Conservation strategy seeks funds

An initiative wanting to conserve biodiversity may tap into public funding.

North Okanagan Regional District staff have been instructed to consider possible sources for $20,000 for a biodiversity conservation strategy.

“This is a tremendous opportunity to help us with implementation of our regional growth strategy,” said director Buffy Baumbrough.

The two-year grant has been requested by the Okanagan Collaborative Conservation Program.

“The mission of the biodiversity conservation strategy is to identify regionally and locally significant natural areas within the North Okanagan and establish a process for decision-makers to work together to enhance and preserve the natural legacy of this region,” said Carolina Restrepo-Tamayo, OCCP co-ordinator.

“The strategy identifies natural area values and provides easily accessible information that can be used as part of land use decision-making for public agencies, local government and conservation groups.”

Restrepo-Tamayo says the project will develop maps and information necessary to protect habitats and species.

“Without a master plan for conserving sensitive ecosystems and their associated species, we will continue to experience an increasing erosion of ecosystem integrity due to incremental development,” she said.

“A biodiversity strategy is not intended to impede development but to identify areas with high ecological values where local governments may choose to designate levels of protection.”

The goal is to have a habitat and biodiversity assessment completed by spring 2012, with policies and tools recommended in spring 2013 and the plan being implemented between 2013 and 2015.

The project budget is $142,900 in 2011 and $92,050 in 2012, and other funding partners are being sought.

 

“We are waiting for responses from Environment Canada and the Habitat Stewardship Program,” said Restrepo-Tamayo.