Environment Canada is funding two years of wetland restoration and rehabilitation in the Okanagan.
Together, the Okanagan Basin Water Board (OBWB) and Okanagan Nation Alliance (ONA) announced $100,000 funded by Environment Canada for Phase 2 of the Okanagan Wetlands Strategy and significant work by the ONA.
Phase 1 was focused on data collected, public outreach, prioritization, and mapping Okanagan wetlands, but Phase 2 is taking a more hands-on approach. In Phase 2, organizers are planning to complete six different projects, with three finished by March 31, 2015 and the other three by March 31, 2016.
Fascieux Creek Wetland, the site for the major wetlands announcement. (Photo Credit: KelownaNow)
Environment Canada has given OBWB $50,000 for the two-year project management, and another $50,000 was given to ONA for both ONA-specific wetland projects and projects in collaboration with OBWB. Some of the work by the ONA will involve supporting the Western Painted Turtle on the Penticton Indian Reserve near Penticton's airport.
“The Okanagan People have a strong relationship with the water,” said Penticton Indian Band Chief Jonathan Kruger. “Protecting and enhancing wetlands is vital to maintaining that relationship. This project is part of the larger water strategy for the Nation and it is through partnerships like this and collaboration that we will continue to move forward to ensure there is water for tomorrow.”
“Wetlands, once considered a nuisance and a waste of valuable land, are an important part of our community," said OBWB Chair Doug Findlater. More than 85 per cent of the Okanagan's wetlands and natural riparian areas are no longer there and other areas are still at risk.
The team behind the wetlands projects: L to R Chief Jonathan Kruger, Project Manager Jillian Tamblyn, Kelowna-Lake Country MP Ron Cannan,OBWB Water Stewardship Director Nelson Jatel, and West Kelowna mayor/OBWB Chair Doug Findlater. (Photo Credit: KelownaNow)