Conservation in the Kootenays
Monthly eNews

December 2022

Participants at the South Selkirks-Lower Columbia Conservation Action Forum in Trail on November 7.

As 2022 draws to a close, the KCP team and Board want to thank all our partners and supporters for an incredible 20th anniversary year. We can look back on a year filled with accolades and achievements for our conservation community, and we thank everyone who participated in our events and programs. A special thanks to our funders (Columbia Basin Trust, Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation, Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Nature Conservancy of Canada, and Nature Trust of BC) who help make our successes possible.

Most recently in November, we teamed up with the Okanagan Nation Alliance and Trail Wildlife Association to hold our eighth and largest yet Conservation Action Forum (CAF) for the South Selkirks-Lower Columbia region. See KCP News for a brief overview and link to the report. 

This latest CAF followed the successful adoption of the local conservation fund government service in the Slocan Valley in October. The name of the fund has since changed from the Kootenay Lake Local Conservation Fund to the RDCK Local Conservation Fund, which you'll see reflected on our website and in our communications moving forward.

And we head into the holiday season, we're pleased to announce that KCP Partners can now access discounts on environmental and conservation resources and tools on the Outdoor Learning Store - perfect for holiday gifts! See Partner News for how to take advantage of this offer.

We wish you a wonderfully festive December and the happiest of New Years — see you in 2023!


Faces & Places

If you’ve ever driven south on Highway 93/95 past the resort community of Fairmont Hot Springs, you understand what it’s like to be struck by the awe-inspiring sight of Columbia Lake. 

Said to be the largest warm water lake in the East Kootenay region, Columbia Lake forms the headwaters of the Columbia River. The lake is an important staging area for migratory birds, and its east shore is largely pristine and provides vital habitat for many species. Known for its tranquil and uncrowded waters, Columbia Lake has seen an increase in recreational users in recent years, accompanied by an increase in demand for residential and recreational properties. The Columbia Lake Stewardship Society (CLSS) is working to preserve the lake’s ecological health amid its growing popularity.

“The biggest issue facing the lake is development pressures,” said CLSS chair Nancy Wilson. “Everybody loves it and more and more people want to be on it and using it. And the concern is there’s only so much lake, there’s only so much water, there’s only so much habitat. CLSS envisions Columbia Lake becoming an example of the balance that can exist between the needs of the community and the environment.” 

Read the story.

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:

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Trendy Tools

Find out more with the Stewardship Solutions Online Toolkit

The Columbia Lake Stewardship Society (CLSS) vision is that by conducting water quality/quantity measurements, recording data, disseminating information and reports, they will encourage others to join in their mission to preserve Columbia Lake’s pristine water and natural environment.

Visit the CLSS profile on the Toolkit website.

Access our online KCP Partner Directory

South Selkirks-Lower Columbia Conservation Action Forum

KCP holds CAF for this transborder region

On November 7, KCP held our eighth and largest Conservation Action Forum for the South Selkirks-Lower Columbia area in Trail. KCP teamed up with the Okanagan Nation Alliance and Trail Wildlife Association to host this event in Trail in which 38 participants identified priority actions for maintaining healthy fish and wildlife populations, plants and habitats, and ecological functions in this transborder region. Informative presentations and lively discussions inspired the creation of five Priority Action Plans that addressed protecting native plant seed sources, protecting key habitats that support local biodiversity and species at risk, building community support and capacity for prescribed fire, preventing and managing invasive species, and conserving priority ecological corridors for terrestrial and aquatic connectivity. We thank everyone who attended for their contributions to making this event such a success.

Click here for CAF Summary Report.

KCP 20-Year Report

Celebrating 20 years of Conservation Partnerships 2002-2022

From land securement and Conservation Action Forums to Local Conservation Funds and Kootenay Connect, the impact of KCP on conservation in our region has been remarkable. KCP partners have created a program which is recognized both throughout the province and nationally. This report provides an overview of the KCP partnership's accomplishments in its 20-year history. 

Click here for the report. 

