Conservation in the Kootenays
Monthly eNews

June 2023

CVLCF Field Tour on May 16, 2023

On May 16, KCP hosted a Columbia Valley Local Conservation Fund (CVLCF) Field Tour. The tour included three locations where the project leads presented about their important conservation projects. The photo above is of a Swallow Condo near Invermere, which provides nesting habitat for barn swallows. See KCP News for more information about the recent field tour.


Critter Day 2023 took place on May 13 at Beaver Creek Provincial Park near Trail, and was a huge success! Hundreds of children and families had the opportunity to see live local species including rubber boas, skinks, and Western painted turtles. See KCP News for more information.


Make sure to 'Save the Date' of October 13 and 14 for KCP's 2023 Fall Gathering! This year's theme will be the Kootenay Connect Summit, featuring results from species at risk and habitat restoration projects achieved over the past four years. The event will take place in Cranbrook with a field tour on the second day. See KCP News for more details.


KCP’s Conservation Leadership Award is open for nominations for 2023! 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. Please see KCP News for more information.


Be sure to have a look at our Biodiversity Buzz section below, where this month we are featuring a video showcasing conservation projects being done through Kootenay Connect Priority Places initiative in the Columbia Valley. Special thanks to Valerie Huff of the Kootenay Native Plant Society for the gorgeous photo of the Metallic Green Sweat Bee on Bitterroot. Bitterroot is an important native food plant for many Indigenous peoples including Ktunaxa, Sylix, and Sinixt.

KCP logo

Faces and Places

Myra Juckers is part of the Land and Resources Department with the Yaq̓it ʔa·knuqⱡi ‘it First Nation (Tobacco Plains Band), located in Grasmere.


In her role as Environmental Officer, she is directly involved with many on the ground projects including wetland restoration and ungulate habitat enhancement. She especially enjoys being able to connect with a variety of people and organizations, including specialists, government staff, consultants, and NGOs.


“It is awesome to be able to connect with a wide spectrum of people and make these projects happen. For example, for the wetland restoration project that we're working on, I will be collaborating with the East Kootenay Invasive Species Council (EKISC), and various specialists and consultants, as well as the Columbia Basin Trust, who are funding the project.”


Another project that Myra is excited about is the habitat enhancement project in the Galton Mountain Range.


Read the full story.

Submissions

Please feel free to submit any news, events or photos you'd like us to share in our monthly eNews by the 26th of each month to:

megan@kootenayconservation.ca


And if you are providing a stewardship service in the Kootenays, and would like to be included in the KCP Stewardship Solutions Toolkit, email:

kendal@kootenayconservation.ca

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Kootenay Connect

Click "go" to see how CWSP is restoring habitat in the Columbia Valley for four species at risk: Western painted turtle, Lewis's woodpecker, osprey, and American badger. 

Access our online KCP Partner Directory

Conservation Leader Rob Neil

Share memories in a tribute book

It is with great sadness that we share the news of the passing of Rob Neil. Rob was a conservation leader, a valued mentor, and an amazing person. He was on the KCP Securement Committee and KCP Board for many years representing the Nature Trust of BC. His outstanding leadership was recognized by awarding him a KCP Conservation Leadership Award in 2017. You can read more about him in his Faces and Places feature. The KCP partnership is deeply saddened by his loss. Many of us spent time with him in April at a Wildlife meeting since, even in his retirement, he was still passionate about wildlife conservation. His Celebration of Life was held in Cranbrook on May 13. If you have memories of Rob that you would like to share, here is a link to sign a book honouring his life. 


KCP Conservation Leadership Award

Open for nominations for 2023

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.

Click here to download the nomination form.


Columbia Valley Local Conservation Fund

Field Tour Summary

On May 16, KCP hosted a Columbia Valley Local Conservation Fund (CVLCF) Field Tour. Elected officials from the Regional District of East Kootenay (RDEK) Columbia Valley Sub-Committee, key RDEK staff, and members of the CVLCF Technical Review Committee were invited to tour three project sites that have received CVLCF support. Attendees had the opportunity to learn more about local wild sheep conservation efforts, biodiversity and beavers in the Columbia Wetlands, and swallow habitat enhancement in the Columbia Valley. We would like to extend our sincere thank you to those who participated, and to the project leads that presented on their important conservation projects. CVLCF project profiles and more information about the CVLCF can be found on the KCP website


Critter Day 2023 a success

Held at Beaver Creek Park on May 13

Critter Day 2023 saw approximately 700 people come out to see many local species at risk, learn from biologists and other specialists, and participate in activities including playing outdoor Snakes & Logs, and building and painting bird boxes. The cast of critters was extensive and included rubber boas, skinks, Western painted turtles, juvenile sturgeons, and native bees. Other displays included native plants, aquatic insects, and much more. Thank you to all staff and volunteers! Special thanks to Al and Karen and others from the Trail Wildlife Association for the addition of the birdbox building which was a big hit.

Click here to see a video compilation of Critter Day 2023. 


KCP Stewardship Committee Spring Tours

Field Tours taking place in East and West Kootenays

On Thursday, June 6, KCP will be hosting a local field trip as part of the East Kootenay Stewardship Meeting, led by Joe Strong, Kootenay Conservation Manager with the Nature Trust of BC. The destination will be the Bull River Grassland Corridor, and the tour will run from 12:45 - 3:30 pm MT. On Wednesday, June 14, as part of the West Kootenay Stewardship Meeting, there will be a local field trip to the Bonanza Biodiversity Corridor, from 12:45 - 3:30 pm PT. This field tour will be led by Ryan Durand and Tyson Ehlers. If you are interested in attending either field tour, please contact KCP Stewardship Coordinator Camille Roberge at camille@kootenayconservation.ca.


2023 KCP Fall Gathering 'Kootenay Connect Summit' – Save the Date!

October 13 - 14, Cranbrook

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 be a full-day affair from 10:00 am to 4:30 pm on Friday followed by a delicious banquet dinner and conservation leadership awards ceremony. We will be meeting at the Prestige Inn in Cranbrook. The Saturday field tour is still being planned, so keep an eye on future newsletters for more information. 


Kootenay Connect featured

Community Nominated Priority Places Canadian wide showcase

Earlier this year in April, Kootenay Connect Manager Marcy Mahr presented at a cross-Canada showcase of Community Nominated Priority Places (CNPP). More than 100 people joined to learn about some of the amazing conservation work happening in CNPPs across Canada. In the Kootenay Connect presentation, Marcy summarizes some highlights from the first four years of Kootenay Connect (KC) projects, as well as outlining the bigger picture of the importance of the KC Community-Nominated Priority Places program.

Click here to access a recording of the presentation. 


