by Timothy Schafer Local Journalism Initiative Reporter on Thursday March 02 2023
The environment will be receiving a boost from the regional district with a cash infusion from the Local Conservation Fund.
The Regional District of Central Kootenay board of directors approved $74,376 in grant funds for the Kootenay Lake Local Conservation Fund that will be allocated to six different projects.
Located in electoral areas A, D and E, the projects are concerned with the conservation of water and aquatic systems, including wildlife and habitat.
“The Kootenay Lake and surrounding area, and Area H in the Slocan Valley, including the Slocan River, Slocan Lake and Summit Lake have all been impacted for ecological and habitat values due to a variety of factors including dam operations and development pressure,” noted Sangita Sudan, RDCK general manager of Development and Community Sustainability, in her report to the board.
“As a result, the LCF funding provides grants to support conservation efforts to ensure the broader goals of protecting watersheds and water quality is achieved for future generations.”
At the top of the list is the Wildlife Conservation Society of Canada’s project for bas roost monitoring in the Kootenay Lake region ($20,441), followed by the Friends of Kootenay Lake Stewardship Society’s expansion of Harrop wetland restoration ($14,662.50).
Also making the list was the Lardeau Valley Opportunity Links’ grizzly bear co-existence solution ($11,500), the Ktunaxa Nation Council’s protecting indigenous cultural values, fish and wildlife habitat on Kootenay Lake ($10,000) and B.C. Conservation Foundation’s habitat restoration for beavers along the Duncan and Lardeau river floodplains ($10,000).
Living Lakes Canada’s Kootenay watershed science project ($7,773) was on the funded projects list.
In all, there were seven projects in the running for the grant funds.
“Natural lands in both rural and urban areas filter our water, supply open spaces for wildlife and people, and provide quality of life to communities.
“Unfortunately, these systems are under stress. The current generation must take action now to ensure a healthy physical environment for future generations.
“The purpose of the fund is to provide local financial support for relevant projects that will con- tribute to the conservation of our valuable natural areas; one step towards restoring and preserving a healthy environment.
“The intent is to provide funding for conservation projects that are not the existing responsibility of the federal, provincial or local governments with a focus on integrating the variety of projects into a cohesive approach that will have greater impact.”
Source: Kootenay Lake Local Conservation Fund
Project suitability for each proposal must meet a series of mandatory requirements such as:
• it must fall within an LCF service area: RDCK area A, D or E;
• address one of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) threats to biodiversity; and
• be an eligible activity under the LCF terms of reference (ToR).
In addition the organization applying for the grant must be:
• a registered non-profit organization, local government or First Nations Band or one that is partnered with a qualified organization; and
• be prepared to make a presentation on the outcomes of their work and submit interim and final written reports.
Source: RDCK Feb. 16 agenda
Makeup of the fund
The LCF service was established in consultation with residents in electoral areas A, D, E and H following referendums in 2014 and 2022.
Proposals to the LCF are assessed for eligibility as noted in the terms of reference by an independent technical review committee appointed by the RDCK board and made up of conservation professionals.
The themes for the fund are aquatic systems, water conservation, wildlife and habitat conservation. These themes are based on polling done by the Kootenay Conservation Program (KCP) in 2013 and 2014 to identify what people value in the Central Kootenay region.
Projects that could demonstrate a reduction of a known threat to a biodiversity target were given priority. The focus was on private land, but projects on both Crown and private land were considered. This fund supports an ecosystem-based approach to conservation — that recognizes the full array of interactions within an ecosystem, including humans — rather than considering single issues, species, or ecosystem services in isolation.
Its targets are:
• connectivity habitat;
• hydro-riparian systems;
• fish habitat;
• old-growth moist Interior cedar-hemlock forests;
• dry Interior cedar hemlock forests;
• cottonwood-dominated floodplain;
• shrub and herb-dominated floodplain;
• species-at-risk; and
• karst (hot and cold springs).
Source: Kootenay Lake Local Conservation Fund