The Regional District of North Okanagan is seeking proposals for the North Okanagan Conservation Fund for the specific purpose of undertaking environmental conservation projects.
This Fund will help communities ensure the sustainability of our environment and protect our quality of life now and for the future.
Natural lands in both rural and urban areas filter our water, supply open spaces for wildlife nand people, and provide assets that improve the quality of life to communities. Unfortunately, these natural systems are under stress. The current generation must act now to ensure a healthy physical environment for future generations.
- The purpose of the Fund is to provide local financial support for projects that will contribute to the conservation of our valuable natural areas and help restore and protect a healthy environment.
- The intent is to provide funding for conservation projects that are not the existing responsibility of the federal, provincial or local government.
Sample projects could include (but are not limited to):
Projects that can demonstrate a reduction of a known threat to:
- Riparian, foreshore and water bodies including gullies, creeks, rivers, ponds, lakes, marshes and swamps;
- Wetlands both permanent and ephemeral including wet meadows, marshes, swamps and shallow open water areas including ponds;
- Grasslands and shrub-steppe;
- Sparsely vegetated rock outcrops, talus, cliffs and slopes;
- Broadleaf & coniferous woodlands and old forests;
- Other important ecosystems such as mature forests and Seasonally Flooded Fields; and,
- Watersheds at important source water protection areas.
- Connectivity for natural areas and wildlife corridors.
- Native fish and wildlife habitat, including for species at risk.
- Urban and rural wild-land interface areas.
The Fund shall address environmental issues including: conservation of water quality and quantity stewardship, (aquatic ecosystems, surface and groundwater), protection, enhancement and restoration of sensitive terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, wildlife species (including those at risk), and habitat for native fish and wildlife.
The aim is to “think globally; act locally.” The framework for Technical Review will be based on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) classification of direct threats. The value of this classification scheme is to provide language for practitioners world-wide to describe the common problems they are facing and solutions they are using in a mutually intelligible way. The issues outlined below are those that currently have the highest relevance to the area around RDNO. This is only a partial list and other IUCN threats will be considered in evaluating proposals:
Residential and Commercial Development
- Development activity continues to lead to conversion and fragmentation of important habitats and greater demands on water.
- Climate change will have a dramatic influence on Okanagan ecosystems in the 2050’s and 2080’s. Higher summer and winter temperatures, declining mountain snowpack, reduced snowfall, long dry summers, and sudden heavy rains are just some of the changes.
- These changes will have a dramatic impact on fire regimes, geo-hazards and flooding, river flow, water availability, plant distribution, and wildlife populations.
Terrestrial and Aquatic Invasive Species
- When natural areas are disturbed there is often an opportunity for invasive species to flourish.
- Invasive species, both terrestrial and aquatic, can disrupt natural ecological processes as there are often no natural agents present to keep these species in check.
- Invasive species can affect fish and wildlife habitat, range values, food security, and timberland.
Natural System Modifications (Fire maintained ecosystems, Dams and Water Management and Use)
- When natural systems are modified such as through fire suppression, or nonecological fireproofing or hydrological flow regimes altered, the ecological degradation and loss of biological diversity can we widespread.
Transportation and Service Corridors
- Wildlife mortality and habitat fragmentation are direct consequences of road corridors.
- These corridors are concentrated in valley bottoms and traffic volumes are increasing over time thereby increasing the risk.
Human Intrusions and Disturbance (Recreational Activity)
- Recreational activity, particularly increasing off-road activity, can lead to a range of impacts including soil compaction, erosion, spread of invasive plants, and disturbance to wildlife.
Agriculture and Aquaculture
- Threats from farming and ranching as a result of agricultural expansion and intensification, can lead to loss of important ecosystem and wildlife habitat, soil compaction, spread of invasive plants, human health issues with surface and groundwater.
Biological Resource Use
- Harvesting trees and other woody vegetation for timber, fiber, or fuel can have an impact on ecosystems, wildlife habitat, surface and groundwater, including soil compaction, erosion, spread of invasive plants and disturbance to wildlife.
- The 2020/2021 Fund will provide over $80,000 to eligible conservation projects.
- Applicants must be an incorporated non-profit society in good standing or must partner with an organization that has registered society status.
The following types of projects will not be considered for funding:
- Existing federal, provincial or local government responsibilities;
- Capacity building or operating only expenses for organizations;
- Projects with recreational benefits only;
- Community infrastructure services;
- Lobbying or advocacy initiatives;
- Wildlife feeding programs;
- Non-applied research (research not related to a conservation action goal);
- Training costs for contractors;
- Enforcement activities;
- Fish rearing, farming, stocking or hatchery projects
Proposal Ranking Guidelines
- Each proposal will be independently reviewed by each Technical Advisory Committee’ (TAC) member and be rated on what is submitted by the proponent.
- The Committee will only review proposals on their technical merit and effectiveness.
- Experts in fields related to the activities within proposals may be consulted as necessary.
- Each proposal will be discussed collectively and Committee members will have an opportunity to change their scores based on input from other members.
- Scores from each Committee member will be used to determine the final evaluation score for the proposal. The proposals will be ranked from highest to lowest score.
- New funding proposals will be rated on whether they meet the Fund criteria and if the project should be considered for funding. For continuing projects, ratings will be based on whether the project should be continued.
- The Committee chair will sign the ranked list and the Committee’s comments will then be forwarded to the RDNO in a summary report.
- The consultant (Okanagan Collaborative Conservation Program) retained by the RDNO to oversee the administrative management will participate in the technical review process, but will not rank proposals or influence the TAC; will provide additional file information as requested by the Committee members before and at review meetings; and will be available to answer questions from the RDNO on behalf of the Committee.