Co-creating New Decision-Making Processes for Environmental Protection

Background

The kłusxnitkʷ (Okanagan Lake) Responsibility Planning Initiative (OKLRPI) was developed as a syilx-led response to the large-scale loss of natural areas reported in the Okanagan Lake Foreshore Inventory and Mapping (FIM) reports from 2005, 2009 and 2016. The initiative was designed to address impacts threatening the long-term viability of Okanagan Lake and its ecosystems to provide clean drinking water, habitat for fish and wildlife, erosion and flood control, and climate change mitigation.

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.

Keeping Nature in our Future, ‘A Biodiversity Conservation Strategy for the Okanagan Region’ (the Strategy) is an environmental policy framework that sets priorities for identifying, preserving and restoring important natural areas. The purpose of developing a regional strategy was to create a “big-picture” landscape view of the region that provides a framework for considering conservation options for entire ecosystems and watersheds that go beyond municipal or rural boundaries and includes all land-tenures.

This project supports and expands upon the RDCO (Regional District of the Central Okanagan) initiative to plan for Ecosystem Connectivity in the Central Okanagan (for more info, see the "Planning for Ecosystem Connectivity Workshop Report" below). OCCP is coordinating an Action Team to use the recommendations from the connectivity workshop to refine the proposed path of one pilot corridor, and develop a list of strategies to implement corridors across public and private lands in the RDCO and adjoining areas.

March 2020 Note: this project was formerly known as "Biodiversity Conservation Outreach".

How Do We Get from Here to There

This two-year outreach and education initiative started as a collaboration between the Allan Brooks Nature Centre, the Okanagan Similkameen Stewardship Society, and OCCP. The goal was to raise awareness about local ecosystems and the Biodiversity Conservation Strategy for the Okanagan Region and to engage community members in habitat restoration.

As the project developed, many other partners joined the initiative and developed two travelling public outreach exhibits and coordinated six community stewardship events to restore natural habitat. Over 74,000 people in the Okanagan region saw the exhibit promoting ways to work together for “Protecting Habitat Connectivity and Promoting Stewardship”.