Conservation In Practice

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 cooler temperatures, back to school, and the start of salmon spawning season, we encourage you to learn how to put conservation into practice 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:

"We see a special place where …

… the future of biodiversity is secure and the ecological integrity of the unique landscape is protected.
… species can continue to migrate between the interior of BC and the desert areas of the western United States.
… people of all ages can enjoy the natural beauty the area has to offer.
... the traditional values and knowledge of the Aboriginal people of the Okanagan are honoured and applied to new challenges.
… our common goal of sustainability addresses the use of resources to meet current needs (environmentally, socially and economically) while ensuring resources are available for many future generations."

Large listing of the logos of OCCP partners

OCCP Action Team News

OCCP logoOCCP has contributed to a number of initiatives this month that put conservation into practice in our community. Inspiring people to find their own way to practice conservation and protect Okanagan biodiversity.

Practicing Conservation on the Lakeshore

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

Lakeshore landowners on Okanagan Lake, we want to hear from you! This is the last month to complete our survey and enter for a chance to win a Lakeshore Landscaping Prize, valued at over $1000. The prize includes a consultation with a professional biologist, as well as a selection of native plants to landscape your lakeshore property.

The online version of ‘A Resource for Okanagan Lakeshore Living’ connects you to more lakeshore conservation information. Lakeshore landowners can complete the online survey to enter the contest and provide valuable information about what local residents already do to help conserve the lakeshore, and how we can help improve lakeshore management in the future.

Okanagan Basin Water Board 2018 Annual Meeting: Preparing for the Future

Dr. Anna Warwick Sears outlining projects and programs that OBWB has delivered over the past year.

In August, local organizations met for the Okanagan Basin Water Board's 2018 Annual Meeting: Preparing for the Future. Keynote Speaker Tamsin Lyle, a well-known thought leader on flood management in Canada, presented 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., also presented on understanding past and future flood levels in the valley.

Closing out the day, Executive Director of the Okanagan Basin Water Board (OBWB), Dr. Anna Warwick Sears presented the 2018 Annual Report, outlining the projects and programs that the OBWB has delivered over the past year, and what their work means for the future of water in the Okanagan Basin. One project highlighted was the recent "Lakeshore Living" booklet developed by OCCP, the South Okanagan Similkameen Conservation Program, and the Regional District of Central Okanagan to help local residents connect with information about lakeshore management. OCCP hosted an information table at the event providing this resource and others, like a new "Watch Your Wave" card, created for Kalamalka and Wood Lake water quality outreach, to members of the community that participated in the meeting.

Out in the Wild at Wilden

OCCP’s Scott Boswell and Tanis Gieselman smiling while standing in a fieldDuring the summer, OCCP’s Scott Boswell and Tanis Gieselman met with Karin Eger-Blenk, Director and Marketing Manager of Kelowna’s Wilden neighbourhood, for a walk through the undeveloped areas of this community. Wilden, like all of the communities in the Okanagan, is nestled amongst endangered grassland and wetland ecosystems, which are important ecological networks of habitat and migration corridors used by local Painted Turtles, and many other species. The goal of this hike was to identify key conservation areas and species and discuss opportunities to maximize biodiversity conservation in this neighbourhood, as it expands in the coming years.

There are a number of opportunities for maximizing biodiversity conservation at Wilden. An existing priority has been to protect the nesting areas and critical habitat for Painted Turtles. Wilden has worked with the City of Kelowna Planning Department to adjust development plans in order to avoid impacting key turtle habitat and wildlife corridors. Scott Boswell is planning to work with the Okanagan Similkameen Stewardship Society to develop strategies to support Painted Turtle populations at Wilden. Key areas that have been identified for improvement include enhanced protection of habitat along migration corridors, structures to assist newly hatched turtles navigating roadside curbs at key road crossings, and habitat improvement in nesting areas.

Another important opportunity for maximizing biodiversity conservation at Wilden involves salvaging native plant species from developing areas. Tanis Gieselman has worked with several other local developers over the past five years to pilot the process of salvaging native grassland plant species from housing development projects for conservation, landscaping, and restoration projects. Environmental consultants doing restoration work in developing areas face a limited supply of native seeds and plants for their projects, while large development projects often demolish natural areas without conserving or using the plant resources that exist. Commercially available alternatives can introduce exotic weedy species, and contribute to the degradation of natural landscapes. Salvaging native seeds from developing areas enhances the supply of native plants for local projects, and supports biodiversity by maintaining grassland habitat throughout the Okanagan Valley.

