Conservation in the Kootenays
Monthly eNews
January 2021
Trendy Tools
Featuring profiles from the Stewardship Solutions Online Toolkit
Healthy tributaries contribute to the health of the Elk River watershed. Elk River Alliance staff, board members and Streamkeepers volunteers have been monitoring water quality in the watershed since 2011. 

KCP Winter Webinar Series
Webinars begin this month, online registration is open!
For 2021, our four-part Winter Webinar Series will be on the theme “From Alpine to Valley Bottom: Conserving Essential Habitats in the Kootenays” with four fascinating presentations confirmed:
  • Drones & Dens: Using Non-Invasive Techniques to Find Wolverine Dens with Doris Hausleitner - Thursday, January 28, 2021, 2-3 pm PT / 3-4 pm MT REGISTER
  • A Provincial and Regional Overview of BC’s Old Growth Forests: Where Are We At and What Happens Now? with Rachel Holt - Thursday, February 11, 2021, 10 - 11 am PT / 11 am – 12 pm MT REGISTER
  • Looking for the Big Picture: The Creston Valley Green Map and Habitat Connectivity with Brian Churchill - Wednesday, February 17, 2021, 10 - 11 am PT / 11 am – 12 pm MT REGISTER
  • Columbia Valley Wetland Mapping Project: Combining Digital Technologies and Wetland Ecology with Ryan Durand - Thursday, February 25, 2021, 10 - 11 am PT / 11 am – 12 pm MT REGISTER
Detailed webinar descriptions and information about the presenters can be found at the registration links as well as on the Winter Webinar Series page on the KCP website.

KCP Virtual Golden Conservation Action Forum
Summary Report and science presentations now available
On November 25, 2020, KCP, Wildsight Golden and Kootenay Connect co-hosted the Golden Conservation Action Forum virtually using the Zoom platform. During this full-day workshop, 31 participants representing diverse perspectives as scientists, resource managers, conservationists, fish and wildlife associations, keepers of Indigenous knowledge, and recreationists worked together to identify priority actions that will contribute to maintaining healthy fish and wildlife populations and ecological functions in the Golden Area over the next five years. Forum participants also had to opportunity to view nine pre-recorded “speed” presentations from scientists to inform attendees of current conservation issues and recommendations to address them. This was the 6th CAF that KCP has hosted since 2017.

KCP Program Review Survey Winners           
And the winners are…
KCP is conducting a voluntary external program review this year and has engaged a third party, Tapestry Evaluation and Strategy, to conduct the review in order to ascertain strengths, challenges and successes; progress on our strategic priorities; and evaluation of our strategic outcomes. To help this process, a survey was circulated to collect feedback and everyone who participated was entered into a random draw for a prize. We’re pleased to announce that the winners are: Baiba Morrow, Rick Hoar and Ivy Whitehorse, who will each receive a bag of local coffee. Thank you to everyone who completed the survey!

Columbia Valley Local Conservation Fund
Technical Review Committee Member
The Regional District of East Kootenay (RDEK) in partnership with the Kootenay Conservation Program (KCP) are seeking qualified members for the Columbia Valley Local Conservation Fund (CVLCF) Technical Review Committee (TRC). The role of the TRC is to make recommendations on allocating annual funding for conservation projects for the area from Canal Flats to Spillimacheen. Applications will be received on an ongoing basis.
Columbia Basin Rural Development Institute – Selkirk College
Updated climate science resource for Columbia Basin
Columbia Basin Climate Source is a one-stop source for climate science and climate change impacts information relevant to the Columbia Basin and Boundary regions. The site was recently updated for an improved user experience. Fine-resolution projections for over 40 climate indicators now load faster and have improved visualization. "Difference from baseline" values have also been added so users can easily understand change over time.