KCP 20th Anniversary Fall Gathering

Presentation recordings and photo galleries available online

The KCP 20th Anniversary Fall Gathering took place in Creston over September 23 and 24 and was a truly memorable event! Almost 50 people gathered together to celebrate KCP’s 20 years as a successful network, take in excellent presentations by a panel of expert guest speakers, brainstorm on the future of conservation in the Kootenays for the next 20 years, and tour two incredible wetland restoration sites in the heart of the Creston Valley. Presentation recordings and photo galleries are available on the KCP website. 

Click here for the 2022 Fall Gathering webpage.

CBEEN Outdoor Learning Store

Discount available to KCP Partners!

The Kootenays is home to The Outdoor Learning Store - a social enterprise of the Columbia Basin Environmental Education Network (CBEEN), and the go-to hub for outdoor and environmental learning equipment & resources in North America. They now offer a variety of stewardship, conservation and Indigenous resources and equipment that are likely to be of interest to many KCP partners. Enter KCP123%$ at check-out and receive a 5% discount (all orders are placed online). And 100% of proceeds go back to supporting outdoor and environmental learning non-profit initiatives.

Click here for The Outdoor Learning Store.

Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative

Bringing the Salmon Home Panel Discussion recording available

For more than 80 years, dams have blocked salmon from returning to the Canadian portion of the upper Columbia River in British Columbia. Bringing the Salmon Home: The Columbia River Salmon Reintroduction Initiative is the Indigenous-led collaboration of the Syilx Okanagan Nation, Ktunaxa Nation, Secwépemc Nation, Canada and British Columbia to return salmon to this river. This online session provides an overview of the Initiative and presentations by Indigenous Knowledge Counsel members and Youth Salmon Warriors from the three Nations. Guest speakers include Valerie Michel, Troy Hunter, Fred Fortier, Chad Eneas, Martina Escutin and Jade Montgomery-Waardenburg.

Click here for the recording.

Columbia Basin Environmental Education Network

2023 Ktunaxa Language Course

Join Alfred Joseph and Mara Nelson for 12 weeks of Foundational Ktunaxa Language Learning. 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 January to April 2023.

Click here for more information and to register.

Living Lakes Canada

Monitoring for Adaptation in the Columbia Basin: 2022 Pilot & Technical Reports available

Living Lakes Canada has developed a new framework for an expanded water monitoring network across the Columbia Basin to track and understand climate impacts on water. The data collected will support decision makers in their ability to help communities and industry prepare for inevitable changes to water supply. The Columbia Basin Water Monitoring Framework was implemented in three pilot areas this past summer: the North Kootenay Lake/Slocan Valley region in the West Kootenay, and the Columbia Valley and Elk River Valley in the East Kootenay. In each pilot area, water monitoring sites were selected based on a combination of community priorities and scientific metrics. Overall, monitoring sites were selected for 26 hydrometric stations, eight lake level stations and three climate stations.

Click here for the Pilot Implementation and Geospatial Analysis reports.

Wildlife Conservation Society Canada

Biologists work towards bat conservation in Creston Valley

The Wildlife Conservation Society Canada has been working in the Creston Valley to enhance bat habitat and provide artificial tree roosts for bats to raise their young. Funded in part by the RDCK Local Conservation Fund, this project was recently featured by the Creston Valley Advance newspaper in two different articles.

Click here for the Kuskanook Bat Chalet article and here for the artificial roosts article.

Wildsight Golden

Swallow Project Achievements in 2022

The Upper Columbia Swallow Habitat Enhancement Project’s (UCSHEP) monitoring and data collection efforts have wrapped up for 2022. This is a five-year project (2021-2026), and to date, five large Swallow Condos for barn swallows have been erected and one of those already produced four barn swallow chicks in August 2022. Working with Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Canadian Wildlife Service and BC Parks, the project team installed four Motus Wildlife Tracking Stations in the region and subsequently tagged 50 Bank Swallows at two colonies near Invermere in June 2022.