Okanagan grassland plants are adapted to the harsh Okanagan climate, requiring little additional care or water once they are established, and are ideal for water-efficient urban landscaping. Many of these plants are also essential for supporting local species like bees and other wild pollinators, and are in high demand for conservation and restoration initiatives. Native plant species support wild pollinators throughout the season, in between the limited times when our cherry and apple orchards are blooming, and some wild pollinators even require a particular species of native plant for their survival. Native grasslands support our cattle industry and provide important winter range for mule deer and bighorn sheep, and even though grasslands cover less than 1% of BC, they support over 30% of our rare and endangered species. The Okanagan is an important biodiversity hotspot, where the arid grasslands of the south meet the northern forests and create a unique and rich community of life that is threatened by intense development pressure. We have already lost 50-75% of our major grasslands, and over 80% of historical wetlands in the Okanagan to development (see Lea, 2007). Including native species in all landscaping can help local species survive as developed areas expand around them.

During their short walk around Wilden, Tanis identified 45 species of native plants that are of interest for conservation and restoration, including fern-leaved desert parsley, heart-leaved arnica, showy daisy, and several species of pussytoes. Karin outlined the areas that are slated to be developed in the next few years, and Tanis made some preliminary seed collections. They discussed that native plants and seeds can be salvaged from these areas before they are developed and that 10% of the collections will be available for use in landscaping the area after construction. The remainder of the collections will be archived for conservation and research purposes and sold to restoration and landscaping projects to support conservation operations and education programs. Tanis facilitates this process as a volunteer through the SeedsCo Conservation Community. Seed collecting can begin immediately in the developing areas of the Wilden neighbourhood. OCCP and Wilden will continue to work together to develop a detailed conservation strategy for maintaining native plants and turtles in this community.

OCCP and Wilden will share information about the local environment and conservation work in the neighbourhood with local residents. Karin now receives OCCP’s newsletter, has shared salvaged seeds at a community event, and is interested in sharing stories about local biodiversity in Wilden social media posts. OCCP is looking forward to working more with Wilden, and other local developers, on their efforts to enhance biodiversity in the Okanagan.

Pictured below: Heart-leaved arnica and showy milkweed, two species observed at the future development site in Wilden.

Heart-leaved ArnicaShowy Milkweed

Wild berriesCanned preservatives

Paper bags holding various plant trimmings


A pair of plates filled with plant trimmingsA sparsely wooded hillside above a small body of water

Sustainablility in Tourism

Display for Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association Golf Tournament 'drive' for sustainability

Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association hosted its 27th Annual Golf Tournament in support of the BC Hospitality Foundation. The theme was “Drive” for Sustainability, celebrating the Thompson Okanagan's successful drive towards the United Nations' 17 Sustainable Development Goals and becoming the first region in the Americas to achieve the Biosphere Designation. Each hole on the golf course was hosted by a different organization and highlighted one of the UN's Goals.

OCCP hosted the 15th Hole, and Sustainable Development Goal 15: Life on Land, highlighting the work OCCP has undertaken on ecosystem connectivity. In partnership with The Regional District of Central Okanagan, UBC Okanagan, the District of Lake Country, Westbank First Nation, and others, OCCP has identified and successfully nhanced protection of wildlife passageways along a regional corridor from Okanagan Mountain Provincial Park to Kalamalka Lake Provincial Park. In addition to providing information on ecosystem connectivity, OCCP offered golfers native Okanagan wildflower seeds, salvaged from the Wilden development site, to help put native habitat back into our community.

Grasslands near Black Mountain, part of the proposed ecological corridor

Partner & Conservation News

Comment on the Recovery Strategy for Northern and Southern Resident Orcas

On September 4, 2018, Fisheries and Oceans Canada posted the proposed version of the Recovery Strategy for the Northern and Southern Resident Killer Whales (Orcinus orca) in Canada on the Species at Risk Public Registry. This document amends the 2011 version to include identification of additional critical habitat for these populations and to provide minor updates to the background and species information.

This document will be open for public consultation on the Public Registry for a 60-day comment period. Fisheries and Oceans will then have 30 days to review comments and integrate them as appropriate, after which the final version will be posted on the Public Registry.

Plant Trees with the Okanagan Similkameen Stewardship Society

Lace up your boots, put on your best gardening gloves, grab your favourite shovel (or borrow one), and join the Okanagan Similkameen Stewardship Society to plant trees and shrubs and create habitat in your neighbourhood! There will be opportunities to help with planting this fall across the Okanagan and beyond. Click here to stay up to date with their events calendar.

Workshops & Conferences

UBC's Biodiversity Seminar Series

Wednesdays September - December 12:00 - 1:00 pm

Mark your calendars! UBC's Biodiversity Seminar Series is back every Wednesday from 12:00 -1:00 pm in RHS 129, located in the UBCO Reichwald Health Sciences Centre Building.

The seminars are live streamed from UBC Vancouver. The Series features world-class researchers from all around the world discussing topics such as biodiversity, ecology, and evolution among others. Don’t miss this big opportunity!