KCP and RDCK are seeking Technical Review Committee members 

Qualified residents of Electoral Area H Slocan Valley are preferred

The Regional District of Central Kootenay (RDCK), in partnership with KCP, is seeking qualified members for the RDCK Local Conservation Fund Technical Review Committee (TRC). Residents of the Slocan Valley with technical expertise in wildlife, habitat or hydrology can apply to be a member of the TRC, which is a volunteer panel who reviews the applications for funding through the LCF service in RDCK Electoral Areas A, D, E and H. This is a volunteer term for three years. Travel expenses will be covered for those who require them. Please contact Kendal Benesh, Local Conservation Fund Coordinator at kendal@kootenayconservation.ca.

Click here for more information


KCP backgrounder document

Conservation Priorities in the Kootenays

This month, the Columbia Basin Trust is presenting the initial results of its community engagement sessions which were held over the past few months. The Kootenay Conservation Program has created a document to outline effective conservation priorities recognized by KCP and our partners, and collaborative approaches to work towards achieving these conservation goals for the next 10 years. The Conservation Priorities document can be used as a reference when attending the Trust's community engagement sessions. If you'd like to see the funding of conservation activities as a priority, please share your thoughts during this process! Please see the Events section of this newsletter for the date and location of the upcoming community Symposiums which will be held this month in Trail and Golden.

Columbia Basin Environmental Education Network

4 Seasons of Indigenous Learning - Early bird registration now open!

Early bird registration is now open for the 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. 

Click here for more information and to register.


Columbia Salmon Reintroduction Initiative

Bringing the Salmon Home documentary

Bringing the Salmon Home: The Columbia River Salmon Reintroduction Initiative is an Indigenous-led collaboration of the Syilx Okanagan Nation, Ktunaxa Nation, Secwépemc Nation, and the governments of Canada and British Columbia. Salmon have been blocked from returning to the Canadian portion of the upper Columbia River for more than 80 years. The long-term vision is to return salmon stocks for Indigenous food, social and ceremonial needs, and to benefit the region’s residents and ecosystems as a whole. This documentary was produced with the Syilx Okanagan, Secwépemc and Ktunaxa Nations, and the goverments of Canada and BC, and premiered at the recent online festival also called Bringing the Salmon Home. For more info and to support the work of the Columbia Salmon Reintroduction Initiative, please see their website.

Click here to see the documentary. 


Western Canada Bat Conservation

Three species of bats assessed as endangered by COSEWIC

Three bat species: Eastern Red, Hoary, and Silver-haired, have declined dramatically in recent years and COSEWIC, the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada, recently assessed each of them as Endangered. Because they fly at night and don’t roost in large groups, Eastern Red, Hoary, and Silver-haired bats are elusive. These bats have faced losses in both habitat and food, as their roosting trees have been logged and their insect prey reduced by pesticides. And collisions with wind turbines on the bats’ migratory flight south in the autumn pose a substantial threat – hundreds of thousands of bats are estimated to be killed this way every year. The good news is that mitigation can allow renewable energy and bats to coexist on the landscape.

Click here to read an update from COSEWIC, and click here to access related news on the WCBC website


BC Wildlife Federation

Yaqan Nukiy First Nation to release one million fish into restored wetland

The Yaqan Nukiy Lower Kootenay Band will release more than one million burbot in a restored wetland in the Creston Valley this year. Five years ago, in partnership with the BC Wildlife Federation, the Band began the process of restoring 517 hectares of floodplains, streams and rivers after decades of aridity. The wetland areas being restored were once part of a natural floodplain, they were diked off causing a disconnect from the rivers and streams in the late 1960’s. Since 2004, the Kootenai Tribe of Idaho has been running a burbot hatchery using Canadian brood stock, in cooperation with the government of British Columbia. Now, the descendants of those fish are coming home. 

Click here to read the article. 


Fish & Wildlife Compensation Program

Approved 33 projects in the Columbia Region

The Fish & Wildlife Compensation Program's (FWCP) Columbia Region board has approved a range of projects that benefit elk, deer, kokanee, grizzly bears, bees, swallows, the endangered northern leopard frog and others. Ecosystem improvements in wetlands, grasslands and riparian areas will receive funding in 2023-2024 and are among the 33 projects that will share the $6.2 million approved by our board. Ongoing work to rebuild ecosystems in Kootenay Lake and the Arrow Lakes Reservoir will continue through our Nutrient Restoration Program, along with long-term funding for the maintenance and operation of the Hill Creek and Meadow Creek spawning channels. Other funding was approved for priority Indigenous-led projects that align with our action plans, and stewardship of conservation lands. We are also funding projects to reduce invasive species and protect high-value ecosystems near Kootenay Lake and Grasmere and in the Elk Valley.

Click here for more information


Living Lakes Canada

Executive Director receives two BC Achievement Awards

On May 10 at the Government House in Victoria, Living Lakes Canada Executive Director Kat Hartwig was one of 20 outstanding community leaders to receive a BC Achievement Community Award, and the sole recipient of the Mitchell Award of Distinction for her lifelong work in environmental conservation and freshwater protection. As the founder of Living Lakes Canada, Kat has led a paradigm-shifting approach to water management. 

Click here for the full article.


Living Lakes Canada

The Youth Perspective: Setting Sockeye Salmon free in the Columbia River

It was May 19th, 2022 when Trinda Cote, Indigenous Youth Ambassador with Living Lakes Canada, had the opportunity to release Sockeye Salmon fry into the Columbia River. Sqlelten7úw̓i (Sockeye Salmon) haven’t been seen in the waters for over 82 years and, as part of the Columbia River Salmon Reintroduction Initiative, this ceremony to call the salmon home was a grounding and inspiring experience.

Click here for Trinda’s account.


Wildsight Golden

Annette Lutterman received the 2023 Ellen Zimmerman Award

In honour of her tireless conservation efforts in the Upper Columbia Valley, Golden resident Annette Lutterman received the 2023 Ellen Zimmerman Award! Annette was nominated by multiple people who all praised her countless volunteer efforts in restoring local habitats, improving local air quality, and bringing a wealth of knowledge and wisdom to local conservation issues. One of her best-known projects over the years has been her beaver ecology work. She has spearheaded research on local beaver populations, becoming a champion in helping us understand the important role beavers play in the ecosystems around the Upper Columbia. Annette shares these words of inspiration: “There’s nothing more precious to all of us than our beautiful natural world and we have to stand up for it and work together as much as we can and appreciate it and love it and have fun in it.”

Click here to read the full story.

 

Wildsight Golden

Raffle to support bird conservation initiatives of UCSHEP

Support Wildsight Golden’s bird conservation initiatives of the Upper Columbia Swallow Habitat Enhancement Project (UCSHEP). Barn Swallows are a beautiful species with intrinsic value that provide immense mosquito control. A single adult can eat up to 850 mosquitoes in a single day! They are a majestic bird, but now a species at risk in Canada. Contribute to swallow conservation and celebrate this species by purchasing a raffle ticket to have the opportunity to win a beautiful wooden carving by Parson resident Cory Schacher.

Click here for more information and to buy a raffle ticket.

