Local Conservation Funds in British Columbia is a guide for municipal and regional governments and non-governmental organizations looking to create a dedicated source of funding to support sustainability conservation efforts.

This third edition of the guide provides essential information for establishing a conservation fund and a service based on a levy or fee, including current case studies and examples of successful conservation fund campaigns and experiences from around BC.

Links to existing local conservation fund information including Terms of Reference, approved projects and more:

Examples of bylaws for establishing environmental conservation services (conservation funds):

Regional District Central Kootenays Local Conservation Fund Service Bylaw: View PDF Document
Regional District East Kootenays Local Conservation Fund Service Bylaw: View PDF Document
Regional District Okanagan Similkameen Local Environmental Conservation Service Bylaw: View PDF Document

Why establish a conservation fund?

Conservation funds support projects that reflect local priorities such as:

  • Protecting clean water sources.
  • Conserving natural areas for people to enjoy.
  • Restoring fish and wildlife habitat.
  • Strengthening community vitality and sustainability by caring for ecosystems and the benefits they provide.

British Columbia is an exceptional place, known for its spectacular landscapes and wildlife. Accelerating demands for land development have put a great deal of pressure on many regions in B.C. Most local governments and conservation groups have limited resources available to identify and protect the lands most suitable for conservation.

A conservation fund provides the means for local governments and conservation organizations to secure ecologically significant lands, protect natural ecosystems, enhance livability within the region, and create a legacy that will benefit future generations.

Three Good Reasons to Support Conservation Funds:

  1. Ecosystem services – A healthy environment provides us with clean water, pure air, and many other natural resources. It can be very expensive to try to make things right after we have damaged our environment. It’s smart to take care of what we’ve got.
  2. A healthy environment supports a healthy economy – Robust property values; attractive, investable, safe communities; tourism, agriculture, and other renewable sectors all rely on a functioning environment.
  3. Local control – Funds are generated locally and directly benefit the community.

How can a conservation fund be established?

There is no “one size fits all” method to establishing a conservation fund; everything—from choosing a legislative approach, to deciding how to finance the fund and engage the public—depends on the nature and needs of each community.

The guide expands on seven main tasks that should be considered during the fund establishment process:

  1. Identifying a team to work on establishing the fund
  2. Determining community priorities and gauging support for the fund
  3. Making a case for the conservation fund
  4. Designing the conservation fund
  5. Deciding how to finance the conservation fund
  6. Understanding the establishment options
  7. Selecting the appropriate approval process to establish the fund

Making the case for conservation and building consensus: To be successful in establishing a conservation fund, support is required from two different sources: the local government that will host the fund, and the community that will pay for it. A communication strategy will help with framing the issues, outlining communication tactics, defining tasks and responsibilities, laying out a timeline, and determining budget needs.

Funding and support for this second edition is gratefully received from: The Real Estate Foundation of BC, the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation of BC, the Forest Enhancement Society of BC and the Schad Foundation.