Conservation in the Kootenays
Monthly eNews

September 2023

Restoration of Harrop wetland; an RDCK Local Conservation Fund project.

Photo by Kayla Tillapaugh.

As summer transitions into fall, we have lots of news to share!

Nominations for KCP’s Conservation Leadership Awards close on September 15th, so be sure to get your nominations in soon! The annual KCP Conservation Leadership Awards recognize individuals who have demonstrated leadership, innovation and dedication to conservation in the Kootenay region. The awards will be presented at the KCP Fall Gathering. 

The KCP Fall Gathering is taking place next month, and registration is now open to all! On October 13 & 14, join us in Cranbrook for this event on the theme of Kootenay Connect Summit. Attend one or all the events, including the Conference Day itself, the KCP AGM, an Evening Banquet & Awards Presentation, and/or an all-day Field Tour to the Wycliffe Conservation Complex (which is now full, but you can sign up for a waitlist).

In other exciting news, the Regional District of Central Kootenay Alternative Approval Process (AAP) to establish the local conservation fund service in Electoral Area F has indicated public support! The AAP closed on September 5, showing approval for the Local Conservation Fund to support water, wildlife, and habitat. 

Please note that The Columbia Basin Trust is inviting the public to provide feedback on the draft Columbia Basin Management Plan, which will guide the Trust’s activities into the future. Does this plan reflect your

conservation priorities in the region? Read the draft Plan and fill in the survey by

September 20 at 4:30 pm PT / 5:30 pm MT.

Finally, for this month, we’re pleased to announce that both the RDCK Local Conservation Fund and Columbia Valley Local Conservation Fund are now accepting 2024 proposals. The deadline to apply is October 31 and anyone with a new project idea is encouraged to contact KCP prior to submitting an application. 

Full details on all of this can be found in the KCP News section below.

KCP logo

Faces and Places

Wildlife-Friendly Fencing Helps Humans Coexist with Nature

One of the overarching questions in the field of conservation is how can we coexist with other species? We know that many wildlife species need large areas of connected habitats which allow for necessary movement through the landscape to meet their daily and seasonal requirements. 

While fences serve many functions, including protecting gardens or livestock, the impact of fences on the movement of wildlife is surprisingly extensive. Although no formal count exists, a reasonable estimate is that there are thousands of kilometers of fencing in the Kootenay region, both functional and in disrepair, that act as potential barriers to wildlife movement.

“Whatever the actual number of kilometers is in the Kootenays, the magnitude of fence infrastructure is enormous, and this comes with both threats and opportunities,” states Chris Bosman, Kootenay Conservation Land Manager with The Nature Trust of BC (NTBC). According to the Alberta Conservation Association, the cumulative length of fences found in southern Alberta and northeastern Montana alone would circle the earth eight times. 

Read the full story.


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Kootenay Connect

The Nature Trust of BC is enhancing habitat for species at risk in the Wycliffe Conservation Complex, including using wildlife-friendly fencing and managing invasive species. 

Access our online KCP Partner Directory

RDCK Local Conservation Fund Service may be expanding to Area F

Alternate Approval Process indicated public support

KCP has been working with the RDCK since 2014 to support the Local Conservation Fund service in RDCK Electoral Areas A, D, and E on Kootenay Lake, and most recently Electoral Area H (Slocan Valley). We are pleased to announce that on September 5, the Alternative Approval Process (AAP) which the RDCK began on July 28 has come to a close, and the AAP indicated public approval for the service in Electoral Area F. Electoral Area F includes Beasley, Bonnington, Sproule Creek, Taghum, and the North Shore of Kootenay Lake including Six Mile.

Visit the KCP website for more information on Local Conservation Funds.

Visit the RDCK website for more information on the Alternative Approval process

KCP Conservation Leadership Awards

Nominations for 2023 close on September 15!

Do you know someone who deserves to be recognized for their conservation work in the Kootenays? The annual KCP Conservation Leadership Awards recognize individuals who have demonstrated leadership, innovation and dedication to conservation in our region. Nominees must be affiliated with a KCP partner organization and they must show a demonstrated commitment toward the KCP vision. Award winners will be announced at the KCP Fall Gathering in October. Nominations close September 15 - get your nominations in soon!

Click here to download the nomination form.

2023 KCP Fall Gathering 'Kootenay Connect Summit'

October 13 - 14, Cranbrook - Registration now open to all!

The focus of this year's Fall Gathering is the 'Kootenay Connect Summit' which will feature results from wildlife and habitat restoration projects achieved over the last four years. KCP's Fall Gathering and the Summit will take place on Friday at the Prestige Inn in Cranbrook for the presentations, delicious banquet dinner and conservation leadership awards ceremony, and the Saturday field tour to see on-the-ground work for species at risk in the Wycliffe Conservation Complex (note that the field tour is now full so register to be placed on the waitlist). Register by September 27.

Click here for more information and to register.

Columbia Valley Local Conservation Fund - Call for proposals now open! 

Deadline: October 31, 2023

KCP in partnership with the Regional District of East Kootenay (RDEK) provides funding for projects that benefit conservation in the area from Spillimacheen to Canal Flats through the Columbia Valley Local Conservation Fund (CVLCF). The closing date for project submissions is 4:30 pm MT October 31, 2023.

Click here for more information and how to apply.


RDCK Local Conservation Fund - Call for proposals now open! 

Deadline: October 31, 2023

KCP in partnership with the Regional District of Central Kootenay (RDCK) provides funding for projects that benefit conservation in the RDCK Electoral Areas A, D, E, and H (view the map) through the RDCK Local Conservation Fund. The closing date for project submissions is 4:30 pm PDT October 31, 2023.

Click here for more information and how to apply.

Conservation Ambassador Training

Modules 4, 5 & 6 coming this fall

More Conservation Ambassador Training (CAT) sessions will be coming up later this fall, in October and November. The topics will be Stewarding for Wildfire Resilience,

Stewarding for Riparian and Foreshore Habitats, and Stewarding to reduce Wildlife Conflict. In the meantime, be sure to check out the first three informative CAT modules on the KCP website. We encourage everyone to review these modules at any time to learn more about native plants and pollinators, bird nesting and roosting habitat, and water and healthy wetland/riparian habitats, as well as what to look for, how to open up a conversation with a landowner on these topics, and tips for providing more holistic advice. Contact Camille Roberge, KCP Stewardship Coordinator at if you would like more information on the upcoming CAT sessions.

Click here to access Modules 1 to 3.

The Nature Trust of BC

Honouring Carmen Purdy, conservation visionary

The late Carmen Purdy will always be remembered for his passion and dedication to BC’s wildlife and habitat. To celebrate his life, Carmen Purdy’s friends and family, along with The Nature Trust of BC’s (NTBC) Board of Directors and staff, gathered on June 14 to unveil a memorial plaque at the Hoodoos Westside Conservation Area in his memory. Carmen Purdy was known for his passion for conserving wildlife and wildlife habitat in the province; he provided 30 years of leadership and guidance to the NTBC. Carmen’s impact on British Columbian conservation cannot be understated. Under Carmen’s three decades of guidance, the NTBC was able to secure, restore, and manage hundreds of conservation lands across BC, including the Hoodoos Westside Conservation Area, where the dedication took place. Impassioned to protect the Kootenay, over 21,000 acres of conservation lands in the region were secured and protected during Carmen’s tenure on the board.  