Elk Root Conservation Farm Society
Bee Wellness projects featured in mini documentary
A new KCP Partner, Elk Root Conservation’s educational demonstration farm is located in the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) in the Slocan Valley at the confluence of the Slocan River and Little Slocan River. Elk Root is teaming with consultant biologists, agrologists, engineers and landowners to conserve, protect and restore the productivity and biodiversity of ALR lands and its wildlife inhabitants, including identified species-at-risk. This documentary by the Investment Agriculture Foundation of BC features a demonstration of their Bee Forage Orchard and Flower Meadow and Bee Barn that are helping native bees flourish.

Living Lakes Canada
Columbia Basin Water Hub: Instructional Webinar Series
In this 3-part webinar series that took place in December, Columbia Basin Water Hub manager Santiago Botero explains how to use the emerging Columbia Basin Water Hub, a database with the aim of making critical water data readily available in order to facilitate informed decision making around the Columbia Basin’s fresh water supply. This informal series serves as an introduction of the Water Hub to interested water monitoring groups, providing an overview of the vision and purpose of the Water Hub as well as provide online training regarding the database features and tools.

Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative
Indigenous filmmakers tell the story of wildlife crossings
In a new short film, the Nakoda Audio Visual Club worked on an animation project that shows the challenge of crossing Alberta's fast-flowing Highway 1 through the eyes of wildlife.
Y2Y supported the work of these talented youth whose community members in Stoney Nakoda First Nation not only live with wildlife, but also experience the impacts of deadly wildlife-vehicle collisions.

Wildsight Golden
Columbia Valley Swallow Project results
With the help of 69 volunteers, the Columbia Valley Swallow Project located 135 swallow colonies in vertical banks and cliffs with alluvial friable soils. 96 of those were confirmed as active bank swallow colonies. 15,909 burrows were counted at active colonies, and 7,578 of those were estimated as active bank swallow nest sites in 2020. Volunteers also located 24 barn swallow nest sites (total of 144 nests) in the valley, including a significant colony in Brisco that was monitored (at least 32 active nests) and a significant colony in Golden that was monitored had at least 28 active barn swallow nests (42 nests in total). Information was also collected at cliff swallow nest sites; 17 nest sites were discovered, with large colonies found near the Blaeberry, in Parson and in Spillimacheen.

West Kootenay EcoSociety
Forest webinars with Herb Hammond – recordings available
In November, the West Kootenay EcoSociety hosted two forest-related webinars with guest speaker Herb Hammond, a Registered Forest Professional and forest ecologist with 40 years of experience in research, industry, teaching and consulting. In A New Relationship with Forests: Nature-based Planning, Herb explains how nature-based planning protects forests and the myriad benefits they provide. In Privatized Public Forests and How to Change the Story, he sheds light on how privatization has occurred and offers a practical roadmap to get public forests back into public hands.

Crown Managers Partnership
The Crown, Conservation, & Coffee webinar series recordings available
The Crown, Conservation, & Coffee was a new three-part webinar series that took place once a month from October to December offered by the Crown Managers Partnership. Each hour-long webinar packed with knowledgeable experts from across the Crown of the Continent. Topics were: Building Partnerships Across Borders, Watershed Integrity in the Crown of the Continent, and Ecological Connectivity in the Crown of the Continent.

Kootenay Community Bat Project & Kootenay Connect
Artificial old growth trees provide roosts for bats in Golden area
As a part of the Kootenay Community Bat Project and Kootenay Connect, two bat roosts have been erected just outside of Golden in an attempt to collect data on bat species in the area. The roosts, which are uniquely designed to simulate an old growth tree or snag, appeal to many bat species, while traditional bat boxes only appeal to two species of bat that exists in the East Kootenay.

