A free online toolkit from the Kootenay Conservation Program hopes to help local communities take care of their private properties.
Serving as a portal to a list of Kootenay-based services and programs that address wildlife, water, and environmental stewardship on private land, the Stewardship Solutions Online Toolkit is broken into 14 regions of the Kootenays labelled as “Conservation Neighbourhoods”.
Depending on the region of the Kootenays specific issues are presented, which can be further explored, providing details on local organizations or groups that help with that specific topic.
“The beauty of Stewardship Solutions is that all of the local and regional contact information is in one place,” said Marcy Mahr, KCP Stewardship Coordinator. “It’s like Google for land stewardship in the Kootenays, but it’s better because it’s precise and localized, instead of having to search through countless Google results for what to do about issues such as managing invasive weeds, being fire-smart, developing an environmental farm plan, and enhancing habitat for wildlife.”
In the East Kootenay, the Kootenay Conservation Program has four separate Conservation Neighbourhoods.
- The Cranbrook area falls in the South Country Conservation Neighbourhood, which lists up to 19 different services that private landowners and land managers can access to enhance conservation on their property and deal with common environmental land management issues
- The Kimberley area falls in the Upper Kootenay River Valley Conservation Neighbourhood, which lists up to 17 different services
- The Columbia Valley Conservation Neighbourhood lists up to 23 different services
- The Elk Valley Conservation Neighbourhood lists up to 22 different services
“We identified in 2018 landowner outreach workshops that coordinated services for private landowners was a huge gap and something that people kept asking for,” added Mahr. “Stewardship Solutions was developed to assist landowners in thinking holistically about their land and managing a suite of issues that come with owning land.”
Designed to be a one-stop-shop for anyone interested in conservation, the tools have been made available to private landowners, residents, local government planners, and stewardship practitioners.
“If you want local help when it comes to farm incentives and invasive species, or who to call to report nesting Great Blue Herons or bats in a building, this toolkit is where you need to go,” said Mahr.
The Stewardship Solutions Toolkit was launched by the Kootenay Conservation Program but was sponsored through the support of the Columbia Basin Trust, the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation, the Real Estate Foundation of British Columbia, the Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program, Nature Conservancy of Canada, Nature Trust of British Columbia, and Environment and Climate Change Canada.