Okanagan Water Forum: From Knowledge to Forward Thinking
The final part of the RBC Blue Water project funding was the development and execution of the Okanagan Water Forum: From Knowledge to Forward Thinking, held on October 14, 2015, at the Four Points by Sheraton, in Kelowna BC. The Okanagan Water Forum successfully brought together Okanagan Nation leaders and representatives, along with regional water stakeholders in an effort to build partnerships, and create actionable solutions in regards to water management in the Okanagan.
The key purposes of the Okanagan Water Forum included:
- Share the Syilx perspective and values on water
- Develop partnerships with ONA and member communities internally and with outside agencies, explore how we might work together for a better, more resilient water future
- Opportunities for innovations and adaptations by connecting traditional knowledge and science
- Collaboration with the key water leaders in the Okanagan Nation Territory to ensure water and food security within the region
- Continued water conservation and restoration of riparian and fish habitat
Over 200 external regional water leaders and stakeholders were invited to the event, including all regional MPs, MLAs, mayors, regional district directors, NGO leaders, academics, scientists and other invested parties.
Internally, a total of 60 Syilx representatives were invited, including youth, NRC members, Chiefs Executive Council, band representatives and particular ONA staff.
Sustaining Our Headwaters Forum: From Knowledge to Forward Thinking
The Sustaining Our Headwaters Forum was co-sponsored and co-organized by Okanagan Nation Alliance (ONA) and the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary (RDKB). The Forum took place on April 19, 2016, at the Westbridge Community Hall, on the banks of the Kettle River, BC. Over 65 people were in attendance including Okanagan Nation band councillors, traditional knowledge keepers, Syilx elders, RDKB representatives, along with regional water leaders, youth from around the region, and other concerned citizens.
At the core of the Forum was a shared concern for how water is managed and recognized in the region and how we may build partnerships to protect/restore function to Okanagan and Kettle River Watersheds.
The afternoon gathering was initiated by five technical presentations including:
- Regional fish habitat and challenges faced
- Riparian restoration options
- Headwaters development impacts on wildlife and conservation corridors
- Addressing cumulative effects forestry, range, & roads
- Range barriers for cattle and off-road vehicles on small streams