By Kootenay Conservation Program

Kootenay Conservation Program (KCP), on behalf of the Regional District of East Kootenay (RDEK), is now accepting 2024 project proposals for the Columbia Valley Local Conservation Fund.

“The Columbia Valley Local Conservation Fund (CVLCF) supports local projects that help conserve the valley’s fish and wildlife habitat, water quality and other conservation values,” says Kendal Benesh, KCP Local Conservation Fund Coordinator. “For $20 per parcel per year, landowners are helping conserve and restore the Columbia Valley’s world-renowned natural areas.”

The CVLCF is a tax-based service that provides dedicated financial support (each year) to local projects ranging from ecosystem restoration and invasive species control, to wildlife conservation, water quality monitoring, and more. From 2010 to 2022, the CVLCF disbursed 110 grants totalling $2.68 million. This funding has helped raise nearly nine times that amount in additional grants and in-kind contributions — a substantial return on initial investment.

In 2023, 10 projects successfully received CVLCF funding: lake monitoring and education on Columbia Lake and Lake Windermere by the Columbia Lake Stewardship Society and the Lake Windermere Ambassadors; habitat enhancement for at-risk swallows by Wildsight Golden; natural and human-made habitat enhancements for bats by the Wildlife Conservation Society Canada; stewardship of important habitat on agricultural lands through the Farmland Advantage program via the Windermere District Farmers’ Institute; mitigating the risk of disease transmission to bighorn sheep populations by the Wildsheep Society of BC; preserving biodiversity in the internationally recognized Columbia Wetlands by the Columbia Wetlands Stewardship Partners; treatment of the invasive plant leafy spurge by the East Kootenay Invasive Species Council; and wetland restoration and environmental training for Indigenous youth by the BC Wildlife Federation and Shuswap Band. 

KCP, which works in partnership with the RDEK to administer the fund, is encouraging non-profit organizations and Indigenous nations operating in the Columbia Valley to submit funding proposals for 2024 projects. Community groups and individuals can also apply by partnering with an eligible organization. If you have a new project idea, it is highly recommended that you contact KCP prior to submitting an application to discuss your project idea.

The deadline for applying is 4:30 p.m. MT on Oct. 31, 2023. In November, a Technical Review Committee will review project proposals and make recommendations to the RDEK directors for final funding approval.

For more information and how to apply, visit For phone or email inquiries, contact KCP Local Conservation Fund Coordinator Kendal Benesh at 1-844-775-2722 (Ext. 203) or