April 2022 Climate Change & Water Newsletter


Indigenous-led Conservation: The Klinse-Za Mountain Caribou Recovery

We shared a conversation with Naomi Owens-Beek, Saulteau First Nations member and Treaty Rights and Environmental Protection (TREP) Manager about the work of the Saulteau and West Moberly First Nations in the Klinse-Za mountain caribou recovery.

The cumulative disturbances of resource extraction and infrastructure development in BC brought the near extinction of the Klinse-Za caribou. For the Saulteau and West Moberly First Nations, the caribou had long sustained their culture, spirituality, and day-to-day living with food, medicine, clothing, and tools through the seasons. In the early 1970's, the Saulteau and West Moberly First Nations voluntarily halted their hunting and harvesting of caribou after observing the significant decline in caribou populations, under the guidance of Elders.

It was now time to help them.

A Klinse-Za mountain caribou. Retrieved from the Saulteau First Nations.

As short-term approaches to recuperate the declining populations, the Saulteau and West Moberly First Nations use predator management and maternal penning to protect the Klinse-Za cows and calves during the calving season. The long-term solution is to continue restoring and rehabilitating the lands where the Klinse-Za caribou reside. Together, the Saulteau and West Moberly First Nations created the Twin Sisters Native Plants Nursery. Members of the nursery harvest native plants, shrubs, trees, forbs, and grasses from soon-to-be-developed areas; dry and store native seeds; then, re-plants them to revive and remediate areas as closest to its natural state.

Owens-Beek says that one of the most important components to the long-term viability of the Klinse-Za mountain caribou is the Partnership Agreement between the Saulteau First Nations, West Moberly First Nations, BC, and Canada signed in 2020. Without this partnership, over 700,000 hectares of critical Klinse-Za habitats would not be under protection, and would strain the caribou's ability to make a recovery. Furthermore, activity applications within the Sustainable Resource Activity Areas of the protected lands will now be reviewed by the Caribou Recovery Committee, consisting of the Saulteau First Nations, West Moberly First Nations, BC, and Canada.

With the leading work of the Saulteau and West Moberly First Nations, the Klinse-Za mountain caribou population has recovered from a mere total of 38 in 2013 to 114 today. Without Indigenous knowledge, collaborative leadership, and their firm determination to take immediate action, the Klinse-Za caribou population would have continued to decline, and soon, have ceased to exist.


"It's just such a collaboration, I don't know how to separate [Western knowledge and Indigenous knowledge]. They are supporting each other. Like, when we found lichen for the caribou, that was all Indigenous knowledge. We wouldn't have known where to go without our Elders telling us where to go to collect lichen. It's a mesh of both, and I don't think we would be successful without either supporting each other."


Naomi Owens-Beek transporting a Klinse-Za cow in a skimmer (left). A Klinse-Za mountain caribou in the maternal pen during winter (right). Retrieved from the Saulteau First Nations.


Learn more about the Klinse-Za mountain caribou recovery through these resources:

The First Nations Leadership Council (FNLC) is pleased to announce the release of the BC First Nations Climate Strategy and Action Plan (the Strategy), timed to celebrate and honour Earth Day.

We are experiencing record-setting summer and winter temperatures, warming and rising oceans, droughts, wildfires, damaging storms, floods, and landslides, among other impacts. First Nations are disproportionately impacted. In recognition of the urgency and the need for immediate action, First Nations leadership in BC mandated the FNLC to develop a First Nations-led Climate Strategy and Action Plan.

The Strategy presents a vision, guiding principles, and priorities for climate action articulated by leadership and community members across the province. It is grounded in a First Nations climate lens. The strategy focuses on ensuring First Nations' inherent title, rights, and treaty rights are recognized and affirmed in climate action.

Four priority pathways guide the Strategy: Inherent Title and RightsCapacity and LeadershipLand and Water Protection; and Climate Response and Preparedness.

Read the BC First Nations Climate Strategy and Action Plan here.

Win Win Youth Award

WIN WIN Award | Nomination Period: Closes on April 30th

An international award that aims to empower and reward young people (between ages 13 and 29) who play an active role in the creating a more sustainable future. Applicants must have a past or ongoing project/work/initiative linked to the 2022 theme: Sustainable Aquaculture. The WIN WIN Youth Award winner will receive SEK (Swedish Krona) 50.000 at the WIN WIN Award ceremony in Gothenburg, Sweden.

