At the City of Penticton Council meeting Monday June 20th, Penticton Council vote unanimously to join in to participate in a Regional Conservation Fund for the South Okanagan that will raise and allocate dedicated funding for conservation projects. “Environmental and conservation issues know no political boundaries” was one of the compelling reasons Council re-considered their decision to go forward with a stand-alone fund for Penticton and join a regional initiative that would have rural electoral areas and municipalities cooperating towards clean air, water, wildlife and open spaces. The benefits of such a fund will be felt throughout the region and across generations. The regional service bylaw comes back for reading to the RDOS Board on July 7th, 2016. The Board intends to garner public assent through the Alternate Approval Process which is the most cost effective option as opposed to a referendum outside of a regular local government election cycle. SOSCP is sharing information and success stories from the Kootenay Conservation Program’s success in this realm. The KCP established the first conservation fund of its kind in Canada first in the Columbia Valley in 2008, then in the Kootenay Lake area in 2014. Over the past 7 years more than 1.5 million has been granted to local organizations in support of 70+ conservation projects. The South Okanagan Regional Conservation Fund is poised to raise $450,000 per year every year for the next five years.

The referral period for the proposed motorized recreation site at Oliver Mountain has just been initiated.  All comments on the proposal should be directed to Ian.McLellan@gov.bc.ca prior to July 7, 2016. Here is the FTP link with the RSTBC referral package Click here

 

 

 

At the April 28th RDOS Planning and Development Committee meeting, Area F Director Michael Brydon made a motion to establish a Conservation Fund that would be a sub-regional service in the South Okanagan. The proposed fund would requisition $10 per household per year on average for a period of five years to support conservation projects. The fund is proposed to be guided by a Technical Committee,  and be application-based so organizations could apply to undertake the work. Local government directors would make final decisions on fund allocations.

The motion followed a presentation by SOSCP Program Manager Bryn White, with special guest David Hillary former Program Manager of the Kootenay Conservation Program. Hillary’s presentation highlighted the process of establishing the first Conservation Fund in Canada both in the east and central Kootenays, including the environmental, community and financial benefits such a fund has brought to the region.

The motion for a sub-regional service in the South Okanagan is an invitation to all five electoral areas and four member municipalities, and Brydon’s comments were encouraging an opportunity for the Board to think and act regionally, thereby increasing their total impact by working together.

The motion was brought forward yesterday May 19th at the RDOS Board meeting for agreement, but was removed for consent and deferred to the second Board meeting in June. This provides an opportunity for individual councils to discuss their participation in the proposed sub-regional service, or perhaps an opportunity to establish stand-alone funds of their own.

Let us know what you think – read more and make a comment here http://www.soscp.org/funding-conservation/

The Nature Trust of BC has reason to celebrate. First, the conservation organization turns 45 this year. They have been successfully protecting land in BC for a long time, including focusing significant efforts here in the South Okanagan. Second, for 17 years they have been working toward securing an extremely important habitat type in one of the most critical areas of the South Okanagan, at the pinch point of McIntyre Bluff.

TNT BC just completed the purchase of an 85-acre piece of rare Antelope-brush habitat located at the south end of Vaseux Lake that has been owned by the Kennedy family since 1886. Over the past 17 years, The Nature Trust has been securing adjoining sections and now together with this last portion, they have the largest private holding of rare Antelope-brush habitat in the South Okanagan totalling 152 hectares (375 acres). The property is home to more than 20 species at risk including Behr’s Hairstreak butterfly, Bighorn Sheep, Pallid Bat, Desert Night Snake, Great Basin Spadefoot Toad and Lewis’s Woodpecker.

“This is a wonderful final piece of a puzzle that we’ve been working on for a long time,” says Nicholas Burdock, Okanagan Conservation Land Coordinator. “It’s always best to add land to an adjacent property rather than have an island off on its own. Stewardship of this property dates back 129 years to Pete McIntyre who homesteaded in the area and it’s been kept in its natural state since that time. It’s a fantastic legacy that the Kennedy family was able to be a part of and we thank them for that.”

Come join three South Okanagan experts and learn how waterfront property owners can use landscaping to protect their shorelines and help improve local water quality and habitats. Before Europeans settled in the Okanagan and built cities on the landscape, there were ponderosa pine forests, native sage-dotted grasslands, wetlands and riparian areas. The valley bottom was undisturbed, capturing runoff so that wetlands and river oxbows could act as filters in rain events and during snow melt before this water entered our lakes and streams. Shoreline protection and an understanding of how it affects waterways is critical. A healthy, well vegetated shoreline helps protect water quality, important habitat for wildlife species such as spawning fish, aquatic insects, turtles and nesting water birds.