Click here to read more

International Union for Conservation of Nature

Remembering James Thorsell, conservationist

It is with great sadness that the Kootenay Conservation Program recognizes the loss of Dr. James Thorsell. He was instrumental in conservation, both in Canada and internationally, and was a resident of the Columbia Valley. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)’s work on World Heritage, and more widely on protected areas, mountains and forests, is inextricably linked with Jim Thorsell’s life-long dedication to nature conservation. Click here to learn more about his life and here to read his memoriam. Our sincerest condolences go out to his family, friends, and conservation community.

Province of BC

Grizzly Bear Stewardship Framework Public Engagement, until September 8

Grizzly bears have special significance to the people of BC culturally and symbolically. Additionally, in western Canada, grizzly bears are designated federally as a species of special concern. The Province has prepared the Grizzly Bear Stewardship Framework in order to ensure grizzly bears do not become threatened or endangered, and to identify conservation activities, goals, and land-use measures. Success in the conservation of this species depends on the commitment and cooperation of many different partners. The Framework is intended to provide guidance for the consideration of grizzly bear values for participants on initiatives related to land and resource planning to inform local decisions. It also enables amendments to policy, legislation, and programs related to grizzly bears. During this engagement, we invite you to learn more about BC’s bears and to join the conversation by sharing your thoughts on the draft Grizzly Bear Stewardship Framework. Feedback will only be accepted until September 8 at 4 pm PT / 5 pm MT.

Click here to view the draft Grizzly Bear Stewardship Framework and share your feedback

Province of BC

Feedback on the draft commercial bear-viewing strategy, until September 8

BC is looking into new ways to work with First Nations on wildlife and habitat protection. The Province prepared a draft Commercial Bear-Viewing Strategy in collaboration with stewardship staff, advisors, knowledge holders, and hereditary chiefs and councillours. The Commercial Bear-Viewing Strategy summarizes Indigenous and Western scientific information, including how to assess potential bear viewing locations, considerations for guide training, viewing recommendations (group size), when and where to view bears, how to monitor and assess impacts of bear viewing programs, and how to provide advice for agencies managing bear viewing. There are three goals to this public engagement process: (1) Educate and inform the public on the importance of bear viewing to the economy of BC including First Nation communities, and the cumulative knowledge of the effects of viewing activities on bears and measures available to mitigate any potential impacts. (2) Seek feedback, interests, opinions, and views from the public on the draft Strategy. (3) Identify if there are knowledge gaps or deficiencies within the Strategy. Your feedback by September 8 will inform the final version of the Commercial Bear-Viewing Strategy.

Click here to view the draft Bear-Viewing Strategy document and share your feedback.

Columbia Basin Trust

Draft Management Plan – feedback accepted until September 20

The Columbia Basin Trust is inviting the public to provide feedback on the draft Columbia Basin Management Plan, which will guide the Trust’s activities into the future. Read the draft Plan and fill in the survey by September 20 at 4:30 pm PT / 5:30 pm MT. You can also call 1.800.505.8998 or email to request a hard copy and share your feedback. The Trust will use the feedback to refine the Plan, and then aims to share the finalized Plan with the public in early 2024.

Click here to read the draft plan and provide feedback.

Rocky Mountain Naturalists Club

Bluebird Nestbox Trail program in Fairmont Hot Springs area

The Fairmont Hot Springs volunteer team, operating under the umbrella of the Rocky Mountain Naturalists Club (RMN), has now joined the effort to reverse the decline of our native cavity nesting birds caused by land use changes, the use of DDT pesticide and invasive bird species. The RMN have been involved with the nestbox program for over 30 years monitoring over 350 nestboxes and involving about 30 volunteers in the Cranbrook and Kimberley area. The Fairmont Hot Springs team is managing two existing nestbox trails in the Fairmont Hot Springs area, one located in the Fairmont Meadows, and one in Lot 48 along the Spirit Trail. The team has been cleaning, maintaining, and monitoring the nestboxes, to help give our native cavity nesting birds the best chance at raising their young. In the East Kootenay we have two species of Bluebirds: The Mountain Bluebird and the Western Bluebird. The teams’s focus is on Bluebirds, but also includes other cavity nesting birds such as Tree Swallows, Violet-green Swallows, Chickadees and Nuthatches.

Click here for more information about this program or here to read an article.

Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy

Indigenous climate-resilience capacity-building pilot program

The Province is helping First Nations communities strengthen their resilience to the adverse effects of climate change through the launch of an Indigenous climate-resilience capacity-building pilot program. The Province’s BC Climate Preparedness and Adaptation Strategy has provided $2 million to fund a one-year pilot program that will be delivered by two First Nations organizations with experience delivering environmental programs: the Coastal First Nations-Great Bear Initiative (CFN-GBI) and First Nations Emergency Services Society. The scope of the pilot program consists of three streams, focused on: (1) climate-resilience staffing; (2) training and education delivery; and (3) peer-to-peer network building.

Click here to read more about this program

Living Lakes Canada

Groundwater monitoring in the Columbia Basin shows variability in response to drought conditions

Living Lakes Canada’s Columbia Basin Groundwater Monitoring Program is collecting long-term data on groundwater levels to track annual and seasonal changes. Many municipalities and rural property owners rely on groundwater, yet little is known about how climate and other impacts like land use are affecting the water underground. The program now has some wells with up to six years of data, providing us with information on how aquifers are responding to surface events. This spring, water levels in some wells were the lowest recorded to date. In one of the wells, a decreasing trend over the last six years has been seen. In other wells, peak water levels occurred earlier this year than in previous years. This corresponds with this year’s smaller winter snowpack and unseasonably early snowmelt.

Click to read the full article

Invasive Species Council of BC

Invasive Plant Management Tool for Farmers, Foragers and Ranchers

For the enthusiastic community scientist, there are options when it comes to observing and reporting native and invasive species. There is also an option specific to livestock and forage producers in BC – thWeedsBMP app. The WeedsBMP app includes identification and management information for 95 invasive plants of concern to the agricultural community. Categorized by grasses, sedges and rushes in one group, and broadleaved plants in another, detailed information is provided on identification, habitat and ecology, impacts, and management options. A summary of provincial and regional invasive plant contacts from across the province is also included.

Click here to find out more.

Yellowstone to Yukon

Parks Canada supporting ecological connectivity in southeastern BC

The Government of Canada has announced additional funding for a project aimed at improving wildlife connectivity along Highway 3 in southeastern BC and southwestern Alberta. More than $1.9 million from Parks Canada’s National Program for Ecological Corridors will support on-going construction of a series of wildlife crossings and fencing that will help many species, especially the grizzly bear and wolverine. This work will connect wildlife populations in the Yellowstone to Yukon region, including east-west over the Rocky Mountains and north-south across the Canada-U.S. border and between the large, protected areas of Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park and Banff National Park. This corridor also connects the Cabinet-Purcell Mountain and Crown of the Continent ecosystems.

Click here for a press release about this.

