Kelowna News

Reporting poachers, backwoods garbage dumpers made easy with B.C. Wildlife Federation phone app

FILE PHOTO - An area on the way to Postill Lake Resort had become a dumping ground of old electronics, furniture and more before the Okanagan Forest Task Force cleaned it up. The B.C. Wildlife Federation has launched a UBC Okanagan-designed app that makes it easier for outdoor enthusiasts to report infractions.

KELOWNA – The B.C. Wildlife Federation has launched a UBC Okanagan-designed app that makes it easier for outdoor enthusiasts to report infractions.

Users of the Conservation App use their cell phones to take geo-referenced, time-stamped photos or videos of poachers, illegal dumpers and those who drive vehicles where prohibited. Reports made through the app are sent to the Federation for review and then forwarded to the appropriate agency.

The app was created by the Spatial Information for Community Engagement Lab at UBC Okanagan at the same time a group of Kelowna locals started a volunteer task force to cleanup backwoods shooting ranges.

The Wildlife Federation says the app will increase the "ears and eyes" of enforcement agencies with up-to-date reports that could be used in investigations.

Support for this project was provided in part through the Okanagan Basin Water Board’s Water Conservation and Quality Improvement Grant Program and its public outreach and education program Okanagan WaterWise.

“We have seen an increasing number of issues in our backcountry, but also in the valley bottom, from ATVs and dirt-bikes being driven on dams and through wetlands, to dumping of household garbage in and near creeks, damage to riparian and fish habitat, and more," Corinne Jackson with the Okanagan Basin Water Board says. "These types of activities are hurting aquatic habitat and sensitive ecosystems. They are also happening in what are often sources of drinking water to local residents.

"We see this app and website as important tools in raising awareness and helping protect these areas," she says.

For more information or to download the app, visit the B.C. Wildlife Federation website.

A screenshot of a new app created at UBC Okanagan that allows users to report violations they see in the backcountry.
A screenshot of a new app created at UBC Okanagan that allows users to report violations they see in the backcountry.
Image Credit: bcwf.net

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