Strategic Priorities

Columbia Basin Trust exists to support the efforts of the people of the Columbia Basin to create a legacy of social, economic and environmental well-being.

We take our lead from the people of the Basin. In 2020 six priorities were developed to guide how the Trust would focus its efforts. For the next two years we will work on these six priorities, while continuing to respond to emerging issues in the region and pursuing our existing work in social, economic and environmental initiatives.

The six strategic priorities, outlined below, also include two integrated priorities—climate resilience and working with Indigenous peoples—to be incorporated by the Trust in its work in the Basin.

Download the Columbia Basin Management Plan Strategic Priorities 2020-2022 or view each section below.

To the people of the Basin,

We are pleased to share with you the strategic plan that will guide how the Trust supports your efforts to strengthen social, economic and environmental well-being in the Basin over the next two years.

The Trust is guided by your input, and during these challenging times, we appreciate that so many people found the time to share their thoughts and perspectives with us as we developed this plan – thank you.

We look forward to addressing the priorities set out in this plan, in collaboration with residents and communities.

It must be acknowledged that circumstances in the Basin will change and evolve over the next two years, both in ways we can and cannot predict. We commit to communicating with you, and to being flexible and responsive to the needs of Basin communities as we implement the plan. We very much hope that you provide us feedback on our progress, and offer advice on how we can best deliver benefits to this region.

This year is the Trust’s 25th anniversary and while aspects of 2020 have been challenging for all of us, the Basin has accomplished so much. While global challenges such as the COVID-19 pandemic or climate change seem daunting or insurmountable at times, working alongside people in the Basin reminds us of our collective strength and capacity to affect meaningful change together.

Your efforts over the last 25 years have made the Basin a better place to live, work and play. With cooperation, care for this place and all of its people, we’ll continue to support the vibrancy and well-being for present and future generations.

Thank you.

Columbia Basin Trust is governed by the Columbia Basin Trust Act and our work is guided by the Columbia Basin Management Plan, which includes:

  • Charter: an enduring document that outlines our values and vision and guides the organization’s work. View it here.
  • Strategic Plan: this document outlines priorities and where the Trust will focus our efforts to support communities.
  • Manage our assets for the ongoing economic, environmental and social benefit of the region, without relieving governments of any obligations in the region;
  • Include the people of the Basin in planning for the management of the assets; and
  • Work with others to coordinate activities related to the purpose of the Trust.

The Trust supports efforts by the people of the Basin to create a legacy of social, economic, and environmental well-being and to achieve greater self-sufficiency for present and future generations.

The Trust serves the region consisting of all the watersheds that flow into the Columbia River in Canada and operates in the traditional territories of the Ktunaxa, Lheidli T’enneh, Secwepemc, Sinixt and Syilx Nations. This region is also home to six Métis Nation BC Chartered Communities.

The diverse cultures, histories, knowledge and governance systems of Indigenous Peoples are integral parts of life in the Basin. The Trust respects the deep relationship Indigenous Peoples in this region have to the land and resources, and recognizes their important historical and contemporary presence.

View the full map here.

Given the significant and evolving impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Trust developed this short-term plan for 2020-2022.

Basin residents care deeply about the environment and the impacts of climate change. Climate change is a complex issue that will continue to intensify without collective, coordinated efforts from all levels of society locally and globally. Recognizing that changes in environmental conditions affect all facets of life, the Trust will apply climate resilience considerations in delivering on this plan.

Some of the priorities in the plan are broad. The Trust will work with Basin residents to develop specific approaches to achieving the priorities and will share progress updates with Basin residents.

Throughout the term of this plan, the Trust will continue to fulfill its Mission to foster the social, economic and environmental well-being of the Basin. The strategic priorities identified in this plan will be a focus for new programming and initiatives for the 2020-2022 time period. In addition, many other existing supports will continue to be available consistent with this broader Mission.

In addition to the values outlined in the Trust’s Charter and for the duration of this plan, the Trust will be guided by the following principles:

Flexible: Recognizing that needs for support in the Basin are diverse, and that communities are unique, the Trust’s approach will be flexible, with varying levels of support as required.

Focused: The Trust’s efforts will be focused to maximize impact in areas identified as priorities in the Basin

Respectful: The Trust treats people with respect, honouring the rich and diverse cultures in the Basin and recognizing Indigenous rights, presence and importance.

Responsive: The Trust recognizes the changing landscape in the Basin and beyond and will remain adaptive and agile in supporting emerging issues.

Value Added: As the Basin’s needs will be significant, Trust support will not displace any level of government support, nor decrease the likelihood of support from other sources to address Basin needs.

Over the next two years we will focus on the following six strategic priorities: community well-being, ecosystem enhancement, high-speed connectivity, housing, local food production and access, and support for business renewal. In addition, the integrated priorities of climate resilience and working with Indigenous Peoples will be incorporated throughout the Trust’s work in the Basin.