Ktunaxa Nation

Requested international inquiry into coal mine pollution for over a decade

In October 2012, Ktunaxa Nation asked the U.S. Secretary of State and Canada’s foreign affairs minister to task an international commission with investigating cross-border pollution from the large coal mines in southeastern BC. The nation was growing increasingly concerned about the threat this pollution posed to important fish populations, and Teck Resources was planning to expand its operations. The next year, the BC government ordered Teck to develop a plan to address its growing pollution problems. Since then, the company has invested more than $1.4 billion in water treatment and other measures to control the contamination. At the same time, mining was allowed to expand and despite the company’s efforts, it continues to pollute international waterways. After more than a decade of concerted efforts by Ktunaxa Nation to garner support for an international inquiry into the pollution, the proposal appears to be gaining traction. As Canada and the U.S. negotiate a path forward, the government of BC, which had previously been opposed to involving an international commission, has signalled a change of heart in a move the nation called “a surprising but long overdue turn of events.”

Click here to read more.


Key Biodiversity Areas Canada

iNaturalist project

As summer transitions into fall, this is a perfect time to consider visiting KBAs near you. While the rare and threatened species at most KBAs may be hard to spot (but don’t let that stop you from safely and respectfully searching!), there’s a host of other biodiversity within KBAs that is also worth looking for. The Key Biodiversity Areas of Canada iNaturalist project is a fantastic gateway to learning more about the broader biodiversity within KBAs. The project is a hub connecting the iNaturalist pages for all confirmed KBAs in Canada and we’ll be adding new KBAs to the project regularly. Search for your favorite KBA or candidate KBA through the main KBAs of Canada project, or by typing its name in the search bar. If a KBA or Candidate KBA page is missing a banner photo and you have a photo of the site that you would like to share, please contact us to have this added to the project and help showcase the beauty of these sites. Candidate KBAs in the Kootenays include the Creston Valley KBA and the Skookumchuk Prairie KBA.


Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation

Funding announced for fish and wildlife conservation projects in Kootenays

For over 40 years, the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation (HCTF) has provided grants to a large network of recipients who undertake conservation projects. Among this year’s projects in the Kootenays is the enhancement of the elk winter range in the Upper Kicking Horse Canyon. Currently in its second year and led by the Golden District Rod and Gun Club, the project aims to enhance 112 hectares of habitat for ungulate species such as Rocky Mountain elk, mule deer, and white-tailed deer. Other HCTF-funded projects taking place in the Kootenays include the creation of guidelines to inform policies for recreation and industrial activities near wolverine denning areas, a River Guardian program to maintain or improve angling conditions and native sportfish populations in eight Kootenay region watersheds, the enhancement of critical habitat for deer and elk within the Galton Range by removing dense stands of conifers and reducing invasive species, and the restoration of two wetlands in the ʔakaⱡan̓ qu (Peckham’s) area, that will improve habitat for elk, deer, and waterfowl.

Click here to read an article about this.


Forest Stewardship Council

Participate in focused consultation on lists of highly hazardous pesticides

The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is updating the Lists of Highly Hazardous Pesticides based on the existing criteria, indicators, thresholds and sources through an accelerated revision process as described in FSC-PRO-01-001: The Development and Revision of FSC Requirements. As a key step in this process, FSC will have a focused consultation from August 1 to September 30. The FSC would like to invite expert and interested people and organizations to participate in this focused consultation. To receive the FSC Consultation Platform link to participate, please contact Francesco Patino, process lead in this update, at The FSC looks forward to your participation!

Learn more about this revision process on the FSC dedicated process page.


Grasslands Conservation Council of BC

National Grasslands Inventory

The Grasslands Conservation Council of BC (GCC) is collaborating with the Canadian Forage and Grassland Association on the National Grasslands Inventory. This project will identify and describe all existing grasslands inventories in Canada and determine how various inventories can be harmonized to develop a cohesive national grassland inventory. The ultimate aim is to construct a national grassland inventory, including all major grassland types and ecoregions. This would update and inform grassland policy, decision-making and risk assessment across Canada going forward. The inventory will also allow the Canadian grassland sector and stakeholders to more accurately assess carbon stores in grassland soils and to predict real or expected loss of grasslands over time. Approximately 80 to 85 % of Canada’s native grasslands have already disappeared.

Click here to find out more about the National Grasslands Inventory and to access a questionnaire.

Columbia Shuswap Invasive Species Society

Reporting Priority Invasive and Migratory Insects

The Columbia Shuswap Invasive Species Society is encouraging anyone who spends time monitoring, photographing or observing insects to watch for and report invasive and migratory insect pests. This initiative is a collaborative project developed by the Insect Surveillance Community of Practice of the Canadian Plant Health Council, a multi-partner body that coordinates action for the protection of plant health in Canada. These invasive and migratory insect pests may harm plants, cause damage to Canada’s environment, farmlands, forests, parks and other natural areas. Early detection is critical for slowing the spread of these insect pests.

Click here for more information and to report sightings on the iNaturalist project page, or

click here to report observations to the Insect Surveillance Community of Practice.

Canadian Wildlife Federation

Canadian Aquatic Barriers Database – looking for stream crossing data

The Canadian Wildlife Federation (CWF), with help from partners including the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC), is building the Canadian Aquatic Barriers Database (CABD) - a national repository of aquatic barriers to freshwater connectivity that will support a variety of work from large-scale policy and reporting, restoration planning and prioritization, infrastructure asset management, and more. The database currently contains data for over 22,000 waterfalls, 36,000 dams, and 400 fishways that you can explore by visiting The next phase of project development will focus on the incorporation of stream crossings along roads, railways, and trails, and the Columbia River Basin is a pilot region in this project. If your organization has or maintains an inventory of stream crossing assessment data, and is interested in contributing to the project, please contact us at For more information on the project and how to navigate the web-mapping tool, please visit the CABD Documentation site

Discussion of Ecosystem Enhancement program projects

September 6, Online

The Columbia Basin Trust’s Ecosystem Enhancement Program aims to maintain and improve ecological health and native biodiversity in a variety of ecosystems by supporting landscape-scale ecosystem restoration and enhancement projects across the Basin. The Trust is hosting a virtual, Basin-wide community discussion to review and seek input on the submitted projects that could be supported through the Program, including: Bummers Flats Wetland Restoration north of Fort Steele; Steeples Ecosystem Enhancement, between Fort Steele and Wardner; Bull River Grassland Corridor Habitat Enhancement, north of Wardner; Slocan River Fish Habitat Enhancement, south of Lemon Creek; and Quartz Creek Watershed Enhancement, northwest of Golden. Your input is important and will help inform which projects could be supported. If you are unable to attend and would like to provide feedback on the project ideas, contact Krista Watts at Learn more about the Ecosystem Enhancement program here. From 9 to 11 am PT / 10 am to 12 pm MT.

Click here to register

Connecting people and landscapes: How connectivity plays a key role in landscape conservation climate work

September 7, Online

In preparation for the 5th Annual International Symposium on Conservation Impact, the Salazar Center for North American Conservation is partnering with the Network for Landscape Conservation (NLC) to share the findings of the report, 'How Landscape Conservation Partnerships are Working to Address Climate Change' through an interactive webinar series. Each conversation will explore the extent to which landscape conservation partnerships are planning, building capacity for, and implementing on-the-ground strategies to address challenges related to climate change. This webinar will focus on how strengthening connectivity – both across lands and among people – is a way for incorporating climate change into their work. The webinar will explore a case study from the NLC white paper that exemplifies how land conservation groups play a key role in promoting connectivity, why that is important within the climate context, and how partnerships are necessary to make that connectivity happen. From 11 am to 12 pm PT / 12 to 1 pm MT.

