Conservation projects across British Columbia are getting a $9.2 million funding boost courtesy of the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation (HCFT), benefiting some 180 different wildlife, freshwater fish and habitat projects around the province.
“This is no small feat,” said HCFT CEO Dan Buffett. “It reflects a diversity of funding from our core contributors — hunters, anglers, trappers and guides — court awards, provincial government contributions and endowments, and our partners such as the Forest Enhancement Society of BC (FESBC).”
By working alongside groups such as the FESBC, HCTF is able to support projects like the Ministry of Forests, Land Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development’s study of grizzly bear mortality in the Kootenays.
This particular projects builds upon a large base of research in order to provide recommendations on how to best tackle conservation-related concerns in a region with one of the highest rates of grizzly bear mortality resulting from humans in all of B.C.
Clayton Lamb heads up this project, and works with researchers and local authorities in the Elk Valley in order to track bear populations and implement precautionary measures to help limit human-bear conflicts.
“Our project blends scientific rigour and a large group of collaborators to achieve on-the-ground conservation for grizzly bears and the people who coexist with them. Through HCTF and FESBC’s funding, we have been successful in monitoring over 50 grizzly bears in south eastern BC,” Lamb said.
So far, the project has accomplished several important conservation objectives, such as removing uncontrolled roadkill dumping sites near communities wear bears were feeding, breaking ground on overpasses on Highway 3 near Fernie that will serve to limit instances of roadkill and reducing resource road densities throughout the Elk Valley.
Some other current projects funded by the HCTF in the Kootenays include $68,000 dedicated to invasive species management and forage improvement for bighorn sheep and mule and white-tailed deer ranges.
The Bull River bighorn sheep population saw their habitat enhanced and connectivity improved with $122,800 of funding.
A further $147,500 went to supporting the Kootenay Region River Guardian Program. This provides a compliance presence, collects angler survey data and educates the public about sport fish populations throughout the region.
Steve Kozuki, executive director for FESBC said he is “thrilled to partner with the trusted and respected Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation to improve wildlife habitat.”
“With their first-in-class management of funds and projects by talented and professional staff, we know that we are maximizing benefits for wildlife in British Columbia.”
HCFT employs a multi-level, objective technical review process to assess each project that receives their funding, as well as requiring finally review and approval from the board of directors.
HCTF’s board makes sure species critical to BC anglers and hunters are supported but also place a great deal of importance on conserving entire ecosystems, species at risk, and investing in environmental education throughout the province.
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