This month's eNews takes a special look into how municipalities in the Okanagan hope to plan for climate resilience and announce our 2021 committment to Nature Based Solutions to Climate Change.  The OCCP would also like to highlight some of the ongoing projects of our partner organizations.

Learn more in this month's eNews

Addressing Climate Change in Kelowna's Official Community Plan

The City of Kelowna has entered the refinement phase of updating their Official Community Plan (OCP) which will guide growth for the next 20 years. Included in the draft 2040 OCP are directives for protecting existing natural areas within the city and mitigation measures for the impacts of climate change.

Protecting Natural Areas:

It has been projected that over the next 20 years, an additional 45,000 residents will move to Kelowna, increasing the pressure on our strained ecosystems.  In the draft 2040 OCP, the City of Kelowna has provided strategies to not only protect remaining natural assets, but also restore lost ones for future generations.  Some of their key strategies to achieve this vision include:
  • Protecting the health of Okanagan Lake
  • Minimizing growth in outlying areas
  • Preserving ecosystem corridors for habitat connectivity, migration and wildlife populations

Climate Action:

Climate change has manifested itself in the Okanagan as longer, drier summers, and warmer, wetter winters.  These changes in the historic hydrological cycle, coupled with the impacts of development in the Okanagan, has resulted in more frequent flooding and wildfire events.  The draft 2040 OCP's directives on climate change include strategies for mitigating the impacts of climate change, creating climate resilient infrastructure, and adapting to the increased frequency and severity of natural disaster events.  The City of Kelowna hopes to:
  • Move towards 100% renewable energy by 2050
  • Increase disaster planning and management (flood and wildfire)
  • Improve emergency preparedness and response

Give Your Feedback!

What do you like about the above mentioned strategies?  What do you feel could be improved on? The City of Kelowna would like public feedback on the draft 2040 OCP and has provided multiple avenues for you to provide your input.

Click here to fill out the online survey.  The deadline for online submissions is March 21, 2021.

City of Vernon Draft Climate Action Plan

The City of Vernon has released its draft Climate Action Plan for public review.  The plan describes community targets and identifies both corporate and community-wide actions that aim to reduce emissions (mitigation outcomes), prepare the city for climate change impacts (adaptation outcomes) or both (low-carbon resilience actions that achieve both adaptation and mitigation outcomes).

The City of Vernon would like your input - click here to go to the interactive Climate Action Plan website and fill out the survey.  Surveys must be completed by March 24, 2021.

Okanagan Climate Projections Report

Published in February of 2020, the Regional Districts of the North, Central and South Okanagan Similkameen partnered with the Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium and Pinna Sustainability to develop a Climate Projections report for the Okanagan.  This document will assist community planners and local government officials better anticipate climate variations over the next 30-60 years.

To read the Okanagan Climate Projections report, click here.

Nature Based Solutions to Climate Change Announcement

Nature Based Solutions to Climate change refers to ecosystem management practices aimed at mitigating the impacts of climate change.  Afforestation to sequester carbon dioxide, for example, is probably the most widely recognized Nature Based Solution to Climate Change.  The OCCP envisions a future in which we can utilize the protection and restoration of ecosystems to help combat the impacts of climate change. In 2021, the OCCP will be working with our partners to develop actions and collaborative ways to implement Nature Based Solutions in the Okanagan Valley.

To read the full announcement, click here.

Additional Resources for Lakeshore Living

Published by OCCP and our partners, "A Resource For Lakeshore Living" provides additional information about how to protect and restore shoreline ecosystems.  To view the online version of the brochure go to:
Another ongoing OCCP project is the Okanagan Lake Responsibility Planning Initiative, co led in partnership with Okanagan Nation Alliance and the South Okanagan Similkameen Conservation Program.  We recently wrapped up the Syilx Planning Process workshop series, which brought together representatives from Syilx leadership, regional and provincial governments, and academia to identify  with actionable items for improving the management and protections for Okanagan Lake.  Participants also highlighted our strengths as individuals, organizations, and communities in implementing these changes. 

The coordinating team will be conducting an analysis of the entire Sylix Planning Process webinar series and begin an engagement process of the broader public in the near future.  Ultimately, we are working towards the creation of an Okanagan Lake Responsibility Strategy which will provide direction for watershed management across multiple jurisdictions.

Bringing the Salmon Home Webpage Launch

The Columbia River Salmon Reintroduction Initiative has brought together five governments - the Syilx Okanagan Nation, Ktunaxa Nation, Secwepemc Nation, Canada, and British Columbia - to explore salmon reintroduction into the upper Columbia Region.  Historically, Chinook and Sockeye salmon inhabited much of the upper Columbia region, including the Okanagan River and Okanagan Lake.  In fact, the Okanagan Chinook population is the only remaining Columbia River Basin Chinook population in Canada.

This Initiative will look at the feasibility of reintroducing salmon upstream of the Chief Joseph and Grand Coulee Dams which have blocked salmon migration to areas of the upper Columbia for the last 80 years.  The long term goal of this project will be to return fish stocks for Indigenous food, social, and ceremonial needs, and for the benefit of upper Columbia communities as a whole.

To learn more about the reintroduction initiative click here.

Save the Date!

From May 10 - 16 2021, the coordinating team behind the Columbia River Salmon Reintroduction Initiative is inviting Indigenous and non-Indigenous community members to join a special series of online workshops and events hosted through the new webpage, or to create their own event to show their support for the initiative.  Events and activities could include community paddles, storytelling sessions, or submitting artwork to be shared on CRSRI social media platforms.  Updates on the Bring the Salmon Home Festival schedule to come.

Funding Opportunities:

  1. The Chawkers Foundation - April 15, 2021
  2. Central Okanagan Foundation - May 3, 2021
  3. TD Friends of the Environment Foundation - July 15, 2021
  4. FWCP Community Engagement Grants - Ongoing
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