Click here for more information and to register

Salmon Festival

September 9, Invermere

The Shuswap Band would like to invite you to the Salmon Festival! All are welcome to join this fantastic festival, happening in James Chabot Park, in Invermere, to celebrate these resilient and remarkable beings and welcome them home. Festivities include a canoe brigade, a Secwepemc storyteller, hand drummers, a drumming circle, cultural dance performances, and sharing of salmon. Mark your calendars, tell your friends and family, and have fun! This event is on Saturday, September 9 from 10 am to 4 pm MT.

Click here for more information

Meadow Creek Spawning Channel Open House

September 9, Meadow Creek

Visit Meadow Creek Spawning Channel at the north end of Kootenay Lake to see the Kokanee salmon spawn this fall. The Fish & Wildlife Compensation Program, together with the Ministry of Forests, is hosting a public open house! Learn how the spawning channel works, talk to biologists about the Nutrient Restoration Program in Kootenay Lake, and find out more about co-existing with grizzly bears. The channel is located 44 km north of Kaslo off Highway 31, near Meadow Creek. On Saturday, September 9, from 10 am to 2 pm PT.

Click here for more information.


Fall Field Tour - Central Kootenay Invasive Species Society

September 14, Castlegar

Join the Central Kootenay Invasive Species Society (CKISS) for their Fall Field Tour in Castlegar to be inspired! Learn about the positive actions that citizens and organizations are taking to protect native ecosystems. Highlights include the Okanagan Nation Alliance’s Riparian Restoration project in Robson and Pike Suppression project at Zuckerberg Island, and the Butterfly Way Native Plant Garden at the Kootenay Gallery of Art. This event is free, with lunch included. Email with any questions.

Click here for more information.


Beach Clean-up

September 15, Kaslo

Join the Friends of Kootenay Lake Stewardship Society (FoKLSS) for a Beach Cleanup at Lighthouse Beach on World Beach Cleanup Day! If you're available on September 15 and are looking to show some love for Kootenay Lake, please join FoKLSS from 11 am to 1 pm PT.

Click here for more information

Ktunaxa Language Course – Connecting to the Land Through Local Language

September 18 - December 11, Online

Due to high demand, a third course has been added! Join Alfred Joseph and Mara Nelson for 12 weeks of Foundational Ktunaxa Language Learning this fall. Learn the sounds, words, and some history of the Ktunaxa Language. This course is designed for you to garner skills that will enable you to carry Ktunaxa Language forward to your classrooms, in schools, and on the land. From 6 to 7:30 pm PT / 7 to 8:30 pm MT online. Register by September 15.

Click here for more information

Webinar: Trees, Grass, and Fire

September 19, Online

Hosted by the Society for Ecological Restoration, Western Canada Chapter, this webinar with consulting ecologist and writer, Don Gayton, is about the fascinating trinity of trees, grass and fire from the perspective of BC's southern interior. These three elements have a complex, longstanding and competitive relationship in many ecosystems locally and around the world.

Don has a lifelong passion for grasslands and dry forests, and he will explore the current relationship between trees, grass, and fire, and speculate on how we can bring them into a more sustainable balance, At 6 pm PT / 7 pm MT.

Click here for more information.

Introduction to Camera Trap Data Management and Analysis in R

September 20 - 22, Revelstoke

This course aims to guide participants in effective ways to store, manipulate and analyze camera trap data within the R statistical environment. It will cover data storage and exploration of best practices, introductions to the major methods used to analyze camera trap data, all using real world camera data. The course will give participants the tools to manage, analyze and share camera trap data in an approachable and practical way! 

Click here for more information and to register. 

Wild Bear Festival: Keeping Bears Wild

September 23, Golden

Join Wildsight Golden for the first annual Golden Wild Bear Festival! In the fall, bears are foraging for all types of high calorie foods to get them through their winter denning. They often get in trouble around people, eating garbage, robbing fruit trees and generally getting in the way in our urban environment. We want to help educate everyone on how to keep our bear-human interactions as safe as possible and have fun while doing this. Activities for this event include a storywalk around Kinsmen Park, a discussion with the Conservation officer about bear relocation, an exhibit of our bear bins and the bylaws around them, presentations from Wildsafe BC about the safe use of bear spray, and from the Golden Food Bank tool shed about the apple press and food dehydrator, as well as activities for children including face painting. The festival is from 11 am to 3 pm MT at Kinsmen Park.

Click here for more details on this event.


BC Lake Stewardship Society Conference: Climate Change, Introduced Species & Eutrophication

September 23 & 24, Virtual

The BC Lake Stewardship Society (BCLSS) is excited to be hosting their annual conference in person this year, and because they have had many requests for a virtual attendance option, here it is! Space is limited, so register early to save your spot. The theme of the 2023 conference is: The Big Three – Climate Change, Introduced Species, and Eutrophication. Speakers for the various presentations include Georgia Peck, Living Lakes Canada; Nick Wong, Invasive Species Council of BC; and Kirsten McNeill, BC Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy. Registration for virtual attendance is free.

Click here for more information and to register.


BC Rivers Day Event

September 24, Invermere

The love for our BC waterways runs deep! Join Wildsight by canoe, kayak, or paddle board for their 6th annual event on the Columbia River. BC Rivers Day was founded by world-renowned river advocate Mark Angelo and the Outdoor Recreation Council of BC in 1980 to celebrate and build public awareness for our waterways. Globally, rivers and freshwater ecosystems are among the most at-risk ecosystems on the planet with increased threats from urbanization, pollution, industrial development, invasive species, damming, and excessive water extraction and climate change. Rain or shine - see you on the river!

Click here for more information

BC Rivers Day Cleanup

September 24, Nelson

Join the Friends of Kootenay Lake Stewardship Society (FoKLSS) on BC Rivers Day at Cottonwood Falls Park in Nelson for a cleanup of the creek and surrounding area! Please note that we will be cleaning around the creek, but also in the creek, so we will have chest waders available for adults to use. We will be meeting in front of the waterfall, and there will be lots of places to park. If you want to show some love for Cottonwood Creek, please join FoKLSS from 11 am to 1 pm PT.

Click here for more information.

FWCP Grant Intake Information Session

September 26, Online

Find out what grants are offered by the Fish & Wildlife Compensation Program (FWCP) and how to align your project idea with FWCP’s regional action plans. Get answers to your questions and tips to help you succeed! The session begins at 1 pm PT / 2 pm MT.

Click here for more information and to register.

Rainbow Frisbee Jordan Corridor talk

September 27, Revelstoke

Join Wildsight on Wednesday September 27, when they will be hosting Valhalla Wilderness Society’s biologist Amber Peters. She will be giving a talk about the remarkable Rainbow Frisbee Jordan corridor, the Valhalla Wilderness Society’s park proposal, and the biological importance of these nearby, intact old growth forest environments. From 7 to 8:30 pm PT.

Click here for more information.


Native Bee Study Group

September 27, Online

Join the Native Bee Society of British Columbia for their monthly Native Bee Study Group, on the fourth Wednesday each month. This monthly event is an opportunity for connecting and learning about native bees with others throughout the province. There is a theme each month, that is a jumping off point to share our own knowledge and learn from others. The September theme is "Fall Bees and their hosts". Experts and complete beginners are all welcome! The study group has a show and tell format, and anyone who is interested in participating can create a slide on the shared google slides deck to share with the group (link sent with registration). Photos can also be sent to with a subject line of "Native Bee Study Group." From 7 to 8:15 pm PT / 8 to 9:15 pm MT.