 

Wildsight Fernie

Controversial rezoning of Galloway Lands near Fernie

Wildsight extends gratitude to everyone (400 + people) who wrote emails and letters and showed up to the in-person and virtual hearings regarding the proposed Galloway Lands development. Unfortunately, the rezoning proposal passed its third reading at the RDEK board table. While the outcome of this process wasn’t what we were hoping for, we are no strangers to decision-makers disregarding the majority at public hearings. The fact still stands that this project will have negative impacts on this important wildlife corridor and on aquatic species in Lizard Creek. The silver lining is knowing the people of the Elk Valley are passionate about our local wild places and are willing to stand up for wildlife and clean water. The fight to protect our rich biodiversity, and to be good stewards of one of North America’s most critical corridors, continues.

Click here for more information in an article in the Narwhal.


Farmland Advantage

Wildfire Risk Reduction Pilot Project

In 2022 Farmland Advantage (FLA) expanded to begin a wildfire risk reduction pilot project, funded by the Government of BC through the Ministry of Forests. Support from the BC Wildfire Service (BCWS) is focused on reducing wildfire risk and increasing community resiliency to wildfires across BC. At the end of this pilot, the FLA team hopes to have increased the resiliency of landscapes within the treatment areas. The goal is to reduce wildfire risk within regions that have been previously identified as “hot spots” for Species at Risk and for other Ecological values. Five sites totaling 380 hectares have been selected for their potential to mitigate the risk of wildfire in the immediate and adjacent areas. Of the five sites selected, three are in the Cariboo, one is in Thompson-Okanagan-Nicola, and one is in the Kootenays.

Click here for more information. 


Parks Canada

New laws on TransCanada Highway near Field to keep bears safer

In a bid to keep bears safer as they feast on roadside greenery, a no-stopping zone along a dangerous stretch of the Trans-Canada Highway in Yoho National Park was implemented just before the May long weekend. The 10-kilometre no-stopping zone, combined with a reduced speed limit of 70km/h, stretches from Sherbrooke Creek near the Alberta-B.C. border to the Takakkaw Falls turnoff at Yoho Valley Road just east of Field – where several blacks bears and a rare white grizzly bear have been seen.

Click here for more information.


Western Canada Bat Conservation Program

Bat fungus that causes white nose syndrome detected in B.C.

The fungus that causes white nose syndrome in bats has been detected in bat guano in the Grand Forks area. Since the arrival of the fungus on the west coast of the United States in 2016, the Province has been monitoring for its arrival in B.C. The Ministry of Water, Land and Resource Stewardship is working with multiple partners to implement enhanced surveillance for the disease, as well as reduce threats to bat habitat. Since bats eat a wide variety of insects and pests, they are essential for keeping B.C.’s ecosystems in balance. The public is asked to contact the BC Community Bat Program or the Ministry of Water, Land and Resource Stewardship with any information on the location of winter bat roosting sites, unusual behaviour, such as flying during the day, and observations of dead bats.

Click here for more information


Living Lakes Canada

High Elevation Monitoring in the Columbia Basin: Pilot Year Summary

The High Elevation Monitoring Program aims to generate baseline data on alpine ecosystems and establish long-term monitoring to understand how these ecosystems, and the watersheds they are a part of, are responding to climate change. In 2022, Living Lakes Canada piloted the High Elevation Monitoring Program in Kokanee Glacier Provincial Park and Shannon Lake in B.C. This report outlines the methodology, monitoring locations and results. The data collected will be made publicly accessible through the Columbia Basin Water Hub database.

Click here for the report.


Province of BC

Video: An Overview of The Old Growth Strategic Review

Managing forests in British Columbia is changing in response to pressing ecological and community needs. Nowhere is this more evident than in the way we are changing how we manage our oldest and rarest forests. We are engaging with First Nations and collaborating with sector participants across the province as we accelerate the protection of these vital ecosystems. New Forest Landscape Planning tables are underway to ensure science, established and innovative practices, and indigenous knowledge guide our decisions as we contend with extreme events like wildfire, beetle kill and invasive species.

Click here to watch the video.


BC Ministry of Water, Land & Resource Stewardship

Tree Frog Study

Wildlife ecologist Ian Adams and Leigh Anne Isaac, BC Small Mammal and Herpetofauna Specialist with BC Ministry of Water, Land & Resource Stewardship are working on a project to determine if there are two species of treefrog, Pseudacris sp., in southern British Columbia. Currently only one species, the Northern Pacific Treefrog, Pseudacris regilla is recognized to occur from the coast to the Rocky Mountains. However, recent evidence suggests that treefrogs in at least the Kootenay region belong to Sierra Treefrog, Pseudacris sierra. Ian and Leigh Anne are looking to collect treefrog tissue samples from the Southern Interior for genetic testing to determine if there are two species and, if so, where that change might occur. See this photo of a Pseudacris sp. tree frog. If you know of a site where treefrogs breed in British Columbia that is east of the Cascade and Coast Mountains, please get in touch with Ian and Leigh Anne via email at: larixecol@gmail.com.


Province of BC 

Watershed strategy co-developed with First Nations, $100 million invested

Government and the B.C.-First Nations Water Table announced an unprecedented $100-million investment in healthy watersheds and the launch of engagement on a new co-developed watershed security strategy intentions paper to help ensure safe, clean water is available to communities throughout B.C. for generations. This $100-million investment in the Watershed Security Fund builds on last year’s $30-million commitment announced in Budget 2022, and will continue to improve B.C.’s watersheds and build on the success of a previous $27-million investment in the Healthy Watersheds Initiative (HWI) under the StrongerBC economic plan.

Click here to see the press release.


Canadian Council on Invasive Species 

Seeking research papers with linkages between invasive species and climate change

The Canadian Council on Invasive Species (CCIS) is working with partners across Canada to develop a National Invasive Species and Climate Change (NISCC) Network, which leverages the approach of the successful Regional Invasive Species and Climate Change (RISCC) Network in the USA. Like the RISCC management network, NISCC will work to reduce the joint effects of climate change and invasive species by synthesizing relevant science, sharing the needs and knowledge of managers, and building stronger scientist-manager communities. We are seeking Canadian-based research papers that have linkages between invasive species and climate change. With approval from the authors, submitted research will be summarized into one page, highlighting key findings, and shared online to support invasive species management. Submit research papers to programs@canadainvasives.ca. Please include “NISCC Research Submission” in the subject line.

Click here for more information


Kootenay Community Bat Project

Researchers seek public assistance as disease threatens BC’s bats

The Kootenay Community Bat Program, in collaboration with the Province of BC, are asking the public for help in the effort to detect and prevent the spread of White-Nose Syndrome (WNS). Residents are urged to report any bat activity observed in winter and any sick or dead bats found before May 31st. WNS is a fungal disease responsible for the death of millions of bats in eastern North America, and it continues to spread on the West Coast. The disease, which is harmless to humans, has been confirmed in bats just 100 kilometers south of the USA / BC border. 