Coffee and cookies are served at 11:50 am and the seminar begins at 12:00 pm.

BRAES biodiversity seminar schedule

Burrowing Owl Society of BC and WWF Canada

October 5 and 13, 2018

Have you ever wanted to participate in helping an endangered species in your community? Burrowing Owl Conservation Society of BC and WWF Canada have teamed up to give you some great opportunities to get involved. To support the owls' survival in the wild upon release, volunteer teams construct artificial burrows for the owls to nest in. Fall is a perfect time to install and/or repair burrows as the owls have migrated to their wintering grounds in California and even into Mexico. Participants will install burrows and remove invasive plants from burrow entrances, supporting the survival of endangered burrowing owls in the wild, this event takes place in Oliver, BC. Click here for more details and to register. The last event takes place in the Nicola Valley; details can be found here.

Border Free Bee Symposium

October 12 - 14, 2018

Join the conversation. Local, national and international collaborators, supporters, and partners of Border Free Bees (BFB) will gather in Kelowna to share experiences and knowledge, identify challenges and plan for the future. Join BFB for great keynote talks, contribute to an interactive map project, invite friends and family to dinner and a field trip, enjoy short vivid “Buzz Talks” by BFB's collaborating artists and international partners, and brainstorm about ways to creatively help our pollinators, especially native bees. All are welcome to join and learn more about these essential and charismatic insects. Click here for more details and to register.

siwłkʷ (WATER) FOR ALL – OUR RESPONSIBILITY Environmental Flow Needs (EFN) Conference: Science, Policy & Practice

October 17-18, 2018 - Kelowna BC

The Okanagan Basin Water Board and the Canadian Water Resources Association, BC Branch, are pleased to be co-hosting the Environmental Flow Needs (EFN) Conference: Science, Policy & Practice on October 17-18, 2018 in Kelowna, B.C.

They are fortunate to welcome an incredible line-up of speakers, including:

  • Claudia Pahl-Wostl, full professor for Resources Management at the Institute for Environmental Systems Research (USF) in Osnabrück, Germany
  • Richard Bussanich, biologist with Okanagan Nation Alliance’s salmon reintroduction program, speaking on the history and status of the local fishery
  • Deborah Curran, associate professor in the Faculty of Law and School of Environmental Studies at the University of Victoria, and Executive Director of the Environmental Law Centre
  • Mark Lorang, a former research professor at the University of Montana’s Flathead Lake Biological Station and founder of Freshwater Map, mapping aquatic habitat in rivers using acoustic Doppler profilers and remote sensing

As well as MANY others.

For more on the conference, including the full program, registration details and more, please visit

Special thanks to the conference organizing partners: Okanagan Nation Alliance, B.C. Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, UBC Okanagan, BC First Nations Fisheries Council, WWF-Canada, and POLIS Water Sustainability Project.


Environmental Flow Needs (EFNs), or the volume and timing of water required to ensure effective functioning of an aquatic ecosystem – for fish and other needs – is an important but still evolving science. In locations where significant demand or competition for water exists, such as the Okanagan, scientists, policy-makers, planners, and regulators are now focused on developing methods to determine appropriate EFNs. In B.C., the introduction of the Water Sustainability Act in February 2016 requires that EFNs (or in-stream flow needs) be determined for water bodies potentially affected by any newly proposed licences for surface or groundwater extractions. This requirement creates opportunities and challenges for water management and the need for better EFN science and collaborative dialogue among all water users to reconcile their needs and interests.

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.

Click here for more information on sponsorship and registration.

Bioengineering: A Restoration Course

September 26 and 27, 2018 - Revelstoke, BC

The 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..

Click here or more information and to register.

Environmental Field Skills Program (EFS)

September 24 to October 12, 2018 - Merritt, BC

The Environmental Field Skills Certificate Program (EFS) is a 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 program 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 any time. Need to re-certify? Update field skills? New technologies?

Click here for more information and to register.

BC Protected Areas Research Forum (BCPARF)

December 3 to 5 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 are now open with an online submission form. Submission deadline is September 30, 2018. Registration will open late summer.

Click here for the online form and more information.


The Raptors at Allan Brooks Nature Centre

September 14 to October 6, 2018

A truly thrilling experience returns to the Allan Brooks Nature Centre (ABNC) 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. Click here to learn more and get tickets.

North Okanagan Naturalists' Club - The Rim Rocks Outing

September 20, 2018

The North Okanagan Naturalists' Club invites you to join in exploring a geological oddity, the Rim Rocks appear as an alien landscape amongst the cedars and pines of the surrounding forest. The trail along the rim of a massive pit, where eroded earth exposes huge spires of lava rock, provides interesting views onto ancient lava flows.

Contact Margaret MacKenzie This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information.

