Kootenay Lake Stewardship
The Friends of Kootenay Lake project was developed based on the successes of Wildsight’s Lake Windermere Ambassadors program, which has been well regarded for its innovative approaches to complex water stewardship and community engagement challenges.
This grant allowed West Kootenay EcoSociety to partner with Wildsight on a community engagement program that dovetailed with the Kootenay Lake Partnership's shoreline planning and policy process. They have made impressive progress toward their collective goals for the Kootenay Lake area through sound research, public engagement and education. Project milestones included:
- Community survey and findings on public perceptions on lake use and health, and priority areas for education;
- Extensive outreach and education through workshops (like the Lake Summit, which had 105 participants who identified 104 stewardship projects), meetings, events, training sessions and media reports;
- Development and completion of two years of a three-year citizen water-monitoring program (which collected over 5,100 data points);
- Coordination with the Kootenay Lake Partnership in Foreshore Inventory Mapping;
- Cooperation with the Yaqan Nukiy (Lower Kootenay Band) on the Kootenay Lake Partnership’s draft Shoreline Guidance Document;
- A five-year Strategic Plan (2012-2016) for the future of the program.
Although it is still in early stages compared to the Lake Windermere Ambassadors program, the Kootenay Lake initiative is well planned and growing in capacity. Notably, there is growing involvement in the West Kootenays between the Kootenay Lake Partnership and First Nations. This is an exciting process which sees meaningful participation and leadership by First Nations in designing a joint process that is consensus-based and politically supported.