Click here for more information and to report signs of bats


Kootenay Native Plant Society

New Mason Bee Species Found in the Kootenays

Introducing Osmia (Cephalosmia) nr. subaustralis, a new discovery! Thanks to a grant from the Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program, the Columbia Basin Trust, and a Mitacs Internship, the Kootenay Native Plant Society have found 39 Mason Bee species in Camas meadows in the West Kootenay. This includes two mason bee species new to BC, and one new to science. The unequal cellophane bee has never before been documented in BC. We found large nest aggregations along the Columbia River, from Fort Shepherd Conservancy to Millennium Park. As Rowan Rampton states “The fact that this abundant, large bee could go unnoticed until now again highlights the importance of pollinator monitoring, and how little is known about the bees of the West Kootenay region."

You can learn more about this amazing bee here.


Ducks Unlimited Canada

Rancher Partnership Program 

B.C. ranches are hotspots for biodiversity and play a critical role in our overall landscape resiliency and the health of our rural communities. Ducks Unlimited Canada launched the Rancher Partnership Pilot in 2022. The multiyear pilot is a partnership-based program focused on the conservation, restoration, and stewardship of wetlands, riparian areas, and grasslands of B.C.’s interior. Through the pilot program, DUC is working directly with ranchers to steward and protect species at risk habitat, enhance biodiversity, and increase carbon sequestration. On-the-ground conservation activities take many forms, but in terms of the Rancher Partnership Pilot they include infrastructure needs such as fencing and water developments or wetland and grassland enhancement and restoration. The Cariboo-Chilcotin region is a priority area for the 2023 Rancher Partnership Pilot, but Ducks Unlimited is happy to discuss potential projects on ranchlands across interior British Columbia. Interested? Let’s talk. Contact Matthew Christensen at m_christensen@ducks.ca, or by phone at 604-341-0672.

3rd Annual Lake Biodiversity Photo Challenge

May 1 to July 31, Lakes everywhere

The 2023 Lake Biodiversity Photo Challenge is now open! Living Lakes Canada’s Photo Challenge is the sister event to the National Lake Blitz that celebrates the beauty of lakes in Canada and raises awareness around what’s threatening their incredible biodiversity. This year, submissions across 4 different categories will be accepted until July 31: (1) Lake Landscapes, (2) Lake Biodiversity, (3) Lake Impacts, and (4) Kids Category (photographers under 12). Photos can be submitted via the online form or on social media using the hashtag #LakeBlitzPhoto2023. Winners will receive prizes from Earth Rangers, LUSH, Kicking Horse Coffee, Float-Eh and Teadore.

Click here to enter the Photo Challenge.


Guided Wetland Paddling Event

June 3, Golden

Join other paddlers and naturalists from Wildsight Golden in an exploratory paddle of the UNESCO World Heritage site, the Columbia Wetlands. The paddle will take place from Brisco to Spillimacheen. Bring your paddleboard, kayak or canoe and paddle with us during this dramatic time in the wetlands. This will be a slow paddle, so beginner paddlers are welcome as well as non-furry children. Bring your PDFs, snacks, good outdoor gear and drinking water. Meet at Reflection Lake at 9 am to consolidate vehicles and car-pool. We should be finished paddling about 1 pm and will return to Golden by around 2:30 pm.

Click here for more information


RDEK Agricultural Wildfire Preparedness Forum

June 3, Fort Steele

The East Kootenay FireSmart Program, in collaboration with the Kootenay Livestock Association, will be hosting the RDEK Agricultural Wildfire Preparedness Forum at Fort Steele Heritage Town. This forum will focus on emergency preparedness for wildfire events as it relates to farms and ranches. The day will include guest speakers, door prizes, demonstrations, testimonials, as well as discussion on wildfire risk mitigation, animal-related emergencies, and support systems currently available. Lunch and refreshments will be provided. There is no cost for the session, however, registration is required in advance. Please email kla@kootenaylivestock.ca by noon on May 31. From 9:30 am to 3 pm MT.

Click here for more information.


BC Trails Day Weed Pull & Restoration Events

June 3, Kimberley

Save the date to join the East Kootenay Invasive Species Council (EKISC), the Wildsight Youth Corp, and the Kimberley Trail Society to celebrate BC Trails Day. Come give back to the trails that give us so much! At Kimberley Nature Park, site TBD.


KCP Spring Field Tour

June 6, Bull River Grassland Corridor

On Thursday, June 6, KCP will be hosting a local field trip as part of the East Kootenay Stewardship Meeting, led by Joe Strong, Kootenay Conservation Manager with the Nature Trust of BC. The destination will be the Bull River Grassland Corridor, and the tour will run from 12:45 - 3:30 pm MT. If you are interested in attending this field tour, please contact KCP Stewardship Coordinator Camille Roberge at camille@kootenayconservation.ca.


Kootenay Boundary Farm Advisors (KBFA) Field Day and Farm Tour

June 6, Tarrys near Castlegar

This farm tour is an informal gathering for commercial market gardeners to discuss nutrient management strategies for West Kootenay soils with Dr. Bill Chapman, owner and operator of Hawthorn Creek Farm. A large part of the discussion will be reviewing soil sample results from from two different local farms where topics like soil texture, available nitrogen and phosphorus are being investigated. Dr. Bill Chapman and his wife Louisa have been market gardening for over five years at Hawthorn Creek Farm and are using as many forest products as possible such as soft wood and ramial wood chips to enhance soil texture and manage soil nutrients. Farming Kootenay soils requires a different approach for each micro environment and therefore this discussion club is intended to support producers to understand some of the key principles to soil management. From 1 to 4 pm PT.

Click here for more information and to register.


Bat Count Workshop

June 6, Invermere

The Kootenay Community Bat Project (KCBP) is delighted to announce a series of Bat Count Workshops taking place across the Columbia Basin. This is a family friendly event, children are welcome! The Bat Count on June 6 near Invermere is at the K2 Ranch, from 9 to 11 pm. 

Click here for more information and to register.


Columbia Basin Trust Symposia

June 9 & 10, Trail • June 23 & 24, Golden

For more than two decades, Basin residents have been connecting with each other at Trust symposia to discuss common interests. This year, the one-and-a-half day events will allow the Trust to share what we’ve heard from you during the community engagement process and continue to seek your feedback. Plus, together we’ll celebrate the region through food, music, art and entertainment.

Click here for more information.


Native Plant Walk

June 10, Rossland

Join Eva Cameron with the Kootenay Native Plant Society for a guided walk to view and discover the natural beauty of Record Ridge near Rossland. Botanists and native bee specialists will be on the hike as well. This is an opportunity to view an incredible landscape, which may in future be at least partially lost due to a mine development. The walk will be of moderate difficulty, as some of the ground is uneven and rocky, with a gradual elevation gain. We expect to be in the field for 3 to 4 hours. Bring sun protection, water, and a lunch! Meet at the Rossland Museum parking lot at 9 am. You must pre-register for this event. 

