Kootenay Connect Priority Places

A science-based initiative designed to sustain and connect exceptional places of biodiversity across Kootenay landscapes.

A Whole Landscape Approach

Kootenay Connect Priority Places works with local partners to enhance, restore and manage large dry forest and riparian and wetland complexes to support the recovery of federally-listed species and species of local concern.

By focusing on habitat conservation, enhancement and connectivity within and between valley bottoms and mountain ranges, this initiative brings a whole landscape approach to strategically address habitat loss, degradation and fragmentation—especially in light of increasing human development and climate change.

Our Role

As the lead coordinator for Kootenay Connect Priority Places, we actively support a team of over 35 partners and specialists to enhance and restore habitat across the Kootenays.

How Do We Do This?

  • We hold a science-based vision for connectivity across the Kootenays.

  • We help secure multi-year funding to advance connectivity conservation.

  • We work with diverse partners to address conservation opportunities and threats and to share innovative solutions across Kootenay Connect’s focal landscapes.

  • We provide technical and scientific support to ensure the best information and GIS capacity is available to partners.

  • We share results and lessons learned with our project partners, the larger conservation community, and the public.


In 2019, a report by Dr. Michael Proctor and Marcy Mahr inspired us to take a landscape-level approach. This analysis identified a regional network of 12 ecological corridors across the Kootenays that connect valley bottom riparian-wetland complexes with surrounding uplands. While intact, these corridors conserve wildlife movement, at-risk species, and ecological functions in a changing climate.

This analysis kickstarted a new initiative—Kootenay Connect—to collaboratively stitch together important habitats, biodiversity hotspots, protected areas and climate refugia across the Kootenay region. This regional framework aims to identify and conserve ecological connectivity—offering a landscape context that existing conservation efforts can contribute to, as well as a catalyst for new projects.

Kootenay Connect Priority Places is nested within this framework and blends the best available science, local and Indigenous knowledge, and community-based approaches to promote collaborative action.

Focal Areas

Grizzly bear corridor identification, riparian-wetlands mapping, biodiversity hotspots, climate change resilience modelling, and expert opinions—these inputs all played an important role in identifying 12 key connectivity areas across the Kootenays.

Kootenay Connect Priority Places is currently active in seven out of the 12 areas. These seven areas encompass 1,660,000 hectares and are linked by a variety of habitat types that contain rich biological diversity, multiple species at risk, and potential climate change refugia.

Highlights By Area

Interested in what has been done in each of the focal areas? Click on a region below.

Photo credit: Michele Halleran

Species At Risk

To help sustain biodiversity across the region, Kootenay Connect uses a multi-species, habitat-based approach to provide for the needs of species at risk and assist their recovery.

Wildlife Corridor Science

Identifying and enhancing ecological connectivity and habitat networks in the Kootenays is a cornerstone of Kootenay Connect.

Photo credit: Nature Trust BC

Media & More

Learn what other people are saying about Kootenay Connect.


Kootenay Connect is possible thanks to generous support from our funders. This initiative is a Community-Nominated Priority Places project funded by a federal Canada Nature Fund grant issued by Environment and Climate Change Canada. We also receive significant local partner funding.

Kootenay Connect is just one of our many initiatives. Learn more about how we support conservation in the Kootenays.

Have questions?
Contact us.