SOSCP Program Manager Bryn White presented the final South Okanagan Conservation Fund 2018 project results at the Regional District Board this past April 18th. These were the first projects ever funded under the new conservation fund program established in 2016. “All projects have been completed and final reporting requirements met, with one coming forward shortly to request an extension.” The seven projects were funded to the tune of $400,000 from the newly established South Okanagan Conservation Fund. “The incredible thing”, said White, “is that we knew that these funds would leverage outside sources of support but we didn’t realize it would be so significant with $2.5 Million raised from other sources, and $151,000 of in-kind contributions.” SOSCP assists the Regional District Okanagan Similkameen with administration of the South Okanagan Conservation Fund. “The first year has been an incredible success”, says White, “what an amazing model for achieving local sustainability priorities.” SOSCP has developed a guide to help other local governments and community organizations explore the development of local conservation funds in their own communities. The guide can be found here.

 

Securing key properties for conservation, building spawning beds and creating passage for salmon to complete their 1000 km life cycles, reconnecting the Okanagan River floodplain, helping farmers to co-exist with wildlife, residents caring for nature in their neighbourhoods and more!  Read all about the groundbreaking first round of projects funded by the South Okanagan Conservation Fund. Over $400,000 was allocated to seven projects to ensure sustainability and quality of life in our communities.

Photo credit Michael Bezener

SOSCP Program Manager Bryn White is pleased to announce the completion of a Second Edition of the essential “how-to” guide for local governments and community groups interested in establishing dedicated funds for local community sustainability and environmental conservation projects. “This guide contains critical information for anyone looking for capacity to ensure a sustainable future for their community. A healthy economy, clean air and water, tourism, agriculture, robust property values and attractive, investable communities – all rely on a healthy environment.” says White.  Local Conservation Funds in British Columbia provides current case studies and successful examples of campaigns and experiences from around the province, including additional resources to support local governments and community organizations. “Conservation funds are game-changers for communities, and this document is vital to achieving success. We are grateful to our funders and supporters for the ability to share this knowledge and experience with others.” The guide and additional support resources are available on the SOSCP website here.

 

In August 2017, the RDOS Board approved membership for the volunteer Technical Advisory Committee to ensure that proposals to the South Okanagan Conservation Fund receive an expert technical review based on fair assessment of merit and project effectiveness, providing a high level of accountability and recommendation of technically appropriate proposals to the RDOS Board of Directors.

In response to advertisements in local newspapers and via social media, 13 candidates submitted resumes for the 7 positions.  Selecting volunteers for this committee proved to be an extremely challenging and competitive process; a decision made very difficult by the many impressive applications received. The Committee was finalized with seven candidates representing a balance of academic, technical and practical experience, including over 170 years of combined experience, 13 post secondary degrees/diplomas and 5 are members of professional associations. The newly appointed Committee met in November to review applications and will be providing recommendations to the RDOS Board in early December. A brief biography of the Committee members can be found here.