Click here for more information.


Community Weed Pull and BBQ

June 10, Fairmont

Join the East Kootenay Invasive Species Council (EKISC) and the Columbia Lake Stewardship Society (CLSS) for a weed pull and BBQ event! Come by and learn about the negative impacts invasive species can have on Columbia Lake, the largest warm water lake, and the primary headwaters of the Columbia River. Follow along on Facebook and Instagram for more info as it comes out! From 9 am to 1 pm MT. Location TBD. 


Backyard Old Growth Forest Tours

June 10, Golden & Creston June 11, Invermere & Nelson June 17, Kimberley & Cranbrook June 18, Fernie June 25, Revelstoke

From fire-scarred ponderosa pine-bunchgrass to towering larch, subalpine spruce to cedar hemlock rainforest, the Columbia Basin supports diverse, rare, and endangered old growth forests, including the globally unique Inland Temperate Rainforest. Many of these old growth forests are in our backyard. Come join Wildsight as we take a journey into an old growth in your backyard. We’ll talk about the history, perspective, and current state of old growth in BC. The hikes will be led by Eddie Petryshen, Wildsight’s Conservation Specialist or Jenna Schulhof, Wildsight’s Columbia Valley Conservation Coordinator. Join us to explore the magical and under-appreciated old growth in our backyard.

Click here for more information and to register.


KCP Spring Field Tour

June 14, Bonanza Biodiversity Corridor

On Wednesday, June 14, as part of the West Kootenay Stewardship Meeting, KCP will be hosting a local field trip to the Bonanza Biodiversity Corridor, from 12:45 - 3:30 pm PT. This tour will be led by Ryan Durand and Tyson Ehlers. If you are interested in attending the field tour, please contact KCP Stewardship Coordinator Camille Roberge at camille@kootenayconservation.ca.


Bat Count Workshop

June 14, Invermere

The Kootenay Community Bat Project (KCBP) is delighted to announce a series of Bat Count Workshops taking place across the Columbia Basin. This is a family friendly event, children are welcome! The Bat Count workshop is at the Invermere Library at 7 pm MT. The bat count will be afterwards at the John Zehnder farm from 9 to 10:30 pm MT. 

Click here for more information and to register.


Weed Pull & Watershed Lesson 

June 15, Cranbrook

Join the East Kootenay Invasive Species Council (EKISC), Wildsight KimCran, and Dave Quin from Know your Watershed to bash burdock and learn the importance of these urban riparian areas. From 8:30 am to 12 pm MT at Spooner Park in Cranbrook.


Bat Count Workshop

June 16, Ta Ta Creek

The Kootenay Community Bat Project (KCBP) is delighted to announce a series of Bat Count Workshops taking place across the Columbia Basin. This is a family friendly event, children are welcome! The Bat Count workshop on June 16 is at the Flying A Ranch at Ta Ta Creek from 9 to 11 pm MT. 

Click here for more information and to register.


Bat Count Workshop

June 17, Kimberley / Cranbrook

The Kootenay Community Bat Project (KCBP) is delighted to announce a series of Bat Count Workshops taking place across the Columbia Basin. This is a family friendly event, children are welcome! The Bat Count workshop near Kimberley and Cranbrook is at the Cherry Creek Ranch from 8:45 to 11 pm MT. 

Click here for more information and to register.


2023 Summer Tour - BC Chapter of the Society for Range Management

June 21 - 23, Cranbrook 

The mission of the Society for Range Management is to promote ways to maintain or enhance the integrity of the ecological community critical to the watersheds, plants, animals, and people that depend on rangelands for their sustenance. The summer tour will consist of an evening welcome session, full day field tours, a banquet, and a half day learning session. We have some excellent topics and projects lined up ranging from managing invasive species with goat grazing to enhancing bighorn sheep habitat to grassland restoration. Please save the date, we would love to have you, or members from your organization join us for all or just a portion of the tour!

Click here for more information and to register. 


Weedy Workshop, Pull & BBQ

June 24, Kimberley

With the help of the Kimberley Community Grant, the East Kootenay Invasive Species Council (EKISC) is hosting an invasive species workshop, followed by a weed pull along Mark Creek. There will be games for kids, resources, prizes, and a BBQ! From 11 am to 2 pm MT at Mark Creek Trail (meet at Rotary Park).


Wildsight Guided Hike Series

June 25, Quartz Creek near Golden

Have you hiked with a naturalist before? Wildsight Golden will be hosting a series of Guided Hikes during the spring and fall of 2023. All hikes are free, and donations to Wildsight are gratefully accepted. Pre-registration is required. Meet at Spirit Square on June 25. From 10 am to 4 pm MT.

Click here for more information and to register


Native Plant Walk

July 2, Rossland

Join Iraleigh Anderson, former president of the Kootenay Native Plant Society, for a guided walk to view and discover the natural beauty of Record Ridge near Rossland. Valerie Huff, Pollination Pathways Program manager, will be in attendance as well, and we are lucky enough to have other scientists joining us too. This is an opportunity to view an incredible landscape, which may in future be at least partially lost due to a mine development. The walk will be of moderate difficulty, as some of the ground is uneven and rocky, with a gradual elevation gain. We expect to be in the field for 3 to 4 hours. Bring sun protection, water, and a lunch! Time TBA.

More information to come.


Bat Ambassador Workshop

July 7, Online

Interested in learning more about bats? Keen to volunteer to help these animals? The Kootenay Community Bat Project (KCBP) announces its upcoming Bat Ambassador Training Workshop to be held online in July. This three-hour virtual workshop is designed to provide attendees with the knowledge and skills needed to become a bat ambassador for their region. Participants will learn the skills needed to collect guano samples, conduct annual bat counts, and provide presentations on bats. It’s a great opportunity to learn more about these fascinating animals including bat basics like behaviour, habitat, and population dynamics, as well as the threats they face and strategies for their protection. Registration is now open. Priority will be giving to people living within the Kootenays. From 10 am to 1 pm MT.

Click here for more information and to register, or contact Kootenaybats@gmail.com.


Community Weed Pull

July 7, Marysville

Join the East Kootenay Invasive Species Council (EKISC) and Wildsight KimCran for a weed pull and BBQ event at the Marysville Eco Park. As part of greater recovery efforts on Mark Creek, Wildsight Kimberley Cranbrook established the Marysville Eco Park in 2004. Once a gravel parking lot serving the Marysville Falls, Wildsight partnered with the City of Kimberley to excavate and restore the streambank, and to establish native tree, shrub, and herbaceous plant species on the site. From 5 to 8 pm MT at Marysville Eco Park. 


Protect Our Waters from Aquatic Invasive Species: Workshop & Community Weed Pull

July 20, Nelson - Save the Date!

