Columbia Valley bottom and Wetlands. Photo by Larry Halverson

Kootenay Conservation Program develops online conservation tool

Online toolkit for Kootenay-based services and programs

Submitted by Kootenay Conservation Program

The Kootenay Conservation Program (KCP) has developed a free online tool to help communities care for their properties in ways that benefit wildlife, water and wild spaces.

The Stewardship Solutions Online Toolkit is a portal to a list of Kootenay-based services and programs that address stewardship issues on private land. These resources are broken up into 14 regions of the Kootenay, coined “Conservation Neighbourhoods”, that are identified on an interactive home page map. By clicking on your neighbourhood, you’re brought to the organizations that provide stewardship solutions in your particular area of the Kootenay, which can range from habitat enhancement and restoration to fire prevention, invasive species control, water quality monitoring, wildlife reporting, free environmental farm planning, and more.

“The beauty of Stewardship Solutions is that all of the local and regional contact information is in one place,” said KCP Stewardship Coordinator Marcy Mahr. “It’s like Google for land stewardship in the Kootenay, but it’s better because it’s precise and localized, instead of having to search through countless Google results for what to do about issues such as managing invasive weeds, being fire-smart, developing an environmental farm plan, and enhancing habitat for wildlife.”

The Columbia Valley Conservation Neighbourhood lists up to 23 different services that private landowners and land managers can access to enhance conservation on their property and deal with common environmental land management issues. Stewardship Solutions for the Columbia Valley is also available as a printed handout (copies are currently being distributed by KCP partners) and as a downloadable PDF from the website.

Convenient symbols show which solutions relate to Wildlife, Habitat, Monitoring, Farms and Ranches, and Funding. For some services, additional resources are available as a download.

“We identified in 2018 landowner outreach workshops that coordinated services for private landowners was a huge gap and something that people kept asking for,” said Ms. Mahr. “Stewardship Solutions was developed to assist landowners in thinking holistically about their land and managing a suite of issues that come with owning land.”

The toolkit was designed as a one-stop shop for anyone with an interest in conservation, including local government planners and stewardship practitioners, as well as private landowners and residents wanting stewardship options for their property.

“If you want local help when it comes to farm incentives and invasive species, or who to call to report nesting Great Blue Herons or bats in a building, this toolkit is where you need to go,” said Ms. Mahr.

Stewardship Solutions was made possible thanks to generous funding from Columbia Basin Trust, the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation, Fish & Wildlife Compensation Program and the Real Estate Foundation of British Columbia.

To access the online toolkit visit: https://kootenayconservation.ca/toolkit/

The Kootenay Conservation Program is a broad partnership of over 80 organizations from across the Kootenays that works to conserve landscapes in order to sustain naturally functioning ecosystems. Learn more at www.kootenayconservation.ca.

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