Click here for more information

4 Seasons of Indigenous Learning

October to June, Online

Registration is open for the Columbia Basin Environmental Educator's Network's upcoming 4 Seasons of Indigenous Learning! This initiative encourages and empowers educators to deepen their understanding of Indigenous knowledge and perspectives while strengthening connections with the local land. We have confirmed an incredible line-up of Indigenous presenters and learning content as part of this initiative running from October 2023 - June 2024. And for those who just want to take in the presentations, resources & support (not the modules) you can now register for this part of the learning. This learning opportunity is open to EVERYONE. We are partnering to offer this as an acknowledgement that authentically undertaking a personal learning journey takes more than just a day or month each year, but should be across all four seasons. Registration is open until October 15.

Click here for more information and to register.

Pines & People: Human Impacts on Five-Needle Pine

October 12 - 13, Revelstoke

The time has come to register for the annual Whitebark Pine Science and Management Conference. This year's theme: Pines & People: Human Impacts on Five-Needle Pine. This year’s conference will be in Revelstoke, BC, with two optional field trips: a pre-conference trip on Oct 11 to tour the Kalamalka Research Center & seedling inoculation facility in Vernon; and a post-conference trip on the 14 to visit 5-needle pine stands near Golden. Co-hosted by Parks Canada, this year's theme covers the myriad ways that the activities of people intersect with the welfare of five-needle pine. Over the two-day conference, there will be current technical talks, a public talk, a poster session, silent auction, networking events, and more. This conference has something for everyone: skiers, students, members, researchers, land managers, and other 5-needle pine enthusiasts! Click here to access Conference details and Registration.

2023 KCP Fall Gathering 'Kootenay Connect Summit'

October 13 - 14, Cranbrook - Registration now open to all!

The focus of this year's Fall Gathering is the 'Kootenay Connect Summit' which will feature results from wildlife and habitat restoration projects achieved over the last four years. KCP's Fall Gathering and the Summit will take place on Friday at the Prestige Inn in Cranbrook for the presentations, delicious banquet dinner and conservation leadership awards ceremony, and the Saturday field tour to see on-the-ground work for species at risk in the Wycliffe Conservation Complex (note that the field tour is now full so register to be placed on the waitlist). Register by September 27.

Click here for more information and to register.

Connecting to Land through Indigenous Learning

October 20, Online

Join educators and other leaders from across Turtle Island (North America) for this professional development gathering as we reconnect ourselves to the land through learning and Indigenous perspectives. Presented by the Columbia Basin Environmental Education Network (CBEEN) and Classrooms to Communities (C2C), this virtual event is centered around Indigenous Learning with a short but powerful lineup of speakers and opportunities to connect, network, and dialogue with colleagues. This event is all about connecting community organizations, stewardship, and conservation to classrooms. After our inspiring morning together, we encourage you to head outdoors and connect to the land and community. The recording will be made available to all registrants for one month, and a certificate of participation will be issued. From 9 am to 12:30 pm PT / 10 am to 1:30 pm MT.

Click here for more information and to register

Columbia Mountains Institute of Applied Ecology Annual Researcher’s Forum

October 26 & 27, Nelson – presentation proposals accepted until Sept. 8

The Columbia Mountains Institute of Applied Ecology (CMI) hosts an annual event that gathers members of the scientific community, Indigenous community members and representatives, stewardship groups, and interested individuals to provide updates on ecological projects taking place in southeastern BC. Everything from field trials, new restoration projects and their associated community initiatives, to ecosystem monitoring and research, and much more, are featured at this forum. These updates cover a wide range of topics and species. This is an informal atmosphere, and everyone is invited to attend, mix, and mingle! This event travels around the Columbia Mountains area, and this year CMI’s Researchers’ Forum will take place in Nelson. CMI will host a session highlighting aquatic work in the region, alongside a variety of other ecological projects, as well as hosting presentations and a social on Thursday Oct 26, and we will venture out for a morning of field trips on Friday Oct 27.

Click here for more information on this event.

Map our Marshes Course

November 4, Online (Register now)

The BC Wildlife Federation's Wetlands Education Program presents Map our Marshes, a free 1-day virtual workshop, open to the public. Wetlands can filter water, mitigate flooding, and provide critical habitat to hundreds of species. Unfortunately, wetlands are disappearing at an alarming rate and need our protection. Come join us to learn about the different types of wetlands and how to protect them. This entry-level workshop will introduce you to the basics of wetlands and mapping, using free software and your smartphone. Using Zoom and other online applications, the Wetlands Education Team will guide you through a workshop that is fun and engaging. Participants can explore and learn more about wetlands and mapping through interactive activities. This workshop is best experienced using a desktop or laptop computer. A stable internet connection is strongly recommended. A secondary device (smartphone, tablet) is required to fully participate in this workshop. For more information, you may contact Alana Higginson, Wetlands Education Program Coordinator at

Click here for more information and to register.

Introduction to `R` Software

November 6 – 9, Online

The Columbia Mountains Institute for Applied Ecology (CMI) is offering this online course as an introduction to the programming language R. This course will provide tips and tricks to programming in R, installation of R packages and libraries, introduction to base R objects and data types, assign a value to a name, identify functions, for loops, and conditional statements, read in data from common file types (csv/xlsx), and perform mathematical operations and linear regression. This course spans four half-days. Students are not expected to have any previous experience in R or any other programming languages, this is a true intro level course.

Click here for more information and to register

StellerImpact Grants from StellerVista

Deadline: September 15

The StellerImpact Grant application will be open from July 15 to September 15 this year, and we hope to hear from as many great initiatives as possible. No project is too big or too small for this one – so please, if you are part of moving something forward, let us know what you are up to, and how much of a difference it will make. The StellerImpact program has been built to fund projects and initiatives in the range of $1,000 to $5,000.

Click here for more information and to apply

Disaster Risk Reduction-Climate Adaptation, Union of BC Municipalities

Deadline: October 6

The intent of the Disaster Risk Reduction-Climate Adaptation funding stream from the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCN) is to support eligible applicants to reduce risks from future disasters due to natural hazards and climate-related risks through the development and implementation of accurate foundational knowledge of the natural hazards they face and the risks associated with BC’s changing climate, and effective strategies to prepare for, mitigate, and adapt to those risks. This might be of interest to local governments potentially for funding for pilots to undertake forest thinning or prescribed burning to manage the risk of wildfires, planting trees to absorb carbon and store water, restoring wetlands to store water, green shores, heat mapping, aquifer recharge, etc.

Click here for more information and to apply

Fish and Wildlife Grants from the Fish & Wildlife Compensation Program

Deadline: October 30

To apply for a fish or wildlife grant for 2024-2025, start by reviewing the Fish & Wildlife Compensation Program (FWCP)'s regional guidance documents. The next step is to develop a project idea that meets a priority in FWCP's action plans. In the Columbia region, all applicants must submit a mandatory notice of intent by September 11.

Click here for more information and to apply.

Columbia Valley Local Conservation Fund - Call for proposals now open! 

Deadline: October 31

KCP in partnership with the Regional District of East Kootenay (RDEK) provides funding for projects that benefit conservation in the area from Spillimacheen to Canal Flats through the Columbia Valley Local Conservation Fund (CVLCF). The closing date for project submissions is 4:30 pm MT on October 31, 2023.

Click here for more information and how to apply.