Co-hosted by Living Lakes Canada and Central Kootenay Invasive Species Society, this half-day workshop and weed pull will cover the following: Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) 101 - what they are, impacts and how they spread; Best Management Practices when working/playing around water to prevent the spread; AIS identification, management and weed pulling. Participants will meet at Lakeside Park’s Rotary Shelter at 9 am for the workshop followed by the weed pull. Registration opens soon! 

Email sophie@livinglakescanada.ca to be sent the online registration link.


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.

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. 


Pines & People: Human Impacts on Five-Needle Pine - Presenters can submit abstracts until June 21!

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 11th to tour the Kalamalka Research Center & seedling inoculation facility in Vernon; and a post-conference trip on the 14th 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! We are accepting abstracts for presentations until June 21. Early Bird Registration open until June 30th. Click here to access Conference details and Registration.


2023 KCP Fall Gathering 'Kootenay Connect Summit' – Save the Date!

October 13 - 14, Cranbrook

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 be a full-day affair from 10:00 am to 4:30 pm on Friday followed by a delicious banquet dinner and conservation leadership awards ceremony. We will be meeting at the Prestige Inn in Cranbrook. The Saturday field tour is still being planned, so keep an eye on future newsletters for more information. 


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 wep@bcwf.bc.ca.

Click here for more information and to register.

Extreme Weather Preparedness for Agriculture Program funding

Deadline: June 14

Extreme Weather Preparedness for Agriculture Program invites farm and ranch businesses to apply for cost-share funding that aims to increase farm-level climate resilience to extreme weather events. Funding is available for wildfireflooding, and extreme heat and this year categories have expanded to include beekeeping, aquaculture, and cannabis. The program has up to $2.5 million in funding with each applicant eligible to access up to $35,000 in cost-shared funding per project.

Learn more and apply here.


Ecosystem Enhancement & Restoration Grants from Columbia Basin Trust 

Deadline: July 12 for Expressions of Interest 

Based on input from Basin residents, one of our priorities is to support healthy, diverse and functioning ecosystems. Our Ecosystem Enhancement Program will have a meaningful and measurable impact in supporting and strengthening ecosystem health in the Basin. The Program goal is to help maintain and improve ecological health and native biodiversity in a variety of ecosystems, such as wetlands, fish habitat, forests and grasslands. This year is a Basin-wide call for eligible project ideas that restore and/or enhance a variety of ecotypes, including terrestrial, aquatic and wetlands. The Trust will identify projects focused on enhancement and restoration by seeking input from community groups, First Nations representatives and government experts, and existing regional plans and research.

Click here for more information and to apply


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 nbarisoff@ourtrust.org 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 $1,000 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.

British Columbia Conservation Foundation

Wildlife (Amphibian) Conservation Field Technician, Creston

The British Columbia Conservation Foundation (BCCF) is looking to fill two seasonal positions for Wildlife Conservation Field Technicians in the Creston Valley. Technicians will assist the American Bullfrog Action Team (ABAT) in carrying out the environmental fieldwork component of the Kootenay Boundary American Bullfrog Control Program based in Creston, BC, with occasional travel throughout the area. Under the supervision of the Ministry of Forests (FOR) project leads, successful candidates will work in a team and on a flexible schedule to monitor and control amphibian populations in wetland and riparian habitats. This is a fieldwork-based position with irregular shifts (night work) required. Experience working outdoors in adverse weather and environmental conditions is necessary. This job may also require fieldwork in adjacent wetlands in the United States (pending travel restrictions), so the ability for cross-border travel is preferred. This position starts on June 5, so applications are accepted as soon as possible.

Click here for more information and to apply.


Living Lakes Canada

Water Monitoring Programs Coordinator, East Kootenay

The Water Monitoring Programs Coordinator will support the Living Lakes Canada (LLC) Columbia Basin Water Monitoring Framework program and associated Groundwater Monitoring Program, with a focus on engaging and coordinating community volunteers to support surface water quantity and quality and groundwater level monitoring, coordinating monitoring activities with local First Nations and Guardians programs, and leading and/or assisting with hydrometric, groundwater level, and biomonitoring (CABIN and STREAM) data collection in collaboration with technicians and/or volunteers. Position will remain open until filled. Start date as soon as possible.  

Click here for the full job posting.


BC Wildlife Federation

Senior Aquatic Biologist, Remote

The BCWF is seeking a Senior Aquatic Biologist with expert knowledge and project managing experience to join their Conservation Stewardship team. Working with BCWF staff, Indigenous communities, landowners, and project partners, this role will help identify and fill knowledge gaps, provide mentorship and advisory leadership to promote a long-term management and educational awareness of B.C.'s fish habitats. Posting open until the position is filled.

Click here for the job posting.


KCP and RDCK are seeking Technical Review Committee members 

Qualified residents of Electoral Area H Slocan Valley are preferred

The Regional District of Central Kootenay (RDCK), in partnership with KCP, is seeking qualified members for the RDCK Local Conservation Fund Technical Review Committee (TRC). Residents of the Slocan Valley with technical expertise in wildlife, habitat or hydrology can apply to be a member of the TRC, which is a volunteer panel who reviews the applications for funding through the LCF service in RDCK Electoral Areas A, D, E and H. This is a volunteer term for three years. Travel expenses will be covered for those who require them. Please contact Kendal Benesh, Local Conservation Fund Coordinator at kendal@kootenayconservation.ca.

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.

Indigenous-led Approaches to Salmon Reintroduction

The Columbia River Salmon Reintroduction Initiative

This event was part of the online Bringing the Salmon Home festival held in early May, and includes an overview of our current research studies, the vital contributions US Tribes are making to salmon reintroduction in the Columbia River system, and a short video about Indigenous-led habitat restoration in the Kootenays of BC. Please join members of our Technical Working Group members and US Tribal representatives as they present updates on their latest work to restore salmon and habitat. This recording is available here, as are all the recordings from last month’s Bringing the Salmon Home online festival.

Click here to view all the recordings


Film: Dene K’éh Kusān, Always Will Be There

The Dena Kayeh Institute

The Dena Kayeh Institute is proud to bring together our communities, friends, and supporters, to share in Kaska storytelling with Dene K’éh Kusān, Always Will Be There. Through this film, we hope to introduce the world to Dene K’éh Kusān, and to our people, culture, and our way of life. All are anchored to the land. Narrated by DKI’s President, Kaska Elder, and well-known Indigenous Leader, Dave Porter, Always Will Be There shares the Kaska Dena vision for how we can protect and care for four million hectares of land and water—the largest remaining intact landscape in British Columbia. The Kaska Dena have cared for these lands and waters since time immemorial. Now, we are drawing on Kaska knowledge and stewardship to protect Dene Kʼéh Kusān for all to experience, honour, and sustain, for future generations.

Click here to see the short film.

 

State of the Bats report

Conservation Status and Threats to North American bats

This very readable report highlights the current state of bats in North American, including trends of bat species in Canada. The report includes the benefits of bats, existing threats to bat species, and what people can do to help protect bats. 