Columbia Basin Environmental Education Network
New resources added to Outdoor Learning Store
Four excellent new resources have been added to CBEEN’s Outdoor Learning Store, including Indigenous and French resources: (1) Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants; (2) Green Teacher: Teaching Teens about Climate Change; (3) Engaging Imagination in Ecological Education: Practical Strategies for Teaching; and (4) Curiosité naturelle, 2e édition: Ressource pour l’enseignante ou l’enseignant. The Outdoor Learning Store
QGIS Level I & II: remote attendance
Your choice of date/time/location
The QGIS mapping program has become the go-to software for people that want to map and analyze geospatial data using a free, open source product. Supported and continuously developed by designers world-wide, the program is replacing ArcGIS in many organizations. An introductory and second level Columbia Mountains Institute of Applied Ecology course is now available on-line from Opus Petroleum Engineering Ltd. In this course the student meets with instructor Richard Johnson in a video-chat environment (Zoom). 

Teaching EE and Climate Change: A New K-10 Big Ideas Framework
January 14, Online
Environmental Educator Dave Quinn will share a draft set of Environmental Education and Climate Change Education Big Ideas, with linked Curricular Competencies and Content for these critical, overarching subjects whose content is currently sprinkled throughout other curriculum areas. This workshop will help educators navigate the challenges of teaching critical concepts for environmentally literate students of all ages, and these new Big Ideas help guide teachers through age-appropriate concepts and topics relating to Environment and Climate Change.

What can we see from long term data on the Columbia River? Patterns of change through the Rainbow Trout Lens
January 21, Online
The abundance, distribution and genetics of the Rainbow Trout in the Lower Columbia River (from Hugh L. Keenleyside Dam to the U.S. Border) have been studied for over 25+ years. In this CREDtalk offered by the Columbia Mountains Institute of Applied Ecology, Presenter Robyn Irvine, PhD will describe some of the patterns observed and what might come next scientifically.

Art of Participatory Leadership – Catalyzing Action to Address Complex Issues of our Time
January 22 • February 26 • March 26 • April 23 • May 28, Online
In our personal lives, in our organizations and in our communities, it is time to join hands, hearts and minds to create new paths forward. Climate disasters, COVID-19 pandemic, and calls to embrace equity and end racism — they all combine into unparalleled opportunities to reimagine and recreate the lives and communities we want, now. Join the Columbia Basin Environmental Education Network in building a movement and a community to learn and build participatory leadership skills from the Art of Hosting tradition as well as developing other regenerative practices. Facilitated by David Stevenson, Bob Stigler, Ingrid Liepa, Jayme Jones and Jenn Meilleur. Early bird registration rates available by January 8.

Drones & Dens: Using Non-Invasive Techniques to Find Wolverine Dens
January 28, Online
Join Doris Hausleitner for the first webinar in the 2021 KCP Winter Webinar Series “From Alpine to Valley Bottom: Conserving Essential Habitats in the Kootenays”. Wolverine are a species of conservation priority provincially and nationally, partially due to their naturally low reproductive rates. Female wolverine are vulnerable to disturbance, especially at reproductive den sites. Dens are excavations in the snow in high elevation cirque basins near tree-line and preferred areas are used repeatedly. Deep snow is favoured for denning habitat, making wolverine susceptible to climate change and a shrinking snowpack. Doris Hausleitner will describe female wolverine denning areas and how they have searched for them using a combination of new technologies and citizen science.

A Provincial and Regional Overview of BC’s Old Growth Forests: Where Are We At and What Happens Now?
February 11, Online
Join Rachel Holt for the second webinar in the 2021 KCP Winter Webinar Series “From Alpine to Valley Bottom: Conserving Essential Habitats in the Kootenays”. Old forest matters; not only for its inherent qualities, but also because old forest retention is the Province’s principle strategy to maintain biodiversity. In the last year, a report by Price, Holt and Daust entitled BC’s Old Growth Forests: A Last Stand for Biodiversity highlighted the very poor condition of productive old forest in BC, and recommended key actions to prevent matters from getting worse. At the same time, an independent panel (The Strategic Old Growth Panel) wrote a report for the Minister of Forests outlining the state of old forests in the province, and they also provided 14 recommendations. This talk by Rachel Holt will bring together the findings from these reports and provide an overview of what issues are relevant to the future of old forest regionally and provincially.

