Columbia Valley2024-07-15T17:31:28-06:00

Local Conservation Fund

Columbia Valley

The first of its kind in Canada—this fund supports conservation in the Columbia Valley.

We partner with the Regional District of East Kootenay (RDEK) to support funding for projects in rural areas and municipalities in the Columbia Valley, between Spillamacheen and Canal Flats. The purpose of this funding is to support projects that will contribute to conservation of our natural areas. Since 2010, this fund has invested over $2.8 million into priority local conservation projects in the Columbia Valley.

To learn more about accomplishments and benefits to date, read our latest summary report

Current Intake

General project intake is now closed. Applications for 2025 projects will open at the end of August 2024.

Are you a land trust applying for a land acquisition or covenant project?

Due to time sensitivity of securement projects, these applications are accepted on an ongoing basis. Please contact us for details.

How To Apply

What Types of Projects Are Funded?

Conservation projects are eligible to receive funding if they are:

  • Located in the Fund Service Area;

  • Able to address a known threat to biodiversity;

  • Technically sound and effective;

  • Not the existing obligation or responsibility of the federal, provincial or local governments;

  • Are an eligible activity as outlined in the Terms of Reference.

Priority is given to projects that demonstrate partnerships with other funders.

Who Can Apply?

Applications are accepted from the following:

  • Registered non-profit organizations;
  • First Nations;
  • Local governments.

Other groups or organizations may partner with one of the qualified groups listed above.

Photo credit: Kendal Benesh

Photo credit: Joel Pelletier

How Are Projects Selected?

A Technical Review Committee reviews project proposals and makes recommendations to the RDEK for final funding approval. The framework for the Technical Review is based on the International Union of the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) classification of direct threats.

Curious About Previously Funded Projects?

Projects funded between 2010 to 2023 are listed here.

Learn more details about previous projects by visiting their profiles: a snapshot into the what and why of each.

The Full Story

The Columbia Valley Local Conservation Fund was the first of its kind in Canada.

In 2005, we saw an opportunity to establish conservation funds similar to funds being established throughout the United States. At the time, it was unclear whether these types of funds could be established in Canada and, if so, what the available political processes were.

A Vote For Conservation

We conducted polling at two different times during the establishment process, and held several focus groups. This research helped select the fund service area.

The original goal was to have all municipalities and Electoral Areas in the RDEK participate in the service. However, the conservation fund idea only received support from the upper Columbia Valley subregion of the RDEK. Residents wanted the opportunity to vote on the initiative by an assent vote (referendum), which was held in conjunction with a general election in 2008. Property owners in the service area voted in favour to pay a parcel tax of 5¢ per $1,000 of taxable assessed value, up to a maximum of $230,000 annually, which works out to about $20 per parcel.

The Impact

From 2010 to 2023, the Columbia Valley Local Conservation Fund approved 120 grants totalling over $2.8 million, including ecosystem restoration, invasive species control, lake management, water quality monitoring, and a pilot ecological services project. This local investment has leveraged nearly nine times that amount in additional grants and in-kind contributions.

The Columbia Valley Local Conservation Fund was a 2013 Public Sector Finalist in the Real Estate Foundation of BC Land Awards and the RDEK Columbia Valley Directors Directors won the Species and Ecosystems at Risk Local Government Working Group Peer-Nominated Award for 2017 for their role in the establishment and continuation of the Columbia Valley Local Conservation Fund.

This fund was the first, but not the last.
Get to know other areas in the Kootenays with a dedicated fund for conservation.

Interested in applying?
Contact us.

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