Click here to read the report.

 

Video: Research on Micro-organisms on Bat Wings

Wildlife Conservation Society Western Bat Program Team

The Wildlife Conservation Society Canada (WCSC) Western Bat Program Team continues to work to understand how naturally occurring micro-organisms on bat wings can be used to help reduce the effects of the invasive, introduced fungal species that causes white-nose syndrome in bats. This work has been dubbed the "probiotic project" and work continues with research partners at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops, McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario and with both state and provincial wildlife biologists in Washington and British Columbia. This beautiful short video was shot by the WCSC Bat Team videographer, Jason Headley as the team conducted work in Lillooet, BC, during the summer of 2022. Watch as the team sets up nets and extracts bats in the warm summer nights of the dry interior of BC.

Click here to watch the short video.


Indigenous and Western Knowledge: Bringing Diverse Understandings of Water Together in Practice

Global Commission on the Economics of Water

The importance of multiple perspectives in understanding human-nature relationships and

associated benefits for biodiversity, ecosystems and overall quality of human life, is underscored by Indigenous Peoples’ values, worldviews and knowledge systems. Indigenous

Peoples, while geographically, linguistically and culturally diverse, share common cultural and

spiritual beliefs that elevate the value of water beyond material function. For many Indigenous Peoples, water is a living entity with inherent value to be revered and protected – an

essential relationship that extends beyond dominant Western approaches that value water

as a resource only for the economic, social and environmental benefits provided to humans.

While efforts are being made to bring diverse Indigenous and Western values, worldviews

and knowledge systems together to restore freshwater systems, on a practical level the

question remains: “how to do so?” in an ethical and responsible way. This report responds to that gap by synthesizing insights gained through a review of documented experiences from projects across the area currently known as Canada and the United States.

Click here to read the report.


Key Biodiversity Areas of Canada

iNaturalist

We are very excited to announce the launch of the KBAs of Canada iNaturalist project! This project showcases the amazing diversity of species at Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs). KBAs are areas that are exceptionally important for wildlife and biodiversity. All habitat types within in terrestrial, freshwater, and marine ecosystems can be KBAs if they meet the standardized criteria thresholds for a KBA designation. The criteria used to identify KBAs include threatened biodiversity, geographically restricted biodiversity, aggregations of species, high ecological integrity, or high irreplaceability for multiple biodiversity values. Observations from all Canadian KBAs will be summarized in this Umbrella Project. Help add to the growing list of plants and wildlife observed at these sites by visiting a KBA near you! Note that boundaries provided for Candidate KBAs are preliminary - these sites are being investigated as a potential KBAs and it is not yet confirmed whether they will become KBAs or not. Candidate KBAs in the Kootenays include the Creston Valley KBA and the Skookumchuk Prairie KBA. Add your biodiversity observations at these sites to help guide conservation efforts!

Click here to see the website.

 

Ecosystem Connectivity to Ensure Nature can Respond to Climate Change

Coastal Douglas-fir and Associated Ecosystems (CDFCP)

On April 4, the Coastal Douglas-fir and Associated Ecosystems (CDFCP) hosted a webinar on Ecosystem Connectivity. The recording is now available as Webinar 3 on their website. As climate change occurs, the natural environment needs to adapt through the natural movement of species. This can only occur if we maintain ecosystem connectivity and identify refugia for species that have very specific environmental requirements. This is becoming increasingly difficult as our world becomes divided by roads, power lines and urban centres. Scott Boswell from the Okanagan Collaborative Conservation Program spoke about their work to protect the Okanagan Mountain – k’nmalka Corridor, and Jessica Stolar from the University of Alberta shared about using climate change refugia and corridors to inform conservation planning. Please note that only Scott’s presentation was recorded as Jessica requested that her presentation was not recorded as she is yet to finish this work.

Click here to access this recording.

 

Recording of UNDRIP & You Webinar

Real Estate Foundation of BC and Hlimoo Sustainable Solutions

Originally presented on April 13, this webinar featured three speakers. Learn from UNDRIP Fellow Tara Marsden, Michelle Bryant-Gravelle (City of Vancouver), and Nadine Raynolds (Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative).The governments of Canada and BC have adopted the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as their framework for reconciliation. But what does this mean for your organization and its work? Nonprofits, foundations, and local governments have important roles to play in advancing UNDRIP. Watch this recorded webinar to hear from organizations on journeys of learning and action to respect Indigenous rights.


Conservation, Restoration and Stewardship of Low Elevation Brushland (Gb), Grassland (Gg) and Dry Forest Ecosystems in the West Kootenay Region: Field Manual and Background Document, Version 3 

Evan Mckenzie & Thomas Hill, for the Okanagan Nation Alliance and FWCP 

Non-forested brushland (Gb) and grassland (Gg) ecological communities that occur on dry sites at low elevations in the West Kootenay Region have high ecological values but are uncommon across the landscape. The grassland ecosystem that occurs in our area is a red-listed community. Ranking of the brushland communities by the B.C. Conservation Data Centre (CDC) is currently in progress and the ecosystems will likely be listed as at-risk communities due to their ecological importance, scattered distribution, high sensitivity to disturbance and low resilience. The field manual was developed to provide clear and concise best management practices for conserving and protecting these sensitive ecosystems. The background document describes the project objective, goals and project area and provides information related to guiding work activities in low elevation Gb, Gg and dry forest ecosystems. It was developed to supplement and support the field manual summarizing the best management practices.

Click here to see the Field Manual, and here for the Background Document


Kootenay Village Challenge

Ecological Footprint Calculator & Map of Kootenay Communities 

Dr. William Rees, a professor at the University of British Columbia, devised the ecological footprint. The ecological footprint measures the impact of human activity by how fast we consume resources and generate waste. Here in the Kootenays, the ecological footprint has been calculated for each community profiled in the census by Statistics Canada. As a citizen, you can calculate the footprint of your own household and see how you fit with your neighbours. To play and compete, go here to take the Kootenay Village Challenge. Then, you can determine your own ecological footprint. The village footprint calculation method will be submitted to the Sustainability academic journal this spring. 

Click here for more information


Survey of Long-billed Curlews and Grasslands in BC 

David Bradley, Birds Canada

In 2017, Birds Canada began a study of Long-billed Curlews breeding in the East Kootenay grasslands at the Skookumchuck Prairie Important Bird and Biodiversity Area. This work had three main aims: to fit satellite transmitters to curlews to track their movements over a full year, to determine the breeding success of those birds in a natural prairie environment, and to connect with farmers and local naturalists in the area to learn from them about the species and what it means to them. In 2022, a BC-wide citizen-science curlew survey was initiated, to get a handle on the numbers of birds in the province. These surveys have revealed an interesting trend, not as much in the total numbers of birds, but more so in the distribution of those birds.

