Working together to Keep Nature in our Future.

South Okanagan-Similkameen
Conservation Program

Resources for planners

SOSCP is committed to influencing sustainable and responsible use of land through establishing a community of practice, sharing ideas and professional development, expertise, and capacity building.

Local Government Ecological Standards Capacity Building Initiative

In 2009 SOSCP established a regional environmental planning roundtable that encourages information sharing and developing regionally consistent approaches to land use that are responsive to the needs of communities. Through this collaborative process, SOSCP and local government partners have embarked on a capacity building strategy to garner technical and planning support.

Matching support by local governments and SOSCP partners and funders has created the contract position of a shared Environmental Planner. Local government partners work together to guide the activities of the shared environmental planner and manage the project details. Alison Peatt, RPBio, works to provide environmental advice and support to all the rural electoral areas and municipalities in the Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen.

If you are a local government planner that requires environmental advice or support, please contact Alison Peatt at 250-809-2609, or

Here’s what our local government partners are saying about the collaborative effort:

“What makes the South Okanagan distinctive is that several local governments have pooled our resources to share the services of an environmental planner. This has resulted in consistency and a ‘made in the South Okanagan’ approach to a proven planning tool.”

Tom SzalayFormer Chief Administrative Officer with the Town of Oliver

“Almost 2,000 hectares of land have this permit designation which allows for careful consideration of ecological values during the development application and approval process. This is the culmination of 10 months of cooperation, learning and sharing resources.”

Don DeGagneFormer District of Summerland Chief Administrative Officer

“We would never have accomplished our OCP work without the support and leveraging of this partnership. The highlight of this project is my new understanding of the uniqueness, sensitivity and importance of the natural environment of the South Okanagan.”

Ian McIntoshFormer District of Summerland, Manager of Development Services

Information resources for planners

British Columbia government agencies and conservation organizations have worked together to produce the following on-line publications for planners and developers.

Green Bylaws Toolkit for Conserving Sensitive Ecosystems and Green Infrastructure  

A comprehensive document designed to provide municipal and regional governments with practical tools for protecting the green infrastructure within their jurisdictions. The toolkit contains examples of bylaw provisions for Regional Growth Strategies, Official Community Plans, Development Permit Areas, zoning, tax exemptions, environmental assessment, stormwater management and other regulatory tools.

The toolkit is available to municipal and regional districts free of charge in pdf, printed, or CD format.

Develop with Care 2014: Environmental Guidelines for Urban and Rural Land Development in British Columbia  
This document has been prepared for use by local government planners, the development community, and others as a comprehensive guide to maintaining environmental values during the development of urban and rural lands. It sets out the program priorities of the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, the Ministry of Environment, and other provincial and federal agencies, promoting ways to retain and create environmental function and resilience as communities grow. It features information on ‘green’ alternatives to typical urban development, riparian protection, climate change, Environmentally Valuable Resources, terms of reference for conducting biological inventories, checklists for streamlining review processes, and much more.

Special guidelines for our region can be found here: Linked Document

Environmental Best Management Practices: An annotated bibliography and searchable database.

An easily accessible and searchable bibliography and database of existing information sources that provide guidance on how to manage for a wide range of environmental values – practices termed ‘best management practices’.

Species at Risk and Local Government: a primer for local government

Information about BC species at risk is searchable by regional district. This web site will help you  learn about species at risk and the threats they face, which species at risk are in your area, how to search for species at risk by name or ecosystem type, and learn how local governments can manage for species at risk.

Wetland Ways: Interim Guidelines for Wetland Protection and Conservation in BC

Written primarily for people who are planning development near wetlands, as well as those looking for guidance on ways to best maintain the high ecological values in these areas. Wetlands are integral to the functioning of many BCs ecosystems. They also provide people with a wide range of beneficial services, from flood control and water supply to recreational opportunities. Often, these services are unrecognized and undervalued, leading to the loss or impairment of wetlands—and thus the services they had provided are either costly or impossible to replace.

The vision of SOSCP is to maintain a healthy environment that sustains the diversity of indigenous plants and animals while enriching people’s lives. The six broad strategic objectives that guide SOSCP activities are:

SOSCP recognizes that decisions, policies and practices are important to ecological conservation and works to provide the tools and guidance needed to make sustainable planning choices.

Sustainable Land Use Planning

Supporting the acquisition of key habitats includes purchases, covenants or donations of private land, often in conjunction with enhanced protection of Crown lands. Securement activities include restoration, care, and management of these important areas.

Securing Key Habitats

SOSCP promotes stewardship activities and encourages landowners to protect biodiversity, enhance habitat for plants and wildlife, and manage lands sustainably.

Enhancing Stewardship on Public and Private Land

Involving communities in conservation is essential. SOSCP support professional development workshops, school programs, festivals and outdoor seminars that foster a love and understanding of our natural environment.

Expanding Community Involvement

SOSCP is committed to using a science-based approach to guide actions and decision-making, and to promote and facilitate further scientific research for species and ecosystems at risk.

Applying a Science-Based Approach

The En'owkin Centre continues its work to recover, revitalize and perpetuate Syilx Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) so it can be applied throughout traditional Syilx territory.

Applying Traditional Ecological Knowledge

South Okanagan Similkameen Conservation Program