Kootenay Conservation Program Stewardship Solutions online toolkit. (Photo courtesy of www.kootenayconservation.ca/KCPStewardship)

Kootenay Conservation Program develops free online tool to help communities

The Kootenay Conservation Program (KCP) has developed a free online tool to help communities care for their properties in ways that benefit wildlife, water and wild spaces.

The Stewardship Solutions online toolkit is a portal to a list of Kootenay-based services and programs that address stewardship issues on private land. These resources are broken up into 14 regions of the Kootenays, coined “Conservation Neighbourhoods”, that are identified on an interactive home page map. By clicking on your neighbourhood, you’re brought to the organizations that provide stewardship solutions in your particular area of the Kootenays, which can range from farm incentives, resources and habitat enhancement, restoration to fire prevention, invasive species control, water quality monitoring, wildlife reporting, free environmental farm planning, and more.

“The beauty of Stewardship Solutions is that all of the local and regional contact information is in one place,” said KCP stewardship co-ordinator Marcy Mahr. “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.”

The Creston-Purcells Conservation Neighbourhood lists up to 21 different services that private landowners and land managers can access to enhance conservation on their property and deal with common environmental land management issues. Stewardship Solutions for the Creston-Purcells is also available as a printed handout (copies are currently being distributed by KCP Partners) and as a downloadable PDF from the website.

Convenient symbols show which solutions relate to wildlife, habitat, monitoring, farms, ranches, and funding. Additional resources are available as a download.

“We identified in 2018 landowner outreach workshops that coordinated services for private landowners was a huge gap and something that people kept asking for,” said 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.”

The toolkit was designed as a one-stop-shop for anyone with an interest in conservation, including local government planners and stewardship practitioners, as well as private landowners and residents wanting stewardship options for their property.

“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.

Stewardship Solutions was made possible thanks to generous funding from Columbia Basin Trust, the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation, Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program and the Real Estate Foundation of British Columbia.

To access the online toolkit visit: www.kootenayconservation.ca/toolkit/.

The Kootenay Conservation Program is a broad partnership of over 80 organizations from across the Kootenays that works to conserve landscapes in order to sustain naturally functioning ecosystems. Learn more at www.kootenayconservation.ca.

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