The KCP Virtual Spring Tour is taking place on Monday, June 22 from 1 p.m. – 2:15 p.m. PT / 2 p.m. – 3:15 p.m. on Zoom.

This is an excellent opportunity to learn about 5 important conservation projects taking place in the Kootenays – in just 1 hour! The presentations will be followed by a 15 minute Q&A.


Additional background information on these 5 presentations is provided below:

Kootenay Lake Local Conservation Fund Projects:

North Kootenay Lake Water Monitoring Program: Collecting scale-appropriate climate data to inform land-use, conserve and restore ecosystems, support sustainable community development, and prepare for increased hazards 

With Greg Utzig (Kootenay Centre for Forestry Alternatives)

  • The North Kootenay Lake Water Monitoring Project (NKLWMP) involves monitoring 7 small streams at the north end of Kootenay Lake.
  • It also has 3 climate stations – where precipitation and temperature is recorded.
  • And 2 snow courses – where snowpack and water equivalent stored in the snowpack is measured.
  • Over the last 20 years the Federal and Provincial Governments have pretty much abandoned monitoring small stream.
  • Small streams are important, as that is where most people get their water from. Also many people live along small streams or on the fans of small streams where they enter Kootenay Lake.
  • Climate change has begun to change season flow regimes of these streams, and it is projected that these changes will increase over the coming decades. These changes will affect aquatic and riparian ecosystems that depend directly on these streams, and will also affect upland species that also interact with these streams – and people who also depend on these streams for domestic and irrigation water, or can be at risk due to flooding or landslides associate with these streams.
  • The goal of the project is to better understand the hydrology of small streams and how the streamflows are changing due to climate change Many species depend on these streams, and any changes to these streams will have far-reaching ecosystem impacts

Beavers along the Lardeau and Duncan River floodplains: Conducting population survey and habitat assessment to inform beaver restoration

With Brenda Herbison (BC Conservation Foundation)

  • Beaver populations appear to have been low along the Lardeau and Duncan River floodplains over the past few years and there is cause for concern due to the vital ecological role they serve.
  • This project will
    • Inventory colonies and works ( Fall 2020) and compare to inventory of same area in Fall 2010
    • Compare habitat details to 2010 in same sites as part of assessing reasons for either absence or continued presence
    • Undertake “landscape scale “ ( River- scale) as well as site specific habitat suitability assessments
    • Develop short and  long term, tangible, hands on solutions for maintaining and restoring beavers where necessary along the Lardeau and Duncan River systems
  • Maintaining beavers will contribute (with no monetary cost! ) to the maintenance of biological richness within our precious valley bottomlands by creating habitat for hundreds of other species that depend on the ponds and wetlands they create.
  • In addition to the KLLCF, FWCP is the other partner in this project contributing both financial support and in-kind GIS help.

Knotweed removal on private lands: Eradicating invasive knotweed from Areas A, D, and E of the RDCK 

With Erin Bates (Central Kootenay Invasive Species Society)
  • Knotweed is one of the 100 Worst invasive species worldwide, and is the highest priority invasive plant in British Columbia because of the threat it poses to native ecosystems, as well as its potential to damage human infrastructure. In heavily impacted areas, infested properties experience reduced resale value, increased insurance costs, and expensive damage to foundations and water lines.
  • Many private landowners in the Kootenay Lake region have knotweed, but cannot afford the cost of treatment.
  • This project aims to remove barriers to knotweed treatment by subsidizing the cost of treatment for landowners who wish to eliminate knotweed on their property.
  • Reducing knotweed on private property will support other knotweed management efforts in the region, and lead to a reduction in the environmental impacts that result from knotweed spreading into sensitive ecosystems. Landowners, as well as neighbours and general taxpayers, will benefit from the removal of knotweed’s damaging root system by the prevention of costly infrastructure damage and improvement of land values.
Columbia Valley Local Conservation Fund Projects

Luxor Linkage Resilience and Forest Restoration Project: Restoring Rocky Mountain Douglas‐fir forest to dry open forest to provide important habitat and serve as a linkage corridor 

With Kate Mackenzie (Nature Conservancy of Canada)
  • This project addresses ingrowth of conifers in open forests and encroachment of trees on grasslands. which is the result of past management practices (ie. fire suppression).
  • The project wants to reverse the impacts of fire suppression by restoring forests via forest thinning treatments.
  • The goal of this project is to restore open forest and grassland habitat in areas where forest ingrowth and encroachment have occurred. This will eventually improve grassland/open forest ecosystems and provide habitat for wildlife, and in particular ungulates that rely on these ecosystems (deer, elk, bighorn sheep)
  • A side benefit will be protecting local communities from wildfire by creating a landscape scale fire break across the valley
  • This will set the scene for NCC to hopefully pull off prescribed fire in the future to maintain the restored ecosystems, which is a less resource-intensive restoration method than mechanical thinning.

Columbia Lake Ecosystem Monitoring & Education: Increasing knowledge and monitoring trends to sustain healthy water and habitats in Columbia Lake

With Nancy Wilson (Columbia Lake Stewardship) 
  • Columbia Lake Stewardship Society monitoring and education programs help with our knowledge of the lake and with the lake user’s understanding of Columbia Lake.
  • Columbia Lake is the headwaters of the Columbia River so it needs to monitored and preserved because what happens to it could impact the entire Columbia River system.
  • It is important to monitor the lake to establish a reference point that can be used to notice any changes to the water quality or quantity of the lake. We can then respond appropriately to these changes.
  • The data is also available to decision makers to help them make decisions and formulate policy like the Columbia Lake Management Plan that is currently being updated.
  • It is also important that lake users be educated about the condition of the lake so that they understand their impact on the lake.  This helps people appreciate the beautiful pristine environment we all share.