Looking for the Big Picture: The Creston Valley Green Map and Habitat Connectivity
February 17, Online
Join Brian Churchill for the second webinar in the 2021 KCP Winter Webinar Series “From Alpine to Valley Bottom: Conserving Essential Habitats in the Kootenays”. Green Maps are used worldwide to highlight nature and its value to healthier communities. They often highlight values that are sometimes overlooked, yet are integral to sustainable human communities. Wildsight Creston Valley Branch developed the Creston Valley Green Map project to engage the public in environmental awareness through science and to highlight conservation leverage in the valley. It also provides a focus and vision for conservation collaborations especially with changes looming from climate change predictions. Brian Churchill will review the development and structure of the GIS based Green Map and discusses its use and future development.

Opportunities, Barriers, Strategies towards Inclusion
February 18, Online
This webinar hosted by the Columbia Basin Environmental Education Network will focus on the implementation of inclusion. It will include some strategies for working with the complexity of inclusion as well as the challenges and the opportunities it presents. Along with being the Accessibility Planner for the City of Vancouver, facilitator Karen Lai is an Inclusion and Accessibility Consultant through which she facilitates inclusion training for companies, educators, organizations, and other special interest groups.

Columbia Valley Wetland Mapping Project: Combining Digital Technologies and Wetland Ecology
February 25, Online
Join Ryan Durand for the second webinar in the 2021 KCP Winter Webinar Series “From Alpine to Valley Bottom: Conserving Essential Habitats in the Kootenays”. In 2019, the Kootenay Connect and the Columbia Wetlands Stewardship Partners initiated a project to map the Columbia Valley Wetlands — a large internationally recognized RAMSAR wetland complex. The Columbia Wetlands, which encompass 180km of valley bottom from Canal Flats to north of Golden, are largely undeveloped and difficult to access and study. Using a combination of digital imagery, LiDAR, and drone technology, the entire complex was mapped and each wetland type classified using the provincial Biogeoclimatic Ecosystem Classification system. The mapping is being used to help manage the wetlands and protect species at risk.

2021 Fire in the Crown of the Continent Virtual Forum – Save the Date!
March 22-26, Online
The Crown Managers Partnership is holding the 2021 Fire in the Crown Continent forum virtually this year. Each day will feature a new (approximately 4 hour) session. Details such as the online platform, specific time of day/agenda, and registration will be available soon.

Amphibian Inventory & Monitoring Techniques in Creston
April 13-14, Creston
This introductory course provides students with an opportunity to improve their amphibian species identification and handling skills, learn about survey design and standard inventory and monitoring techniques, and get hands-on experience surveying for amphibians in a variety of settings. Offered through Columbia Mountains Institute of Applied Ecology.

Scaling Up Camera Trap Surveys to Inform Regional Wildlife Conservation
May 18-20, Kimberley
This two-day Columbia Mountains Institute of Applied Ecology conference in Kimberley will address key questions in the development and application of camera trap methods. By showcasing established and emerging case studies, the conference will be a forum for sharing lessons on fundamental topics such as sampling design, data management and analysis, and multi-project collaboration.

Understanding Statistics & Decision-Making for Natural Resource Managers
May 25 • June 1 • June 8, Online
This Columbia Mountains Institute of Applied Ecology course is for project managers who have to interpret the results of statistical analyses and make decisions about how much data to collect and which management actions to undertake. The course focuses on the fundamentals of uncertainty, effect sizes, significance, decision theory and the value of information. It does not require a statistical background and doesn’t involve any modelling although different types of results are presented and discussed. This three-day online course is spread out over three weeks.

