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Friends of Kootenay Lake are seeking more friends

The Friends of Kootenay Lake are seeking more friends, more funding. Photo by Kasha Ferguson

For the Advance

A non-profit stewardship group dedicated to preserving the ecosystem health and well-being of Kootenay Lake is seeking public support to continue its work.

The Friends of Kootenay Lake Society (FoKLSS) has spent the last decade engaging communities and educating the public through research and restoration projects. Along with its volunteers and members, FoKLSS has relied on grants. But environmental funding has been hard to find lately leading the group to appeal to communities and residents to help make up the difference.

This funding shortage couldn’t come at a worse time according to Dr. Martin Carver Chair of the FoKLSS Board.

“This is a critical time for us all. We are facing the challenges of a changing climate and we need to work together as communities to build consensus and creatively solve problems to protect our lake and the livelihoods it supports.”

According to Carver the FoKLSS plays a unique role in working directly with communities around Kootenay Lake to ensure their opinions and perspectives are considered by the many governments and utilities who make decisions affecting the lake.

“We coordinate grants for science-based monitoring and restoration that bring together stakeholders and specialists (such as scientists and ecologists) in response to citizens’ concerns. If FoKLSS were to go, we’d lose this local advocate role for the lake. Also, our team would no longer be there to offer educational programs, for beach clean-ups, and for other activities, especially for our children and visitors.”

“We really do not know what would happen to our long-standing osprey and watershed monitoring programs, our training programs and our shore-spawning-kokanee program,” Gwen Dell’Anno, the FoKLSS Executive Director “We are keen to take on a number of future major restoration programs – the Wetlands at Crawford Bay and the next phase of the Harrop Wetland restoration at Sunshine Bay especially come to mind.”

The story of a well-established non-profit calling out urgently for donor support is not an unfamiliar one in B.C. FoKLSS funding comes primarily from grants and most of these are tied to individual projects. Every year FoKLSS faces uncertainty around the success of its grant applications. This means waiting for months for answers while struggling to pay the staff who develop the projects and assist with FoKLSS activities. FoKLSS has experienced a recent decline in the availability of grants for its key work with painful consequences for cash flow.

There may be little local citizens can do to challenge the uncertainties of voluntary sector funding. Chipping in now would help FoKLSS continue its work. But crucially, it would provide the time needed to participate in the next round of grant applications for projects that are vital for the well-being of the Lake.

You can donate at or directly through the website: website