The Lake Windermere Ambassadors will be spending their cut of the money to increase public awareness of the Columbia Headwaters watershed.
Because the Columbia Valley houses the starting point of the Columbia Basin, anything that enters the water will affect the entire Columbia River, which is why local waters are especially for the Columbia Basin Trust important to protect, Kirsten Harma said, Lake Windermere Ambassadors program co-ordinator.
“Their funding will help us deliver education… through articles in the newspaper, working with area youth on education and clean-up activities, hosting water-related presentations by experts, and taking watershed stakeholders on tours of the watershed,” she said. “Increasing knowledge about its values, functions, and vulnerabilities to thereby create an engaged citizenry capable of stewarding our watershed into the future.”
Ms. Harma is also a regular columnist in The Echo for the Lake Windermere Ambassadors, contributing fascinating articles about the health of the local environment.
Groundswell and the Lake Windermere Ambassadors are the only valley-based organizations with projects receiving funding this year, but many other Columbia Basin Trust-funded projects will benefit the valley through broader, regional projects.
That will include $25,000 for Wildsight’s Beyond Recycling project, which will aim to educate students through the East and West Kootenays about awareness and empowerment.
There will be another $25,000 supporting the Kootenay Community Bat Project’s citizen science roost monitoring, which is to educate Kootenay residents about bats and their habitats. The organization will be making as-requested visits to homeowners and offering outreach to many schools.
And $24,860 has been granted to help the BC Conservation Foundation with electric fencing for grizzly bears in areas of high mortalities, in addition to providing outreach and education to those with grizzly bear issues.
The Columbia Basin Trust doles out funding to communities most affected by the Columbia River Treaty. That treaty co-ordinates the benefits of hydroelectric energy and flood control among its Canadian and American users. Canada compromises its damming procedures in exchange for substantial amounts of environmentally-based grants.