Okanagan Basin water projects funded

Fiscal support for 18 water projects amounts to $300,000

The Okanagan Basin Water Board has approved $300,000 in funding to 18 projects to help conserve and improve the quality of water in the valley.

The water board directors approved the Water Conservation and Quality Improvement (WCQI) grants at their April 3 meeting and recipients were notified last week. In all, there were 23 applications with a total funding request of $435,180.

Those projects approved for funding ranged from public outreach for water quality protection to water conserving irrigation improvements in public parks.

“This program has such value,” said OBWB chair Tracy Gray, noting that the grants are made available to local governments, but also to schools, stewardship groups and others, encouraging broader engagement on valley-wide water issues.

“Solutions are not always government driven. This is a tremendous way to engage others, recognizing that we’re all part of ‘One valley. One water.’”

Related: Okanagan Valley receives funding for floodplain mapping

Another benefit has been the ability for grant recipients to leverage OBWB funding to bring in additional funds for Okanagan water projects, Gray added. Up until the current funding cycle, this has amounted to more than $27.2 million invested in our valley.

Four projects were funded in the North Okanagan this year, including $14,730 to the Okanagan Collaborative Conservation Program to build out an Okanagan-based school curriculum on water and work with the Indigenous Syilx community to include traditional ecological knowledge.

“This project represents an important opportunity to broaden water knowledge throughout the valley, by providing a curriculum for teachers to directly educate about water issues and the solutions we are collectively pursuing,” added James Littley, OBWB’s operations and grants manager.

In the Central Okanagan, 10 projects were funded, including $25,000 to the Mission Creek Restoration Initiative to ensure flood protection and wildlife habitat restoration objectives are being met.

This multi-year project demonstrates the impact of watercourse restoration and the positive effects it can have on water quality, flood mitigation, sediment control and habitat enhancement. This project, like similar projects in the valley, help restore ecosystems and create benefits at a fraction of the cost of providing traditional infrastructure.

“The Mission Creek Restoration Initiative has been a shining example of best practices, collaboration and project management,” Littley added.

“Mission Creek accounts for 25 per cent of the water that flows into Okanagan Lake. A healthy, functioning creek is especially critical as we experience droughts and floods. Projects like this can help mitigate the effects of these extreme events.”

Another four projects were supported in the South Okanagan. One of these was $29,000 to the En’owkin Centre for a floodplain re-engagement project. The project involves reconnecting the Penticton portion of the Okanagan River Channel to 4.83 hectares of the river’s adjacent historic floodplain, allowing for natural backwatering as water levels in the main river channel rise and fall.

This will provide numerous benefits, including the creation of a seasonal off-channel rearing habitat for Indigenous fish and refuge for juvenile salmon, specifically for sk’lwist/ntytyix (i.e. chinook salmon). It will also support indigenous biodiversity and recovery of species at-risk, and improve connectivity between rare and endangered floodplain habitats with upland plant habitats.

In addition, the project will provide an opportunity to share local Indigenous cultural and ecological education, awareness and interaction.

“I’m really excited about this project.” Littley added. “Reconnecting the river to the floodplain here means so much for the water in terms of conservation and quality improvement, but it is also complementary to the work that the Okanagan Nation and its member bands have been doing to restore salmon and salmon habitat throughout the valley.

“There are so many positive economic, social and environmental benefits from projects like this, especially when you look at the cumulative impact of similar efforts up and down the Okanagan system.”

Since the Water Board began awarding WCQI grants in 2006, it has awarded more than $4.1 million to 250 projects throughout the Okanagan.

The amount available in each region is based on the contribution provided by each Okanagan regional district. Projects must meet a number of criteria, including the ability to demonstrate water savings or improvements to water quality, collaboration and valley-wide benefit.

To report a typo, email: edit@kelownacapnews.com.


@KelownaCapNews
newstips@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Okanagan Wildfires: An afternoon update on wildfires and evacuations

A Sunday afternoon look at the major wildfires impacting the Okanagan and Similkameen.

BC Wildfire holding steady on Okanagan Complex

Evening update on Okanagan fire situation

BC Wildfire merges Mt. Eneas and Munro Lake fires

Large plume of smoke seen over the fire was a controlled event

Contest: Got a cute pet? Send us a photo

Email us photos of your pets in the South Okanagan-Similkameen

ZONE 2: Summerland twins bring ultimate competition to the BC Summer Games

Brothers Connor and Holden Berrisford are each other’s main motivators

BC Games: Day 3 wrap and closing ceremonies

The torch in the Cowichan Valley has been extinguished as Fort St. John gets ready to host the 2020 BC Winter Games

Police confirm girl, 8 others injured in Toronto shooting; shooter dead

Paramedics said many of the victims in Danforth, including a child, were rushed to trauma centres

Why do they do it? Coaches guide kids to wins, personal bests at the BC Games

Behind the 2,300 B.C. athletes are the 450 coaches who dedicate time to help train, compete

Reel Reviews: Floundering inferno

We quote Charlie Brown: “Good grief!”

UPDATE: Five taken to hospital following one of two Coquihalla accidents

One airlifted in critical condition, four taken via ambulance in stable condition

Ottawa fails to find alternative buyer for Trans Mountain pipeline by deadline

The feds had announced it was purchasing the $4.5 billion pipeline earlier this spring

Government sets full-time salary range for Justin Trudeau’s nanny

At its top range, the order works out to a rate of $21.79 per hour, assuming a 40-hour work week

Lower Mainland teams battle for baseball gold at BC Games

Vancouver Coastal squeaked out a 3-2 win against Fraser Valley

The Northern Secwepemc te Qelmucw people signed an agreement-in-principle with the B.C. government

The signing ceremony, at the Eliza Archie Memorial School, was 25 years in the making

Most Read