RDCK Lake Local Conservation Fund - Call for proposals now open! 

Deadline: October 31

KCP in partnership with the Regional District of Central Kootenay (RDCK) provides funding for projects that benefit conservation in the RDCK Electoral Areas A, D, E, and H (view the map) through the RDCK Local Conservation Fund. The closing date for project submissions is 4:30 pm PT on October 31, 2023.

Click here for more information and how to apply.

Liber Ero Fellowship Post-Doctoral program

Deadline: November 1

This post-doctoral fellowship seeks to support early-career scientists to conduct and communicate world-class research that informs conservation and management issues relevant to Canada. For instance, post-doctoral scholars are encouraged to confront emerging management challenges that are time sensitive or come up with novel analyses, perspectives, and collaborations for complex conservation problems. Conservation science includes natural, social, and interdisciplinary research pursuits. Eligible scholars will be natural or social science researchers, who have received their PhD prior to the start of the fellowship. Applicants should propose to be based at a Canadian conservation or academic institution and conduct their research primarily in Canada. Fellows will be selected based on evidence of their success and emergence as leaders in a conservation-relevant research field, as well as on the merit of their proposed research and mentorship team. 

Click here for more information.


Continuing Stewardship Grants from the Habitat Conservation Trust Fund

Deadline: November 3

The Habitat Conservation Trust Fund (HCTF) recognizes the importance of environmental stewardship and invests in projects that create stewards. Stewards include individuals, practitioners, and community organizations who take responsibility for promoting, monitoring, conserving, and restoring ecosystems to ultimately result in enduring conservation outcomes for fish and wildlife and their habitats. Proposed projects must align with our purposes as laid out in the Wildlife Act. HCTF prefers stewardship projects that create stewards through community-based, hands on engagement programs, including Citizen Science. Stewardship projects may include some on-the-ground components such as habitat restoration. Stewardship grant is undergoing an update to better integrate with other HCTF grant programs. For the fall intake which closes in November, HCTF will only accept Continuing Stewardship proposals for 2024-25 funding. The next opportunity to apply for New Phase and Seed Stewardship grants will be April 2024.

Click here for more information.


Fish & Wildlife Grants from the Habitat Conservation Trust Fund

Deadline: November 3

The Habitat Conservation Trust Fund’s (HCTF) Fish & Wildlife Grants are available to anyone (provincial or municipal governments, First Nations, academic institutions, non-government organizations, industry) for qualifying projects. Projects must meet the following criteria: focusing on native freshwater fish, wildlife, and their habitats; having the potential to achieve a significant conservation outcome; and aligned with HCTF’s purposes as laid out in the Wildlife Act. One of HCTF’s priorities is to support habitat enhancement and restoration, therefore projects that involve on-the-ground habitat enhancement and/or restoration activities are strongly encouraged.

Click here for more information

Small-scale Ecosystem Grants from the Columbia Basin Trust

Deadline: November 23

Do you have a small-scale project that helps improve ecological health and native biodiversity in the Basin? If so, the Trust wants to hear from you. Does your new project enhance a terrestrial and/or aquatic ecosystem, such as wetlands, fish habitat, forests or grasslands? Implement on-the-ground action? Have a small local scale? Take less than two years to implement? If your project meets these criteria, email Natasha Barisoff, Delivery of Benefits Manager, at to discuss your project further.

Click here for more information

Grassland and Rangeland Enhancement Program

Deadline: Ongoing

If you have an idea that will maintain or enhance grassland resources while meeting conservation, environment and recreation objectives, this program could help support it. This program is delivered by the Kootenay Livestock Association.

Click here for more information and how to apply.

Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program Community Engagement Grants

Deadline: Ongoing

Community Engagement Grants are typically $500 to $1000 and help stewardship groups and others take action to benefit local fish and wildlife.

Click here for more information and how to apply.

Columbia Basin Trust Career Internship Program

Deadline: First-come, first-served basis

The Columbia Basin Trust Career Internship Program provides eligible employers with up to 50 per cent of an intern’s salary (up to $25,000 over a seven to 12 month term) for full-time, career-focused positions that lead to permanent employment. Eligible employers are businesses, registered non-profits, municipalities, regional districts and Indigenous organizations within the Columbia Basin Trust region.

Click here for more information and how to apply.

East Kootenay Invasive Species Council

Education & Outreach Coordinator, anywhere in the Regional District of East Kootenay

Join the East Kootenay Invasive Species Council (EKISC) as an enthusiastic Education and Outreach Coordinator! This pivotal role involves coordinating impactful educational initiatives to raise public awareness about invasive species' harm in the East Kootenay region. The coordinator will develop short- and long-term educational plans, lead a team of 1-2 summer students in engaging sessions on identifying and managing invasive species, and represent EKISC at events and outreach booths. Collaborating with the Communications Manager, the Coordinator will shape social media content and resources while fostering eco-friendly change in our region. If this interests you, be sure to send your application before the deadline of September 15 at 1 pm MT. 

Click here to see the full job posting.


Real Estate Foundation of BC

Grants Coordinator, Remote

The Real Estate Foundation of BC (REFBC) is a philanthropic organization that works to advance sustainable, equitable, and socially-just land use and real estate practices across BC. They do this by funding projects, connecting people, and sharing knowledge. The Grants Coordinator is a permanent position that reports to the Director, Grants & Community Engagement. The Foundation believes that a workforce that reflects the diversity of the communities they serve strengthens our ability to achieve our mission. The REFBC is looking for an organized administrative whiz who likes to support engaged and collaborative teams, who pays strong attention to detail and is keen to learn about the roles that land-use and water planning, stewardship, and governance play in creating thriving, resilient, livable communities.

Click here for more information and to apply

Watershed Watch Salmon Society

Communications Specialist, anywhere in BC where salmon are present

Watershed Watch Salmon Society (WWSC) is a respected and influential non-profit organization that promotes wild salmon and watershed conservation in BC. The Communications Specialist will support their small team in all aspects of public communications, to multiple audiences, and through multiple platforms. You may be a great candidate if you are a highly proficient communicator with a strong conservation ethic and connection to BC watersheds and wild salmon, and you want to use your skills to inspire British Columbians to join you in defending our home waters and salmon runs. If you excel at grasping complex concepts in ecology and resource management and weaving them into compelling stories for public audiences, and you have a well-developed theory of audience and can work across multiple platforms, tailoring your messages to diverse groups of people regardless of their geography, politics, ethnicity and literacy. For this position, WWSC would also hire a salmon science or policy expert with exceptional communication skills and experience. This is a full-time permanent job with start date as soon as possible. Applications are reviewed as they are received.

Click here for more information and to apply

British Columbia Wildlife Federation

Grant Writer and Coordinator, remote

The BC Wildlife Federation (BCWF) is British Columbia’s leading conservation organization. Grant funding is a critical component of the revenue source enabling the BCWF to deliver effective programs and projects in partnership with communities across BC. The Grant Writer and Coordinator will contribute to the BCWF's objectives of ensuring a long-term management and educational awareness of BC's fish, wildlife, park, and outdoor recreational resources. This role will manage, secure, and coordinate grant & contract documents in partnership with the program leads. Strong writing and communication skills and organizational abilities to meet tight deadlines are essential aspects of this work. Applications will be accepted until the position is filled.