Don Gayton will talk about riparian function and healthy ecosystems, Alison Peatt will illuminate and engage us in the topic of riparian regulations and their importance and Eva Antonijevic will illustrate which hardy plants are suitable for our shoreline areas.
When: Sunday April 17 1:30pm – 3pm
Where: Summerland Waterfront properties
Who: Free event. Everyone is invited!

For more information or to register contact: Eva at evaantonijevic@gmail.com

After a century of wetland draining, ditching and destruction, community groups across BC are getting involved in wetland restoration. After losing 85 percent of our Okanagan wetlands, we are recognizing the importance of wetlands to biodiversity and ecosystem services, by recreating or enhancing them. One such highly successful project took place on the grounds of the KLO Middle School in Kelowna, where students, teachers, parents and the business community collaborated to “daylight” a portion of Fascieux Creek, which previously ran through a culvert adjacent to the playing fields. The Creek is now a lovely, naturalized outdoor classroom. Shimshon Obadia, a postgraduate student at UBC-Okanagan, has followed the KLO Middle School project, and will present a video on it at the Old Summerland Library, Wednesday, April 19, beginning at 7pm. The public is invited. Following Shimshon’s presentation, local ecologist Don Gayton will present a potential wetland daylighting project for Summerland. The evening event is co-sponsored by the Okanagan Basin Water Board and the UBC-O Eco-Art Incubator program. For more information call 250 494 1858.

The Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen has been working with the SOSCP to review and update Official Community Plan bylaws that reduce the impact to the environment during the process of land development. This includes updated mapping and improved policies and guidelines for Environmentally Sensitive Development Permit Areas. RDOS and SOSCP have recently wrapped up public information sessions throughout the South Okanagan, however the public can make comment until January 31, 2016. “An expression of public support for these new provisions is really important”, says Bryn White, SOSCP Program Manager. “There are vast improvements to provisions for the environment and it is important that public have an opportunity to support them.” What is this all about? Click Here for a snapshot to help you get a leg up on the proposed changes and formulate your feedback.

Residents can provide input by email to: planning@rdos.bc.ca

The RegiRDOS LOGO smallonal District of Okanagan-Similkameen (RDOS) will be holding a Public Information Meeting for residents and property owners in Electoral Area “F” regarding an introduction to Environmentally Sensitive Development Permit (ESDP) Areas as well as garner public feedback for a proposed Regional Conservation Fund to be used to support ecological conservation activities:

Date: Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Time: 6:00-8:00 pm (Advisory Planning Council meeting to follow at 8:00 pm)

Location: West Bench Elementary School, 1604 West Bench Drive, Penticton BC

Come and learn more about the environmental strategies being proposed by RDOS, or click here for more information.

More information about the proposed Conservation Fund can be found here – including a place to provide comments.

 

 

The RegiRDOS LOGO smallonal District of Okanagan-Similkameen (RDOS) will be holding a Public Information Meeting in order to provide an overview to residents and property owners in Electoral Area “C” regarding proposed changes to Environmentally Sensitive Development Permit (ESDP) Areas as well as garner public feedback for a proposed Regional Conservation Fund to be used to support ecological conservation activities:
Date: November 17, 2015
Time: 7:00 – 9:00 pm
Location: 6359 Park Drive, Oliver (Community Centre)

For residents and property owners unable to attend the Public Information Meeting, additional information (including feedback forms) regarding the ESDP Area Update are available for download on the Regional District’s web-site at: www.rdos.bc.ca (Departments → Development Services → Planning → Projects → ESDP Area Update). Additional information on the regional Conservation Fund can be accessed at www.soscp.org.

The Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation (HCTF) is a non-profit charitable foundation which invests in projects that maintain and enhance the health and biological diversity of British Columbia’s fish, wildlife, and habitats. We are a proposal-driven organization and use a rigorous review process based on the best-available science to evaluate proposals from individuals and organizations undertaking projects which benefit conservation in the province. Visit our website at www.hctf.ca to learn more about us. We are looking for a biologist who has significant progressive experience and a demonstrated success in leading and delivering field-based biological work. A broad knowledge of BC’s fish and wildlife species and their habitats, ecosystems, habitat enhancement techniques, stewardship initiatives and legislation/government policies is essential. This position requires familiarity with evaluating conservation proposals and monitoring approved projects and programs to assure ongoing technical soundness and achievement of objectives.

For more information on this career opportunity please visit: http://www.hctf.ca/who-we-are/careersHCTF NEW LOGOlarge . Note: only candidates selected for personal interviews will be contacted.