Advanced Field Ornithology: Identification and Surveys by Sound and Recordings
May 31-June 3, Revelstoke
This course will combine field-experience listening to bird calls and songs during three mornings at the height of the breeding season, with hands-on recording practice to generate sound files. Each afternoon, the class will learn to edit and review their recordings using sound visualization software on their personal laptop computers. Offered through Columbia Mountains Institute of Applied Ecology.
Columbia Basin Trust Small Environment Grants
Deadline: January 30, 2021
If you have an idea that will strengthen environmental well-being within the Columbia Basin Trust region and your project requires $5,000 or less, you can apply for a small Environment Grant. Eligible applicants include non-profits, First Nation communities, municipalities and regional districts. Businesses may be considered depending on the project and its broad community impact (the project must not mainly benefit the interest of the business). The next deadline is January 30, 2021 at 2 p.m. PT / 3 p.m. MT

2021 Brink/McLean Grassland Conservation Fund
Deadline: February 12, 2021
The objective of the Brink/McLean Grassland Conservation Fund is to promote research, habitat restoration and other stewardship activities that will assist in the management of the land, plants and animals of BC’s native grasslands. This fund was established by The Nature Trust of BC in May 2001 and it honours two of Canada’s most celebrated conservationists and past Board members (Dr. Bert Brink and Dr. Alastair McLean) who devoted much of their lives to conserving BC’s native grasslands. All applications must be received on or before February 12, 2021 at 4:30 pm PT.

Real Estate Foundation of BC Grants
Deadline: early March 2021 (TBC)
Real Estate Foundation of BC grants support projects that strengthen communities and protect our shared land and water. The next General Grant application cycle opens in February and closes in early March 2021 (date to be confirmed). For information on eligibility and funding priorities, visit refbc.com/grants or email grants@refbc.com to discuss your project idea.

Grassland and Rangeland Enhancement Program
Deadline: Ongoing
If you have an idea that will maintain or enhance grassland resources while meeting conservation, environment and recreation objectives, this program could help support it. This program is delivered by the Kootenay Livestock Association.

Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program Community Engagement Grants
Deadline: Ongoing
Community Engagement Grants are typically $500 to $1,000 and help stewardship groups and others take action to benefit local fish and wildlife.

Columbia Basin Trust Career Internship Program
Deadline: First-come, first-served basis
The Columbia Basin Trust Career Internship Program provides eligible employers with up to 50 per cent of an intern’s salary (up to $25,000 over a seven to 12 month term) for full-time, career-focused positions that lead to permanent employment. Eligible employers are businesses, registered non-profits, municipalities, regional districts and Indigenous organizations within the Columbia Basin Trust region.
Ecotrust Canada
Chief Impact Officer
Ecotrust Canada is creating a new executive position to enhance innovation, collaboration, and communication in the organization, with a specific focus on creating greater collective impact across its programs — Climate Innovation, Indigenous Home-Lands, Community Fisheries, Community Energy, and our emerging work in food security through the North Coast Innovation Lab. Ecotrust Canada is open to the person selected for this position being located elsewhere in British Columbia, with the understanding that frequent travel to Vancouver may be required. The deadline to apply is midnight on January 18.

Birds Canada
President
As the leading Canadian expert in bird science, Birds Canada is poised to play a pivotal role in the road to recovery for bird species and populations both in Canada and more broadly in the Americas. Birds Canada is seeking a visionary leader who can provide overall strategic and operational leadership for the organization and realize expansion opportunities to make a significant impact in applied conservation for birds. The President has traditionally been located at headquarters but other locations across Canada are possible. The deadline to apply is end of day January 18.

Columbia Valley Local Conservation Fund
Technical Review Committee Alternate, Columbia Valley Region
The Regional District of East Kootenay (RDEK) in partnership with the Kootenay Conservation Program (KCP) are seeking qualified members for the Columbia Valley Local Conservation Fund (CVLCF) Technical Review Committee (TRC). The role of the TRC is to make recommendations on allocating annual funding for conservation projects for the area from Canal Flats to Spillimacheen. Applications will be received on an ongoing basis.

