More collaboration needed for lakeshore protection

Local groups come together to discuss protection efforts in the Okanagan region

A new strategy is stitching together local conservation groups and government agencies in an effort to further protect Okanagan lakeshore.

Through several workshops and meetings, members of The Regional District of Central Okanagan have come up with a plan they feel confident will put them on the right path toward lakeshore protection.

“There are so many different people that take care of this area,” said Todd Cashin of community services at RDCO. “From local and provincial governments to Indigenous organizations. This is a step toward bringing all those working people together, face to face, and talking about collaborative issues.”

“These concerns arise when issues like water laws, fisheries, RCMP issues, on the lakeshore need addressing and there are so many different processes to jump through. We don’t want anything to fall through the cracks,” Cashin said.

RELATED: First Nations in Okanagan seek to protect environment heritage

Multiple government and non-government agencies have different laws and traditions when it comes to the care of the Okanagan’s most diverse environments.

Local groups involved in the collaboration, Okanagan Nation Alliance (ONA) and the Okanagan Collaborative Conservation Program (OCCP), emphasize some areas where more collaboration is imperative.

The ONA details the protection of land and resources in the Okanagan area, with water being the most discussed resource and how the water in the area is affected by various provincial, federal, and Indigenous laws.

RELATED: First Things First Okanagan speaker explores climate change and B.C. wildfires

The OCCP sets conservation effects on lands such as the Okanagan basin, and collaborates with other organizations including the City of Kelowna and BC Hydro to protect the most diverse areas in the Okanagan and the “at risk” species who inhabit it.

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