Click here to read the full announcement.

Teck Trail Operations

Help inform biodiversity and reclamation programs

Teck Trail is committed to working with local partners, communities and Indigenous Peoples to conserve ecologically and culturally significant lands. When answering the following questions about the natural environment, please think about the South Selkirks-Lower Columbia area of interest.

Click here to complete the survey.

Living Lakes Canada

Kootenay Lake foreshore survey leads to lakeshore permit review

Living Lakes Canada’s ​​FIMP project (Foreshore Integrated Management Planning) has the overarching goal to improve the quality and quantity of information about lake foreshore habitat integrity and species at risk in the Upper Columbia Basin. In 2021 for Year 3 of the project, Kootenay Lake was one of 3 priority lakes surveyed, and the survey identified 4.5 kilometres of Kootenay Lake’s natural shoreline lost to development over a nine-year period. In response, the Regional District of the Central Kootenay has been conducting a review of its lakeshore permitting guidelines.

Click here for the news story.

Kootenay Native Plant Society

KNPS fall planting season supports monarch butterflies

In October, Kootenay Native Plant Society launched its 2022 planting season with the help of a team of volunteers and supporters at Fort Shepherd and Syringa Creek Park. As part of its larger Pollination Pathway Program, KNPS’s aim was to plant 13 sites with more than one million native plant seedlings and seeds including Showy Milkweed, Pink Fairies and Brown-eyed Susans to support pollinating insects in our region, including the red listed Monarch butterfly.

Click here for the full article.

Canadian Wildlife Federation

National seed strategy framework – complete the survey

Are you interested in contributing to a seed strategy framework for Canada? With support from ECCC, CWF is beginning a process to engage native plant experts from across the country to help inform the strategy and highlight priority actions Canada needs to take to protect and restore our flora. Here’s a link to a short survey where you can tell us more about your experience with native seeds, and your level of interest in joining a collaborative strategy framing process. 

Click here for the survey.

Wildsight & Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative

Work progressing on project to reduce Elk Valley wildlife collisions

Work is continuing on a project to reduce the number of wildlife collisions in the Elk Valley. Wildsight officials said crews completed work on two crossing locations this year, as part of phase one of Reconnecting the Rockies. The project is a plan to create a system of wildlife crossing structures, such as overpasses and underpasses, along an 80-kilometre stretch of Highway 3 through the Elk Valley. The goal is to have 11 wildlife structures in place by 2025, with stretches of fencing connecting each one.

Click here for the full article.

KBA Canada

Yaq̓it ʔa·knuqⱡi’it - Tobacco Plains KBA declared one of 7 in BC

British Columbia's Tobacco Plains area is the only occurrence in Canada of Palouse Prairie ecosystem. It contains 100% of the Canadian population and an estimated 2.1% of the global population of Spalding's Campion (Silene spaldingii). This rare flowering plant is listed as G2 (2013) and N1 (2016) by NatureServe and as Endangered (2005) by COSEWIC. The site therefore meets KBA criterion A1b globally and criteria A1a, A1e, and B1 nationally.

Click here for details.

Nature Conservancy of Canada

Spotlight on conservation: Kootenay River Ranch

Featured in Canadian Geographic: When you think of the Rocky Mountains, you likely don’t think of open grasslands and wetlands. And yet, in the valleys below the snow-capped peaks and glaciers that dominate our imagination lies an astonishing diversity of habitats that support a wide array of wildlife. This is especially true at the Kootenay River Ranch Conservation Area, which protects part of a critical wildlife corridor in a rapidly developing valley in the Rocky Mountain Trench in southeastern British Columbia. Here, thanks to the efforts of the Nature Conservancy of Canada and its partners, crucial habitats are being protected and restored. 

Click here for the full article.

Canadian Museum of Nature

Invermere resident awarded Lifetime Achievement

Larry Halverson of Invermere received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Canada Museum of Nature at a special gala on November 14. Throughout his life, including 38 years as a naturalist with Parks Canada, Larry Halverson has created initiatives to protect nature, including co-founding the Wings Over the Rockies festival that has inspired similar festivals in North America.

