The Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation (HCTF) has announced over $8 million in funding for 167 fish and wildlife conservation projects across B.C. this year, with over $1.2M allocated to projects in the Kootenay region.
For over 40 years, the HCTF has provided grants to a large network of recipients who undertake conservation projects. With support from the HCTF, a wide range of nonprofit organizations, First Nations and Indigenous communities, provincial ministries, and community groups implement projects that protect B.C.’s wildlife, freshwater fish, and their habitats.
Since 1981, the HCTF has funded over 3,550 projects representing an investment of over $215 million for conservation in B.C.
Among this year’s projects in the Kootenays is the enhancement of the elk winter range in the Upper Kicking Horse Canyon. Currently in its second year and led by the Golden District Rod and Gun Club, the project aims to enhance 112 hectares of habitat for ungulate species such as Rocky Mountain Elk, Mule Deer, and White-tailed Deer.
“Enhancement work will involve the thinning of immature forest to promote forage growth, allow for ease of elk movement, increase elk predator detection and improve forest structure for snow interception,” says project lead Brian Gustafson. “The main goal is to increase the amount of usable habitat for elk in this important area on the landscape.”
The project is being supported by the HCTF and the Forest Enhancement Society of BC (FESBC) with $63,580 in co-funding this year.
According to FESBC’s executive director Steve Kozuki, “HCTF has some of the best expertise in wildlife biology and habitat management. That’s why FESBC is so pleased to collaborate with HCTF. Together we have improved wildlife habitat on numerous successful projects all around British Columbia. And we will continue to endeavour to assist wildlife to thrive and flourish for generations to come.”
HCTF CEO Dan Buffett is proud to work with FESBC in this partnership noting, “Through this collaboration, we can fund more projects such as enhancing elk habitat, and enable our project partners to deliver more conservation work that benefits wildlife, fish, and their habitats.”
Other HCTF-funded projects taking place in the Kootenays include:
- $13,200 to inform policy and create guidelines for recreation and industrial activities near wolverine denning areas (with FESBC funding).
- $130,000 for a River Guardian program to maintain or improve angling conditions and native sportfish populations in eight Kootenay region watersheds.
- $95,940 to enhance critical habitat for deer and elk within the Galton Range by removing dense stands of conifers and reducing invasive species (with FESBC funding).
- $33,184 to restore two wetlands in the ʔakaⱡan̓ qu (Peckham’s) area, that have been severely impacted by resource users and will improve habitat for elk, deer, and waterfowl.
Each project funded by HCTF goes through a multi-level, objective and technical review process prior to the final Board review and decision. HCTF’s board of directors ensure that species important to B.C. anglers and hunters are supported, but also place a great deal of importance on conserving whole ecosystems, species-at-risk, and investing in environmental education across the province.
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