Enable communities to achieve their unique aspirations with flexible and proactive support from the Trust.


  • Provide guidance and access to resources for communities that seek in-depth support to realize their aspirations.
  • Support communities as they develop ideas and secure funding for their projects.
  • Enhance trails, public gathering spaces and other outdoor recreation and cultural venues.
  • Strengthen community-serving non- profits’ access to resources, guidance, technology and overall sustainability.
  • Further enable community-serving organizations to address challenges including poverty, isolation or marginalization.
  • Provide opportunities and amenities for youth and seniors.
  • Increase energy efficiency and sustainability in community buildings.
  • Support exposure to and participation in arts, culture and heritage.

Desired Outcomes

  • Communities realize their aspirations, and see their well-being enhanced.
  • Communities proactively identify and develop project ideas and are successful in securing project funding.
  • Communities have a range of assets that enhance the quality of life for their residents and visitors.
  • Communities have access to credible information and education on climate change and the natural environment.
  • The non-profit sector is meeting community needs.
  • Vulnerable or potentially vulnerable populations have access to support.
  • Youth are engaged and are connected to each other and the community.
  • Communities have access to diverse arts, culture, and heritage opportunities.

Maintain and improve ecological health and native biodiversity in a variety of ecosystems.


  • Identify projects focused on enhancement, restoration and conservation by seeking input from community groups, First Nations representatives and government experts.
  • Support the climate change resiliency of ecosystems.
  • Identify projects that create local employment opportunities.
  • Support projects that contribute to healthy, functioning ecosystems into the future.
  • Support community organizations to identify and secure funding for projects from other sources including governments.
  • Support projects to undertake longer term monitoring.

Desired Outcomes

  • Ecosystem health in the Basin is measurably improved.
  • Community organizations are sharing best practices related to ecosystem enhancement.
  • Ecosystems are more resilient to changing climatic conditions.
  • Local jobs are created.
  • Sustainable, long-term monitoring is in place.
  • Ecosystems are enhanced and restored for a range of community values and uses.
  • There is an increase in terrestrial and aquatic habitat area restored, conserved or enhanced.
  • Further establishment of invasive species is prevented or reduced.

Increase reliable, affordable, high-speed connectivity in the Basin with an emphasis on underserved rural areas.


  • Expand the physical fibre optic network.
  • Increase usage of the existing network.
  • Obtain grants from other entities such as provincial or federal governments.

Desired Outcomes

  • The Trust’s fibre optic network is expanded to underserved areas.
  • Rural Internet service providers are supported in providing high quality and affordable services.
  • There is increased connection to fibre from both residential and commercial users.
  • Explore partnerships to develop last mile networks in Basin communities.
  • The Trust and its partners are prepared to quickly take advantage of funding opportunities from provincial and federal governments

Increase housing stock to help address availability and affordability of housing in the Basin.


  • Work along the housing continuum to provide and maintain affordable housing options.
  • Support efforts to address local and regional housing priorities.
  • Pursue funding opportunities, including provincial and federal, private sector and non-profit sector opportunities.
  • Increase energy efficiency in upgraded and new housing.

Desired Outcomes

  • The number of new affordable rental units is increased.
  • Existing affordable housing stock is retained, repaired and more energy efficient.
  • Housing entities are prepared to take advantage of available funding opportunities.
  • Opportunities for affordable home ownership are realized.

Increase Basin residents’ access to foods that are locally produced and processed.


  • Support local food production and producers.
  • Explore value-added food processing.
  • Increase market access.
  • Support climate resilience strategies for local food production.
  • Reduce food waste.

Desired Outcomes

  • Basin residents have access to locally grown, healthy food.
  • Regional and/or community food distribution partnerships are explored.
  • Connections are explored between food producers and community food access organizations.
  • Existing food producers are supported to grow and market their products.
  • Opportunities exist for new entrants to primary production and/or community-based agriculture to meet local food demand.
  • Food waste is significantly reduced.

Businesses are resilient to recent challenges, able to adapt, expand their operations and employ Basin residents.


  • Small businesses are resilient and adaptable.
  • Businesses have access to assessment and advice for increased efficiency or expansion.
  • Businesses have access to assessment or advice for reducing GHG emissions and energy use.
  • Businesses maintain and create jobs.
  • Businesses have access to capital.
  • Basin residents have skills and training for available jobs.
  • New graduates have opportunities to gain employment experience in their field.

Desired Outcomes

  • Businesses survive and adapt to changes brought about by COVID-19.
  • Communities support Basin businesses by buying local goods and services.
  • Businesses retain current staff and have opportunity to create new jobs.
  • Businesses have continued access to capital required to conduct their business.
  • Basin residents have access to safe and affordable child care to enable their employment.
  • Basin residents have access to employment training.
  • Businesses have access to credible, science-based information on climate change to guide decisions and action.

View highlights of our 13 priorities from 2016-2020