Click here for more information

Living Lakes Canada

High Elevation Citizen Scientists

Living Lakes Canada is inviting recreationalist to add observations to their high elevation monitoring project on the popular citizen science platform, iNaturalist. Anyone is welcome to contribute by joining the “High Elevation Monitoring Program – Living Lakes Canada” project and uploading pictures of flora and fauna they spot while recreating within the High Elevation (HE) Program’s active monitoring locations. These locations include Kokanee Glacier Provincial Park, Fletcher Lakes, Fishermaiden Lake, Macbeth Icefields, Ben Hur Lake and Shannon Lake in the West Kootenays and Talus Lakes in the East Kootenays. This citizen science project will create a valuable inventory of plant and animal species available to the HE team, as well as other researchers.

Click here to join the iNaturalist project. 

Friends of Kootenay Lake Stewardship Society

Looking for volunteers to help at the recently restored Harrop Wetlands!

Learn how to monitor Western Toads and other amphibian species at Harrop Wetland and help collect data on their reproductive success, plant diversity, water levels, and more. Please email if you would like to sign up. FoKLSS would love to see you there!

Friends of Kootenay Lake Stewardship Society

Board Members

Do you have an interest in community organizing and water stewardship, and want to share your skills with a local non-profit? Consider joining the Friends of Kootenay Lake Stewardship Society (FoKLSS) Board of Directors. Becoming a member of the FoKLSS Board is a great way to share your talents and ideas and to contribute to the great work we do in the Kootenay Lake community! We have many exciting projects on the go and our Board helps us by providing guidance and feedback at our meetings, volunteering at our events and workshops, and offering their expertise in all aspects of project planning and implementation.

Click here for more information.

Columbia Valley Local Conservation Fund

Technical Review Committee Member, Columbia Valley Region

The Regional District of East Kootenay (RDEK) in partnership with the Kootenay Conservation Program (KCP) are seeking qualified members for the Columbia Valley Local Conservation Fund (CVLCF) Technical Review Committee (TRC). The volunteer role of the TRC is to make recommendations on allocating annual funding for conservation projects for the area from Canal Flats to Spillimacheen. Applications will be received on an ongoing basis.

Click here for the full posting.

For a comprehensive list of up-to-date job postings, check the CBEEN Job & Volunteer Board, an excellent resource for Kootenay conservation career and volunteer opportunities.

Shoreline survey results available for Trout, Arrow and St. Mary Lakes

Living Lakes Canada

In 2022, Living Lakes Canada Living studied the foreshores of Trout and Arrow Lakes in the West Kootenay, and St. Mary Lake in the East Kootenay, using a federal monitoring protocol called Foreshore Integrated Management Planning, or FIMP (watch this film to learn about this program). The 2022 FIMP findings for all three lakes can now be found in reports, including Foreshore Development Guidelines, housed on the Columbia Basin Water Hub database. Living Lakes Canada entered a four-year Contribution Agreement with Fisheries and Oceans Canada in 2019 to review and revise the FIMP methodology and map or re-map priority lakes in the Canadian Columbia Basin. To date, four lakes have been surveyed for the first time and six lakes have been re-surveyed through the program. 

Click here for the reports.


Kootenay community water concerns documented in new reports

Living Lakes Canada

Earlier in 2023, Living Lakes Canada held a series of in-person public meetings in six different communities, two virtual meetings, and numerous one-on-one consultations in the East and West Kootenays to collect and document local residents’ water concerns and priorities. All the feedback received is supporting the selection of new monitoring sites as part of the Columbia Basin Water Monitoring Framework. The summary of community feedback is available in two reports: the Lower Columbia-Kootenay region, including the communities of Nelson, Rossland, Trail, Castegar, Salmo, Creston, and Yaqan Nuʔkiy; and the Upper Kootenay region, including the communities of Cranbrook, Wasa, Jaffary, Yaq̓ it ʔa·knuqⱡi ‘it, and ʔaq'am.

Click here for the Lower Columbia-Kootenay report and here for the Upper Kootenay report.


The importance of wildlife-friendly fences shouldn’t be underestimated

Yellowstone to Yukon

Wildlife-friendly fences make a big difference for animals and people. Homeowners, ranchers, farmers, and others can be great neighbors to their four-legged friends through their fence selection. They can consider how wildlife move over or under fences and choose options to limit injury. For example, pronghorn need a smooth bottom fence-line that is high enough for them to crawl under safely. But adding new fencing isn’t the only option. People can also consider whether there is old fencing they can remove on their property to avoid wildlife getting caught in abandoned barbed wire fences.

Click here to read more.

Corridor-based approach with spatial cross-validation reveals scale-dependent effects of geographic distance, human footprint and canopy cover on grizzly bear genetic connectivity

Palm et al.

Researchers studied genetics from more than 1000 grizzly bears in the Rocky Mountains of southeastern BC and southwestern Alberta to see various impacts on grizzly bear genetic connectivity including rugged terrain, protected areas, roads and other human activity. They found that across all spatial scales, geographic distance explained more variation in genetic differentiation in grizzly bears than landscape variables. Human footprint inhibited connectivity across all spatial scales, while open canopies inhibited connectivity at the broadest spatial scale. Findings underscore the negative impact of human activity on genetic flow for grizzly bears.

Click here to read the report


Farmland Advantage Impact Report 2022/2023

Investment Agriculture Foundation

The Investment Agriculture Foundation (IAF) is pleased to announce the 2022/23 Farmland Advantage (FLA) Impact Report is now available. This report provides an overview of IAF’s Farmland Advantage program, the results achieved during the year, and provides an outlook for future growth of the program. Farmland Advantage is a payment for ecosystem services program that partners with farmers and ranchers in BC to protect and conserve critical lands, streams, and habitats.

Click here for read the report.


Watershed Monitoring Reports

Friends of Kootenay Lake Stewardship Society

The Friends of Kootenay Lake Stewardship Society (FoKLSS) 2020-2022 Water Monitoring Reports are now available on their website. FoKLSS’s Kootenay Lake Watershed Monitoring Program utilizes the Canadian Aquatic Biomonitoring Inventory Network (CABIN) national water quality monitoring protocol to assess water quality through the collection and analysis of macroinvertebrate aquatic insect populations. CABIN-certified volunteers monitor several streams throughout the summer and early fall to gather samples that are sent off to a taxonomist for identification, and water quality samples are sent to a laboratory for assessment. Twenty individual stream reports can be accessed at the link below, along with information on how to interpret the data.

Click here to access the reports.

Abundance Estimates for Marsh Bird Species in the Columbia Wetlands

Rachel Darvill, Ashleigh M. Westphal, Scott A. Flemming, & Mark C. Drever 

The Columbia Wetlands are one of the largest contiguous wetland complexes in western North America. Current population estimates are necessary for designation of priority conservation areas and for reliable assessment of population status for species of conservation concern. This multi-year study (2016–2019) was designed to estimate abundances of focal and secondary marsh birds using standardized call-broadcast protocols and distance sampling methods. Abundances of focal species varied by year, and mean population estimates indicated the most abundant secretive marsh birds were Sora (Porzana Carolina), followed by American Coot (Fulica americana), Virginia Rail (Rallus limicola), and Pied-billed Grebe (Podilymbus podiceps). Most abundant secondary species were Marsh Wren (Cistothorus palustris), Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus), Yellow-headed Blackbird (Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus), and Wilson's Snipe (Gallinago delicata). Habitat covariates for detection functions varied by species, tended to include woody vegetation, tall vegetation, and open water; supporting previous studies proposing that a ‘hemi-marsh’ state is an important habitat condition for many marsh bird species. The Columbia Wetlands provide important wetland habitat and these estimates underscore the need for effective management for the conservation of BC’s avifauna.