Learn more and nominate someone for the Win Win Youth Award here.


The Gathering 2022

Indigenous Clean Energy (ICE) | Date: June 1 to June 2, 2022 in Ottawa, Ontario

The ICE Gathering is a national event that every year brings together Indigenous leaders in clean energy, experts and practitioners, partners, utilities, academics, and governments from across Canada to strengthen relationships and foster essential strategies to advance a clean energy transition.

Learn more here. Register for the ICE Gathering here.


CleanBC Plastics Action Plan

Clean BC | Engagement Timeline: April 22 to June 21, 2022

The Province is proposing a new regulation to reduce single-use and plastic waste by limiting or banning the use of certain single-use items.  BC is seeking input from residents, Indigenous communities, businesses, local governments, and organizations.

Learn the different ways to participate and provide your input here.


Natural Capital Virtual Workshop

Asset Management BC | Date: June 16, Thursday (9:30 AM to 12 PM)

A workshop exploring real live accounts and examples of how a small or medium community may respond to climate change-induced natural disasters as opposed to a large metropolis. The registration fee is $75 + GST.

Learn more through the Asset Management BC Website. Register here by June 9, 2022.

Clean Energy in Indigenous, Rural, and Remote Communities

Government of Canada | There is no deadline to apply. Applications are reviewed on an ongoing basis

This funding focuses on Indigenous, rural, and remote communities that use fossil fuels for heat or power and supports all project stages and a variety of technology types.

Learn more about the funding here. Request a form by email or submit a contact form here.


The Indigenous Climate Funding page lists federal funding programs available to support Indigenous climate action. There are filters on the left of the tables to help narrow your search.

Find available Indigenous Climate Funding here.


 2022 Community Outreach Incentive Program (COIP)

PlugInBC | Application Period: April 27 to May 25, 2002 at 5 pm.

COIP offers support and funding to B.C. communities, First Nations, organizations, and local governments to assist them in delivering local/regional Emotive Electrical Vehicle (EV) awareness campaigns that raise the awareness and profile of EVs in B.C

Learn more about this funding here. Contact information for questions: Michael Stanyer, mstanyer@fraserbasin.ca


CleanBC Communities Fund

CleanBC | Application Period: January 26, 2022 to May 25, 2022

The CleanBC Communities Fund provides provincial and federal funding for community infrastructure projects that reduce reliance on fossil fuels. The fund is open to local governments, Indigenous governments, not-for-profit organizations working in collaboration with Indigenous or local governments, and for-profit organizations working in collaboration with Indigenous or local governments.

Find more information about the CleanBC Communities Fund here.

The Minister of Natural Resources, the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson; and the Minister of Northern Affairs, the Honourable Daniel Vandal; and the Minister of Indigenous Services, the Honourable Patty Hajdu, announced $300 million toward capacity-building initiatives that communities can now apply for on the Clean Energy in Indigenous, Rural, and Remote Communities website.


A new study by UBC researchers studying 362 menus from Vancouver between 1880 and 2021 as a source to determine the effect of climate change on marine ecosystems.



Are you interested in making a submission for our BCAFN Climate Change & Water Newsletter?

Share your work!

BCAFN Climate Change & Water Community Leadership Initiative

What is it?

BCAFN's Climate Change & Water Community Leadership Initiative aims to help First Nations with their climate and water leadership through facilitating information sharing within communities. We invite First Nations to share their own unique stories about climate change and water-related work, including but not limited to land and water management, forestry, water security, food sovereignty, energy efficiency and clean energy, Indigenous rights, energy management and response,  Indigenous knowledge and First Nations laws. All accepted submissions will be featured one at a time in BCAFN's Climate Change and Water Newsletters. The chosen applicant(s) will be given an honorarium to further support their work: $150 will be awarded to the writer and $600 will be awarded towards the First Nations community.

How can I participate?

Submit an entry between 200 to 300 words, with 1-3 relevant photos, if possible. Please send your submissions to BCAFN's Regional Water Coordinator at sophia.iliopulos@bcafn.ca.


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