Click here to read the survey results


Supporting Riparian Health On Farmland For Flood Protection

Associated Environmental Consultants & BC Climate Change Adaptation Program (CCAP)

The implications of climate change have resulted in heightened flood risk in the Kootenay and Boundary regions. A healthy functioning riparian area can provide valuable flood resiliency and mitigate flood damage where these areas overlap with vital agricultural lands. Agricultural producers play an important role in riparian area management but require enhanced support to fully understand how riparian areas relate to flood mitigation, along with options for management. The purpose of the project is to understand gaps in knowledge and available information for producers with riparian areas on both large and small waterways in the Kootenays. Further, associates worked to fill those gaps and to transfer relevant information and resources to land users. This report summarizes the activities completed during the project to achieve these goals.

Click here to see the Reports and Fact Sheets.


Columbia Wetlands Stewardship Partners

Reference Library with new resources added

The Columbia Wetlands Stewardship Partners (CWSP) reference library contains the current and historical known research papers, projects, and land use plans for the Columbia Wetlands, including the area to the east and to the west bordered by the Rocky and Purcell mountains ranges. It is a work in progress with currently over 2000 citations and more being added every year. CWSP, where possible, houses the entire document of a reference in the library, which can be downloaded if desired.

Click here to access the reference library.


Recreation Ecology Research Project

Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative

Y2Y's research project will improve the understanding of when, where, and how people recreate and the impacts to wildlife. The project focuses on two areas in the Yellowstone to Yukon region: the Kananaskis-Ghost in Alberta and Upper Columbia of British Columbia (see map). We have three objectives to better understand recreation use and its impacts: 1) Map and classify trails from government and non-government sources. 2) Measure and model intensity of human use: when, where, how many, and which activities. 3) Model important wildlife habitat (grizzly bears, wolverines, and caribou) and compare to the intensity of recreation use. The recreation ecology team will present at the Responsible Recreation: Pathways, Practices and Possibilities conference in Revelstoke in May 2023, and we encourage you to attend. In addition, the project has a new and updated website!

Click here to see the updated project website.  


Natural and human-made nesting habitat use by Bank Swallow (Riparia riparia) in Canada

Noémie Pelletier · Janice E. Arndt · Rachel Darvill · Marc-André Cyr

A new publication in the Canadian Field Naturalist includes some findings from the Upper Columbia Swallow Habitat Enhancement Project, which is partially funded by the Columbia Valley Local Conservation Fund (CVLCF), and the Kootenay Bank Swallow Survey. This peer-reviewed literature speaks to natural and human-made nesting habitat use by Bank Swallow (Riparia riparia) in Canada, including some implications for conservation.

Click here to access the article.


Moving transboundary conservation from Indigenous engagement to Indigenous leadership: Working across borders for a resilient Cascadia

Meade Krosby, Gwen Bridge, Erica T. Asinas, and Sonia A. Hall

As the number of transboundary conservation initiatives continues to grow in response to the twin threats of climate change and biodiversity loss, so too have calls for Indigenous-led conservation that recognizes Indigenous rights and supports Indigenous land and wildlife stewardship. And yet, because many transboundary initiatives have historically been settler-led, such efforts are now contending with how best to pivot toward models of more meaningful Indigenous engagement and leadership. We describe the Cascadia Partner Forum’s recently completed Blueprint for a Resilient Cascadia, a collaborative strategy for supporting large-landscape resilience in the transboundary region of Washington and British Columbia. We hope our reflections can help inform other transboundary conservation initiatives working to move away from what has been a predominantly colonizing model of conservation to one promoting Indigenous-led governance.

Click here to read the full report.


Protecting Migratory Corridors For Bottled Up Wildlife

Kurt Repanshek, National Parks Traveller

This article emphasizes the importance of large landscape level wildlife corridors, and the challenges that exist in efforts to protect large habitats. Protecting migratory corridors stretching hundreds of miles or more won't easily or quickly happen. Challenges range from the federal land management agencies with different missions to state, local, and even individual landowners in the proposed corridors who might not want to grant conservation easements. And all the while there's the clock ticking on the loss of biodiversity in the world. This article focuses on American parks, with links for more information.

Click here to access the article.


Forest Fuel Treatments for the Southern West Kootenays

Greg Utzig, Kutenai Nature Investigations Ltd.

This project was initiated to explore what types of fuel treatments would likely be most effective for application in forests in the Southern West Kootenays (S WK). The project has primarily involved a focused literature review of studies that assessed the efficacy of fuel treatments where those treatments have been tested under active wildfire conditions.

Click here to read the full report.


Working Together to Recover Whitebark and Limber Pine in the Canadian Rockies

Cyndi Smith and Brenda Shepherd

For the past twenty years, biologists in the national parks and provinces of Alberta and British Columbia have been joining forces to monitor their condition and take coordinated action toward recovery. Both species are declining due to mortality from an introduced fungus, white pine blister rust, and from attack by native mountain pine beetle. Whitebark and limber pine are both legally listed as endangered in Alberta, and whitebark pine is legally listed federally under the Species at Risk Act, while the federal listing of limber pine has been pending for almost a decade. During this presentation on November 15, 2022, Cyndi and Brenda discussed the overall recovery program which includes prescribed fires, stand surveys, cone collection, resistance testing, candidate tree protection, seed orchard, seedling planting and mechanical thinning, activities that are being undertaken to keep these two iconic species on the landscape.

Click here to access the recording.


Kootenay Connect featured

Community Nominated Priority Places Canadian wide showcase

Earlier this year in April, Kootenay Connect’s Manager Marcy Mahr, presented at a cross-Canada showcase of Community Nominated Priority Places (CNPP). More than 100 people joined to learn about some of the amazing conservation work happening in CNPPs across Canada. In the Kootenay Connect presentation, Marcy summarizes some highlights from the first four years of Kootenay Connect (KC) projects, as well as outlining the bigger picture of the importance of the KC Community-Nominated Priority Places program.

Click here to see a PDF of the presentation.


Kootenay Connect website updated

Year 4 highlights now available online

KCP's multi-year Kootenay Connect project wrapped up Year 4 at the end of March, and the highlights of all the work accomplished to date are now available on the Kootenay Connect website. You'll find reports, maps and videos from the previous four years of Kootenay Connect.

Click here for the Kootenay Connect highlights.


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. In late 2021, we completed a full review of the toolkit and updated 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.


A Case for Conservation

KCP brochure promoting private land conservation available

KCP's “Case for Conservation” trifold brochure details 9 different reasons why conserving private land is so crucial to the health of the region’s ecosystems that support a myriad of plant, fish and animal species — many of which are currently rare or endangered or at risk of becoming so. The brochure opens up into an attractive poster that can be easily posted in offices, public spaces and homes. Printed brochures are available for distribution. If you would like copies, please contact KCP Program Director Juliet Craig at: juliet@kootenayconservation.ca.

Click here to view the brochure and download the PDF.


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.

www.kootenayconservation.ca