Click here to access the report.

Secretive marsh bird occupancy across a spectrum of hydroelectric reservoir management in western montane Canada

Ashleigh M. Westphal, David J. Green, Janice E. Arndt, Rachel Darvill & Mark C. Drever

This report outlines how the alteration of hydrological regimes for generating hydroelectric power has affected the occurrence of secretive marsh bird species in the West Kootenay and Columbia Wetlands regions of BC. Sampling was done across a spectrum of hydrological regimes and other potentially relevant factors. At each survey station, the researchers assessed wetland occupancy during the breeding season using broadcast-callback surveys focused on five secretive marsh bird species: American bittern (Botaurus lentiginosus), American coot (Fulica americana), pied-billed grebe (Podilymbus podiceps), sora (Porzana carolina), and Virginia rail (Rallus limicola). Additionally, they measured vegetation structure and the proximity and size of nearby water bodies for each survey station, and then used occupancy models to assess important correlates behind wetland occupancy for these marsh bird species, considering water management operations, regional differences, and local- and landscape-level wetland characteristics. Secretive marsh bird species were more likely to occupy wetlands in areas with less frequently altered hydrological regimes. Therefore, the authors suggest that reservoir management is altering vegetation communities within these wetlands, indirectly promoting lower occupancy of secretive marsh bird species.

Click here to read the full report

Spatial distribution of selenium and other potentially toxic elements surrounding mountaintop coal mines in the Elk Valley

Wyatt Petryshen

Despite the extent of of mountaintop coal mining in the Elk Valley, which is BC’s largest metallurgical coal-producing region, little is known about the transport and deposition of fugitive dust emissions within its mountain landscape. This study aimed to assess the extent and spatial distribution of selenium and other potentially toxic elements (PTEs) near the town of Sparwood originating from fugitive dust emitted from two mountaintop coal mines. To achieve these objectives, concentrations of 47 elements within moss tissues of Hylocomium splendensPleurozium schreberi, and Ptilium crista-castrensis were analyzed. This study found that selenium concentrations are a function of proximity to mountaintop mines, and the region's topographic features and prevailing wind patterns play a role in the transport and deposition of fugitive dust. Silver, germanium, nickel, uranium, vanadium, and zirconium were identified as other PTEs of concern.

Click here to read the full report.

Dynamic balancing of risks and rewards in a large herbivore: Further extending predator–prey concepts to road ecology

Marie-Pier Poulin, Seth G. Cherry & Jerod A. Merkle

Animal behaviour is shaped by the ability to identify risks and profitably balance the levels of risks encountered with the payoffs experienced. Anthropogenic disturbances like roads generate novel risks and opportunities that wildlife must accurately perceive and respond to. Funded by Parks Canada, this study tested whether animals dynamically balance risks and rewards relative to roads using extensive field-based and GPS collar data from elk in Yoho National Park, where a major highway completely bisects their range during most of the year. The researchers found that elk generally selected intermediate and high forage biomass and avoided crossing the road. Most of the time, elk modulated their behaviour given varying risks and rewards.

Click here to read the full report.

Addressing ecological connectivity in the development of roads, railways and canals

International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) World Commission on Protected Areas

This past summer, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) – the world’s premier biodiversity organization – released its first in-depth publication on the challenges and solutions of safeguarding biodiversity during the building of roads, railways and canals. It provides information critical for the conservation of wildlife and the protection of nature in the face of rapid linear transport infrastructure development across the globe. The report provides an overview of practical, feasible, science-based strategies for managers of protected and conserved areas, transport practitioners, industry, conservationists, and other interested stakeholders to reduce the impacts of infrastructure on the environment. From planning and design to construction, operations, and monitoring, the report synthesizes the state of the field and offers a way forward. This report takes inspiration from the great diversity of local, national, and transboundary connectivity conservation efforts already underway. Over the course of more than three years, this report has benefited from contributions from over thirty experts from six continents. It is expected to increase awareness and inspire commitment, the allocation of resources, good governance, and effective policies. Combined, these actions will contribute to more successful conservation, sustainable livelihoods, and resilient landscapes.

Click here to read the full report

Species-at-risk Recovery in BC: Case Study

Jared Hobbs, M.Sc., R. P. Bio & Todd Mahon, M.Sc., R.P. Bio

An independent case study found that logging is the biggest contributing factor for the decline of southern mountain caribou and spotted owls in British Columbia. In the case of spotted owls, logging is pervasive across the habitat, extreme in the severity of harm and has an extremely high overall risk ranking, according to the report. The case study assesses wildlife decline in BC and the legal gaps responsible in three geographic regions of BC (coastal, southern and northern areas), for six different species; caribou (southern mountain and boreal), spotted owls, western rattlesnake, great basin gopher snake, great basin spadefoot, and tiger salamander, representing diverse threats causing their decline. The study uses eleven threat categories developed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) to assess whether these threats are addressed in provincial law. Findings show that multiple IUCN threats are not being considered through provincial or federal legal measures. They also highlight that the federal Species-at-risk Act (SARA) does not have automatic legal authority on provincial crown land, which makes up 94 % of the land base, and that no provincial legislation is designed specifically to protect critical habitat.

Click here to read the full report.

An Honest Accounting: Improving BC'S Approach to Claiming Other Conserved Areas

Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society & EcoJustice

Canada has committed to protecting 25% of its lands and waters by 2025 as a milestone to protecting 30% of both by 2030. It will take collaborative efforts from all levels of government - Indigenous Nations, community partners and experts - to create meaningful, effective protected and conserved areas that conserve ecological and cultural values. “Other conserved” areas were initially conceived as a tool to make the creation of protected areas more inclusive, recognizing Indigenous and community conservation values. As pointed out in this recent report by CPAWS and EcoJustice, unfortunately, BC has misused this tool to falsely inflate their progress towards protected area targets. This report was created to take a deep dive into the three designations - Old Growth Management Areas (OGMAs), Wildlife Habitat Areas (WHAs), and Wildland Zones - that make up more than 97%, by size, of BC’s claimed “other conserved” areas. The authors underscore it is critical that BC and other jurisdictions apply rigorous standards in their accounting of protected areas and other effective conservation measures (OECMs) to ensure these areas legitimately promote in-situ (i.e. “in place”) biodiversity conservation, to comply with Canadian and international standards in order to meaningfully contribute to 30 by 30.

Click here to view the full report.

KCP Stewardship Solutions Toolkit

Resource updated with growing number of stewardship listings

In 2019, KCP launched Stewardship Solutions, an easy-to-access stewardship resource for landowners and land managers in the Kootenays available both in print and online. We keep this resource up to date, and encourage you to access all the available stewardship "solutions" (i.e. services and resources) available in each of the 14 Conservation Neighbourhoods. Visit the website, select your location on the homepage map, and you'll be brought to the growing list of stewardship options available in your region.

Visit the Stewardship Solutions website.

Kootenay Conservation Program

Conservation Resources for our Region

The Kootenay Conservation Program helps partners to coordinate and facilitate conservation efforts on private land, and in an effort to support this, KCP has developed a webpage that compiles some of the best conservation and stewardship resources available for our region.

Click here for more information.