental Field Skills Program (EFS)

September 24 to October 12, 2018, Merritt, BC

The Environmental Field Skills Certificate Program (EFS) is a very practical, field-based Environmental Monitoring skills training certificate program.

The EFS is delivered on-demand, in communities throughout North America, utilizing local sites and watersheds as the ‘classroom’. The 120-hour (three-week) EFS provides course participants with high-quality, in-demand Environmental Monitoring field skills, including Backpack Electrofishing Certification. Each NRTG course includes free, lifetime admission. Enroll in a particular course, and re-attend that course at anytime. Need to re-certify? update field skills? new technologies? Contact us for details.

BC Protected Areas Research Forum (BCPARF)

December 3-5th 2018, Prince George BC

The BC Protected Areas Research Forum (BCPARF) is a bi/tri-annual gathering of British Columbia (and neighbours) parks and protected areas managers and researchers from government, First Nations, academia (faculty and students), industry, non-governmental organizations and private sectors involved and interested in the ecological and social dimensions of protected areas planning and management. Call for presentations, research and management snappers, posters, workshops, and special sessions and side-meetings is now open with an online submission form. Submission deadline is September 30, 2018. Registration will open late summer.

Click here for the online form.



Friday, 10 August 2018, from 8:30 AM to 12:00 PM (PDT)
The Innovation Centre
460 Doyle Avenue Kelowna, BC
Register here.

Come join us for the Okanagan Basin Water Board's 2018 Annual Meeting: PREPARING FOR THE FUTURE. Keynote Speaker, Tamsin Lyle is a well-known thought leader on flood management in Canada. Tamsin will be presenting on the future of flood planning, preparation, mitigation and resilience in the Okanagan.

Brian Symonds, former Director of Water Stewardship for the Province of B.C., will also present on understanding past and future flood levels in the valley.

Finally, OBWB's Executive Director, Dr. Anna Warwick Sears will present the 2018 Annual Report: Preparing for the Future, outlining the many projects and programs that the OBWB has delivered over the past year, and what our work means for the future of water in the Okanagan Basin.

Full agenda will be posted online.

Doors open at 8:30 am and the event starts at 9. Coffee and light refreshments will be served.

Stewardship Roundtable 2018

August 24th

Join the Stewardship Centre of British Columbia on August 24th for a full day of conversations and actions assisting birds and wildlife. From 8:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., the Roundtable will be devoted to learning and sharing ideas for action on pressing issues in ecological stewardship. Panel presentations, World Café style discussions, storytelling, and networking will all contribute to the development of next step action plans on six theme topics. More event details can be found below in our Events section. Click here for the News announcement.

Family Astronomy Night

Saturday, August 18, 2018 at 9:00pm - 11:30pm at the Allan Brooks Nature Centre

The Local members of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (RASC) are back at ABNC! Gather at the Allan Brooks Nature Centre and let them guide you on a journey through the sky.

Be sure to check out the NEW Sundial while you're waiting for the stars to come out! Learn about the night sky in August and then have a look for yourself!

On this night there’s tons to see. Check out the Moon, and have a look into deep space!

First time looking through a telescope? Not a problem! The local RASC members will guide you through it!

Admission is by donation with all proceeds going to support Allan Brooks Nature Centre. Please note this event is weather dependant. This is an outdoor event please dress appropriately. Register here.

Open Studio and Artist Talk with Fresh!AiR Artist Amélie Brindamour

Open Studio at ABNC
Tuesday, August 28, 2018 at 9:00am - Friday, August 31, 2018 at 4:00pm

Artist Talk at the Caetani Cultural Centre,
3401 Pleasant Valley Road, Vernon
Wednesday, August 29th, 7:00 – 9:00 pm

Amélie has been using the different species of mushrooms picked in the Vernon area to cast resin in life size moulds, and incorporate them into an interactive sculptural installation with electronic components, that will include light and sound. The open studio will take place at the Allan Brooks Nature Centre, located on the upstairs level of the studio building, and will run for four days only from August 28 – August 31, from 9 am – 4 pm daily. The event is free of charge, and the public is welcome.

Sauvignon & Sunsets

Aug 28

Always wanted the perfect Sunset picture? Why not paint it yourself at the last event in the August Evening Arts Series! Join local artist Gail Short for an evening of Wine and paint. Create your masterpiece from the spectacular view at Allan Brooks Nature Centre. All while sipping on fine Sauvignon Wines! Paint supplies and canvas provided by Vernon Community Arts Centre. Ticket includes one complimentary glass of wine.

The Raptors at Allan Brooks

Sept 14-Oct 6

A truly thrilling experience returns to the Allan Brooks Nature Centre in 2018. The Raptors are back at ABNC September 14-Oct 6. These Birds of prey will inspire and awe audiences of all ages. Tickets are on sale now for Flight Demonstrations and Encounters! Whether you choose to get close, or closer, these unforgettable experiences will help you form a lasting respect for the natural world.

Get Tickets

Fall Plant Sale

September 22
Summerland Ornamental Gardens

Fall is the time to plant perennials in the South Okanagan. Learn why at a workshop and purchase perennials dug from the Gardens' own beds.

Fall 2018 Xeriscape Classes

This fall, xeriscape expert Eva Antonijevic will be teaching the popular OXA class "Introduction to the Seven Principles of Xeriscape."

Click here to learn more or to register for classes.

Kelowna Class:
Saturday September 29th, 10:00am to 2:00pm
at First Lutheran Church, 4091 Lakeshore Road

Summerland Class:
Saturday October 13, 10:00am to 2:00pm
at the Summerland Ornamental Gardens, 4200 Highway #97 South

Employment Opportunities

Grasslands Conservation Council of British Columbia
Executive Director

The Grasslands Conservation Council of British Columbia (GCC) is seeking an Executive Director to successfully manage and deliver the organization's programs according to the strategic direction set by the GCC Board of Directors. This is currently a part-time contract position with full-time potential dependent on success of fundraising programs. The location is flexible with strong preference for Kamloops, B.C. This position is open until filled.

Click here for the full job description and how to apply.

Funding Opportunities

Vancouver Foundation Grants

Grant applications open July 3
Deadline to submit Letters of Intent for multi-year grants is July 20

Systems Change Grants support projects that take action to address the root causes of pressing social, environmental or cultural issues by influencing the behaviours of populations, organizations, and institutions. Systems Change Grants provide funding from $20,000 to $300,000 for charities and other qualified donees with projects that take action to address the root causes of pressing social, environmental or cultural issues in BC.

Participatory Action Research Grants provide funding from $20,000 to $300,000 to support research that is co-led by community members and researchers to learn more about the root causes of pressing issues impacting the health of communities. Short-term grants can be submitted at any time throughout the year, beginning July 3, and decisions are made the following month.

BC Community Gaming Grants - Environment

Application Deadline: August 31

Community Gaming Grants support the delivery of community organization programs that benefit the citizens of British Columbia.

Real Estate Foundation of BC General Grants

Application Deadline: September 6

The REFBC General Grants can fund projects in all five of REFBC's interest areas (sustainable land use, built environment sustainability, freshwater sustainability, and local and sustainable food systems, professional excellence in real estate.) The Foundation has two intakes per year. Applications are open to any non-profit organization doing work related to land use and/or real estate in B.C.