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British Columbia Conservation Foundation (BCCF) is excited to announce that $12,200 has been awarded to two community organizations in the West Kootenays and the Columbia Valley. This funding is available through BC Conservation Foundation’s Small Projects Fund, a granting program that is available to organizations committed to executing a small project to educate, protect and/or enhance fish and wildlife populations and habitat in British Columbia. Eligible groups include fish and wildlife clubs, community stewardship groups, First Nations and public entities.

(1) Lake Windermere Ambassadors Society (LWAS), a registered charity that operates in the Columbia Valley, directs a community-based water monitoring and freshwater education program to monitor water quality and species, identifies stressors to freshwater environments, encourages stewardship action and determines essential restoration activities.

$10,000 in funding from BC Conservation Foundation will help fund a study entitled “Baseline Native Mussel Study for the Headwater Lakes Monitoring and Education: Lake Windermere Project,” that seeks to understand why the population of freshwater mussels is declining in Lake Windermere. The lack of mussels is especially concerning, as the lake was thought to have some of the best conditions for their survival. The study will highlight specific locations that provide critical habitat, and will use the information to inform future stewardship and restoration activities.

The project is endorsed by

  • The District of Invermere.
  • The Columbia Lake Stewardship Society
  • The Shuswap Indian Band

(2) Christina Lake Stewardship Society (CLSS) is a registered charity that has been operating in the West Kootenays since 1998. CLSS has been involved in a wide variety of projects including water quality and invasive species monitoring, youth education and community outreach.

$2,200 in funding from BC Conservation Foundation will support CLSS in updating and creating new displays in their visitors gallery. The first display will be a measuring wall. In this display, visitors will be able to measure their height in comparison to actual-size common wildlife species that make their home in the Christina Lake Watershed, including white-tailed deer, coyotes, the American beaver, the black bear, and Rocky Mountain Elk.

The second display is a Wild Wall that will allow visitors to spin cubes suspended on five columns of vertical rods. The challenge for visitors is to match the content on the cubes in order to form the correct row of facts on a given species that lives in the Christina Lake Watershed.

The project is endorsed by

  • The Christina Gateway Community Development Association

John Shepherd (Chair) - BC Conservation Foundation

“We are excited to be able to support these two organizations and their commitment to protecting British Columbia’s fish and wildlife populations and habitat”

“The Small Projects Fund is a valuable grant program for interested non-profits, First Nations, fish and wildlife clubs, or local governments to receive funding for a project that will benefit British Columbia’s fish and wildlife populations and habitat.”

“The conservation of our local mussel populations is a priority and the research conducted by the Lake Windermere Ambassadors will be key in understanding how to protect it.”

“We believe that the new interactive displays in the Christina Lake Stewardship Society's visitors gallery will help to educate and inspire visitors about the importance of the fauna in the West Kootenays.”

“For the past 50 years, The Small Projects Fund has been providing funds for projects like this. We are excited to continue this legacy and support these two organizations as part of our shared vision of a well-stewarded and sustainable province.”

Taoya Schaefer (Chair) - Lake Windermere Ambassadors

“We are excited to receive funding from BC Conservation Foundation to support this important project.”

“We believe this project on Lake WIndermere will go a long way to answering the question about what is happening to our native mussel population.”

“By investigating the cause of declining mussel populations, we can develop solutions that will ensure that this species is preserved for future generations.”

“Investing in research to understand the mussel population decline is an important step towards preserving the health of our lake.”

Lyra Tuck (Stewardship Coordinator) - Christina Lake Stewardship Society

“Funding from BC Conservation Foundation will help us update the Interpretive Gallery for West Kootenay residents and visitors alike.”

“The Christina Lake Stewardship Society has been serving the needs of West Kootenay residents since 1998, and as a non-profit since 2001.”

“We are excited to see a much-needed update to our visitors gallery.”

“The updated display in the visitors gallery for Christina Lake Stewardship Society will be a valuable tool to teach future generations about the wildlife species that share our home.”