Within the Kootenays, the richest habitat exists in valley bottoms, which is also where humans often choose to live. This means many critical habitats are found on private land. Although private land covers a small portion of the region’s total land base (8%), keeping it ecologically intact plays a big part in conservation success.
From a large landscape perspective, undeveloped land in valley bottoms acts as the foundation for mid and high elevation habitats; the protection of which allows contiguous wildlife travel corridors to exist between different higher elevation habitats. In many cases the conservation of key parcels of low elevation private land ensures landscape level habitat connectivity, thereby conserving the ecological integrity of much larger areas. Because these low elevation areas have a disproportionately low level of representation in Provincial and National Parks and a high degree of ecological significance, land trusts have prioritized them for securement.
Securement of private land protects conservation values on the property for generations to come. Beyond conservation values, these lands can also protect other values such as First Nations cultural/heritage sites and certain types of recreation use.
KCP provides a coordination and collaboration role for private land securement in the Kootenay region. The KCP Securement Committee includes members from the land trusts that are active region-wide as well as other key organizations that are actively involved in landscape-level land acquisition for conservation (e.g. provincial government, Canadian Wildlife Service, Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program). Securement Committee member organizations operate throughout the entire KCP Service Area to provide holistic, regional overview.
KCP evaluates properties based on biological and administrative criteria to set priorities for land acquisition in the Kootenays. Priorities are based on:
- Presence of habitat and species at risk
- Property size and linkage to other conservation corridors
- Urgency of conservation threats
- Management and maintenance responsibilities
- Available funding
KCP is not a land trust and does not hold or acquire properties or covenants. Rather, KCP serves as a forum for discussion, prioritization, coordination, and supporting subsequent stewardship.
If you would like to donate an ecologically significant property, please contact the KCP Program Manager (firstname.lastname@example.org).