Summerland Ornamental Gardens Fall Plant Sale

September 22, 2018

Fall is the time to plant perennials in the South Okanagan. Learn why at this workshop and purchase perennials dug from the Gardens' own beds. Click here to learn more and to register for workshops.

Fall 2018 Xeriscape Classes

September 29 and October 13, 2018

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 and to register for classes.

Kal Tire Charity Garage Sale and Scrap Tire Round-up

September 22, 2018 10:00 - 3:00 pm

Charities and non-profit organizations are invited to join Kal Tire, at their 1540 Kalamalka Lake Rd location in Vernon, for a Charity Garage Sale and Scrap Tire Round-up. Charities and non-profit organizations are welcome to sell used goods, baked goods, crafts, produce, or raise money in other creative ways. Private vendors are also welcome for a fee of $20, which will be donated to charity. Kal Tire is collecting scrap tires for recycling. Bring old tires, of any size and quantity, for free recycling. Click here for more details.

Sustainable Environment Network Society

September 27, 2018 7:00 - 9:00 pm

Join the Sustainable Environment Network Society (SENS) to hear about Kelowna’s Climate Action Plan as well as the City of Vernon and Regional District of North Okanagan's actions. Engage with our community as you contribute to the Municipal, Political, or Personal action roundtable discussions.

Fires, smoke, flood, drought, and food insecurity are a new reality. Let’s turn Climate Despair into Climate Determination as we act together for a safer, healthier future. The Vernon Climate Action Group joins SENS to help facilitate the evening. Click here for more details.

10th Silver Hills Ranch Biodiversity Tour and Social

September 28, 2018 & September 29, 2018

Lee Hesketh, from Silver Hills Ranch, welcomes you to his ranch and the surrounding natural area for a biodiversity tour and social. The tour begins on the 28th at 10:00 am at Mabel Lake Hall, participants will visit Shuswap Falls Recreation site and discuss fish passage, the tour will conclude at 4:30 pm at Silver Hills Ranch. There will be a communal dinner to follow at the Ranch and evening entertainment. For those interested in sleeping under the stars Friday night, Lee has opened up his backyard for camping. Click here for more details and This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Employment Opportunities

BC Public Service - Env & Climate Change Strategy
Conservation Officer

This posting is to establish an eligibility list for future permanent and/or temporary vacancies at various BC Conversation Officer Service (BCCOS) offices.

Posting Close Date: 9/30/2018 at 11:00 pm PST

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

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 the success of fundraising programs. The location is flexible with a 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

PICS Announces New Opportunity Projects Program

Deadline: October 15, 2018

The Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions (PICS) is calling for applications for its new Opportunity Projects Program. Opportunity projects are partnership-driven, research initiatives that aim to generate high-impact climate solutions. The program will award up to $60,000 per year for each project, with a total allocation of up to $600,000 annually. Opportunity projects should have the potential for impact in climate change mitigation and adaptation including emerging issues. PICS welcomes proposals across broad disciplines potentially involving more than one principle investigator. Deadline for applications is October 15, 2018. Click here for more information and how to apply.

FCM Extends Deadline For Asset Management Funding

Deadline: October 23, 2018

Due to high demand, the for more information and to apply.

Due to high demand, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) has extended the deadline of their Municipal Asset Management Program (MAMP) to October 23, 2018. The MAMP provides funding for projects that will help Canadian cities and communities of all sizes enhance their asset management practices. The goal of the program is to help municipalities make informed investment decisions for infrastructure assets, such as roads, buildings, water supply, and sanitation systems, in order to deliver value for money while best-serving citizens' needs. Click here for more information and to apply.

Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation Enhancement and Restoration Grants

Deadline: November 2, 2018

Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation's (HCTF) online application portal will be opening in mid-September, with a proposal deadline of November 2nd, 2018. The HCTF website is being updated to ensure the guiding information on eligible and ineligible activities, the example proposal, and application instructions. There will also be some changes to the proposal questions this year, particularly for Continuing projects, and for New projects conducting physical work on the land base. Updated MS Word Worksheets and Budget Template documents will be available in early September. Click here for more information and how to apply.

Vancouver Foundation Systems Change Grants - Develop Grants

Deadline: Ongoing

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. Short-term grants, Develop grants, are a one-time application that can be submitted at any time throughout the year and decisions are made the following month. The next granting cycle for multi-year grants, Test and Scale grants, opens January 2, 2019. Click here for more information and how to apply.

Community Foundation South Okanagan Similkameen

Deadline: October 19, 2018

Through its Community and Field of Interest Funds grants program, the Community Foundation of the South Okanagan Similkameen supports a wide range of programs that will be of benefit to residents in communities throughout the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen. Grant-writing workshops are also offered. Click here for more information and how to apply.

South Okanagan Conservation Fund

Deadline: October 5, 2018

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. Click here for more information on how to apply.