The Okanagan Collaborative Conservation Program (OCCP) and Thompson-Nicola Conservation Collaborative (TNCC) are working together on a multi-year research project titled—Conservation Planning for Climate Change. The goal of the project is to combine Indigenous ecological and cultural knowledge and western science to identify priority conservation areas for wetlands and grasslands and establish policy for their protection.
Co-creating New Decision-Making Processes for Environmental Protection
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.
In the Okanagan Valley, we are facing our final opportunity to maintain a network of low elevation ecosystems. The fast rate of development in the Okanagan is steadily reducing and fragmenting the low elevation areas thereby cutting off the remaining pathways for wildlife movement.
In response, this project brought together local and provincial governments, conservation organizations, industry, and Okanagan Nation Alliance to identify and implement actions to protect a major ecological wildlife corridor in the Central Okanagan. The resulting 65km by 1km corridor runs from Okanagan Mountain Provincial Park to Kalamalka Lake Provincial Park.
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”.
March 2020 note: this project was formerly known as "Outdoor Education Resource Kits for Okanagan Elementary Schools".
OCCP is working with the Okanagan Basin Water Board, school teachers, the Faculty of Education UBC Okanagan, the School Board and Wildrose Native Traditions to develop resources and materials to help teachers lead environmental lessons that support the new BC Curriculum.
OCCP is working in collaboration with RDCO, RDNO, and the Districts of Coldstream and Lake Country and the Okanagan Similkameen Evasive Species Society (OSESS) to investigate the long-term potential threats of boating activity on lake water source protection for the municipal and domestic intakes on Wood Lake and Kalamalka Lake.
Foreshore Inventory and Mapping (FIM) is a method of collecting information on the current state of the foreshore, or shoreline, of a lake. The most recent FIM survey report (2016) provides an updated summary of the condition of the Okanagan Lake shoreline, and compares the 2016 landscape with earlier data to allow the research team to measure the environmental impacts that accumulate from lakeshore development over time.