Columbia Basin Environmental Education Network
Wild Voices Community Educator
Are you a forester or geographer? A biologist or mountain guide? A historian or Indigenous storyteller? Do you have some unique knowledge, skill, or expertise you can share with students? Wild Voices for Kids is a program of the Columbia Basin Environmental Education Network. It is a unique program in the Basin as it enables local specialists to develop programs connected to the local environment and tailored to their area of expertise and passion. Each educator brings their own unique knowledge of environment or natural history, adds their passion for education, and creates classroom or field-based programs that will both captivate students and satisfy the learning objectives of teachers. Community Educator applications and program submissions are assessed for approval bi-annually by the Wild Voices Advisory Committee. The Winter/Spring intake period closes on January 15.
For a comprehensive list of up-to-date job postings, check the CBEEN Job & Volunteer Board, an excellent resource for Kootenay conservation career and volunteer opportunities.

Prioritizing human safety and multispecies connectivity across a regional road network
Tracy S. Lee, Adam T. Ford, and Tyler G. Creech et al., Society for Conservation Biology
Maintaining wildlife movement across road networks is an important conservation strategy to sustain ecological connectivity. Direct mortality of wildlife from animal‐vehicle collisions (AVCs) can have population‐level effects on species. Alberta currently has no formal mechanisms to ensure wildlife considerations are included in transportation planning. This paper explores how transportation planning would benefit from integrating motorist safety risk and wildlife management needs to prioritize mitigation neighbourhoods along roadways.

Beavers may help amphibians threatened by climate change
Washington State University
The recovery of beavers may have beneficial consequences for amphibians because beaver dams can create the unique habitats that amphibians need.

Columbia Wetlands Stewardship Partners
Online reference library for the Columbia Wetlands region
The Columbia Wetlands Stewardship Partners have been hard at work curating a reference library containing the current and historical known research papers, projects and land use plans for the Columbia Wetlands, including the area to the east and to the west bordered by the Rocky and Purcell mountains ranges. It is a work in progress with currently over 1,800 citations and more being added every year. CWSP where possible, houses the entire document of a reference in the library, which can be downloaded if desired. More reports are welcome and needed to keep the database current. Please email relevant resources to Verena Shaw at verenashaw@gmail.com.

BC Wildlife Federation
2020 Wetlands Institute Speaker Series recordings available
Due to COVID-19, the BC Wildlife Federation's Wetlands Institute was formatted into a virtual Speaker Series — a series of stand-alone webinars and workshops hosted throughout the Fall, covering topics that are of interest to those working in the environmental sector with wetlands (including environmental education).

Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative
Entering Ethical Space: A Series on Land-based Reconciliation in the Kootenay-Columbia
Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative developed a three-part online workshop series to learn and discuss how Indigenous and non-Indigenous people and organizations can work together to create and sustain prosperous communities and healthy landscapes in the British Columbia’s Kootenay-Columbia. Recordings of all three workshops are available online

Comox Valley Conservation Partnership
Webinar recording available: The Promise, Potential and Pitfalls of Site-Specific Land Regulations
This conversation with experts Deborah Curran (University of Victoria, Environmental Law Centre) and Erin Gray (Arbutus Law Group LLP) explores how Development Permit Areas for Protection of the Natural Environment (EDPAs) can provide specific standards to support our decision-makers to further prioritize and protect ecologically sensitive areas in our current climate crisis. The presenters share knowledge and local examples (Comox Valley/Vancouver Island specific), as well as answer many questions from the live attending audience.

A Case for Conservation
KCP brochure promoting private land conservation available
KCP has created the “Case for Conservation” tri-fold brochure, which details 9 different reasons why conserving private land is so crucial to the health of the region’s ecosystems that support a myriad of plant, fish and animal species — many of which are currently rare or endangered or at risk of becoming so. The brochure opens up into an attractive poster that can be easily posted in offices, public spaces and homes. Printed brochures are available for distribution. If you would like copies, please contact KCP Program Manager Juliet Craig at manager@kootenayconservation.ca.

Kootenay Conservation Program
Conservation Resources for our Region
The Kootenay Conservation Program (KCP) helps partners to coordinate and facilitate conservation efforts on private land, and in an effort to support this, KCP has developed a webpage that compiles some of the best conservation and stewardship resources available for our region.