Click here for the awards announcement.

Province of BC

Subscribe to Recovery Documents

Did you know that you can subscribe to the provincial government Recovery documents website for automatic notifications as soon as any new documents are posted? (See subscribe box at the top of the page.) This page provides links to B.C. and federal recovery documents (i.e., management plans, recovery plans/strategies, action plans, implementation plans) written for species and ecosystems occurring in B.C., including terrestrial, aquatic, and marine. It also has a very user-friendly search/sort feature to easily find documents by keyword, species, and date.

Click here to subscribe.

2023 Winter Speaker Series: The Grizzly Bear at Home

January 12, Online

Wildsight Golden’s 2023 Winter Speaker Series has the theme “Creatures Great and Small”. Join Cat Cowen for “The Grizzly Bear at Home: An Inside Glimpse on Bear Behavior and Conservation in Interior Mountain Ecosystems”. Having started her journey gearing towards veterinary sciences, Cat Cowan’s plans changed upon meeting grizzly bears in Banff in 2011. Since then, Cat has focused her career on bears and has had many unique opportunities – both in wild and captive environments – giving her a unique perspective on bear behavior, their environment, needs, drivers, the role they play on the landscape, and the ever changing relationship between bears and people. Cat is currently the Manager of the Kicking Horse Grizzly Bear Refuge and has been overlooking the wellbeing of Boo, Kicking Horse’s resident grizzly bear, since 2016. From 7 – 8 pm MT.

Click here to register.

2023 Winter Speaker Series: Wolverines in a changing landscape and warming climate

January 26, Online

Mirjam Barrueto is a wolverine researcher, PhD student, conservation biologist, climber, ultra-runner and back-country skier. As a child, wildlife and nature documentaries inspired her to become an adventurer and biologist. As a wildlife researcher she is passionate about exploring creative ways to make scientific research accessible to a broad audience, and to inspire others to get interested and involved in conservation themselves. Mirjam is going to share her latest research about the fascinating opportunities and challenges faced by this top predator living at the top of the world. From 7 – 8 pm MT. 

Click here to register.

National Outdoor Learning Conference

May 4-6, 2023, Banff

The Columbia Basin Environmental Education Network and their non-profit Outdoor Learning Store is partnering with EECOM and Take Me Outside to host the first ever National Outdoor Learning Conference. The overarching theme for the 2023 Outdoor Learning Conference is “Place and Pedagogy: Where Learning Happens”. This inaugural Conference will focus on Indigenous Ways of Knowing, Health and Wellbeing and Environmental and Climate Change Education. Registration is now open.

Click here for more information and to register.

Responsible Recreation: Pathways, Practices and Possibilities - Call for proposals now open!

May 9-10, 2023, Revelstoke

CMI Recreation and adventure tourism opportunities and activities are expanding globally, with the Columbia Mountains region being no exception. This two-day hybrid CMI conference taking place May 9-10, 2023 in Revelstoke and online is timely as an increasing number of people are pursuing outdoor activities, and there is growing recognition of the limited information, tools, and resources for managing and monitoring the impacts of these pressures on wildlife and habitat. It will be an excellent opportunity for scientists, managers, business operators, students, and the interested public to network and learn about current thinking on increasing outdoor recreation activities and the effect on wildlife and ecosystems. The event will address key questions regarding effects of current and future development and showcase best practices of established commercial and community managed recreation and adventure tourism tenures. 

Click here for more information. 

EcoAction Community Funding Program

Deadline: December 8

ECCC’s EcoAction Community Funding Program is now accepting applications for funding. Funding is available for new projects that engage Canadians and clearly demonstrate measurable, positive results related to the key Environmental Priority: Fresh Water. Preference will be given to proposals that engage Indigenous Peoples, youth, and/or partner with small businesses.

Click here for more information.

Support Available to Improve Ecological Health

Deadline: Ongoing

Do you have a new project, big or small, 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 Jmaeff, Delivery of Benefits Manager, at to discuss your project further.

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.

Whitebark Pine Ecosystem Foundation of Canada

Project Manager, Remote

WPEFC is hiring a contract Project Manager 10 to 20 hours per week to oversee recovery and restoration projects for endangered whitebark and limber pine ecosystems in the Rocky Mountains and Foothills of Canada. This role will be instrumental in implementing SARA recovery by managing a large spatial modelling and restoration plan. This posting will remain open until a suitable candidate is found. Should the applicant individual or firm fulfill all qualifications, they may fulfill both Project Manager and Spatial Analyst roles.

Click here for the full job posting.

Whitebark Pine Ecosystem Foundation of Canada

Spatial Analyst, Remote

WPEFC is hiring an experienced contract Spatial Analyst for 10 to 20 hours per week to assemble and analyze spatial data to develop spatially-explicit restoration plans for whitebark and limber pine ecosystems in the Rocky Mountains and Foothills of Canada.This role will be instrumental in implementing SARA recovery by managing a large spatial modelling and restoration plan. This posting will remain open until a suitable candidate is found. Should the applicant individual or firm fulfill all qualifications, they may fulfill both Project Manager and Spatial Analyst roles.

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.

Operations Director

Wildsight, Kootenay Region

Wildsight is seeking a dynamic and innovative person to oversee operations, finances, and human resources. This position will define administration at Wildsight, and play a key role in the health and success of the organization. Applications from the Kootenay region are welcome; however being based in Kimberley and able to work from Wildsight headquarters would be ideal. The position will remain open until filled, but the first round of interviews is targeted for late 2022/early 2023. 

Click here for the full job posting.

Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative

Director of Landscape Connectivity, Remote (flexible)

Yellowstone to Yukon is seeking a senior professional to be their next Director of Landscape

Connectivity. This position is responsible for ensuring key functional wildlife corridors connect core habitats within priority areas of the Y2Y landscape. This position leads our work to ensure functional wildlife corridors maintain, enhance and restore ecological connectivity among and between protected areas where a) connectivity is already compromised; b) activities threaten to sever existing connectivity and/or c) that are key to connecting core areas and supporting resilience to climate change. All of our work is highly collaborative and requires working from local to regional scales and on key national and global enabling policies. The location for this position is flexible and places within a short drive of an airport in the Idaho or Montana portion of the Y2Y landscape are preferred. Position open until filled. 

Click here for the job posting. 

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 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.

B.C. Ministry of Land, Water and Resource Stewardship 

New 2022 Inventory methods for Bats available

The New 2022 RISC standard for Inventory methods for Bats has now been posted to the RISC Standards Website, under the Terrestrial Ecosystems Biodiversity category. Inventory Methods for Bats provides guidance to people who are conducting bat surveys in B.C. This document updates and replaces the previous 1998 version. It provides updated and standardized sampling protocols for assessing bat community composition, relative abundance, and habitat associations of bats.

Click here for direct link.

Land Trust Alliance of British Columbia 

Annual British Columbia Conservation Areas Summary Report 2021

The Annual British Columbia Conservation Areas Summary provides an accurate identification of total conservation area in BC. As NGO conservation areas may overlap with some Provincial and Federal conservation areas as well as Local Government Park Natural Areas, the calculation for the total area of conservation lands in BC removes any existing overlap. The focus of this Summary Reporting is primarily on terrestrial protected areas.

Click here for the report.

Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative

Exploring Ethical Space for Land Use Planning in the Upper Columbia

What are the opportunities and best practices for community-based planning in the Upper Columbia? Y2Y has published a research brief based on work by master's student Maureen Nadeau for her thesis in Resource Management at Simon Fraser University. Nadeau's research has two goals: To investigate how an Ethical Space framework could be adopted in land use planning; and to offer an exploratory application of Ethical Space for land use planning in the Upper Columbia region of present-day B.C.

Click here for the brief. 

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:

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.