Help Stop Whirling Disease from Entering BC

Photo: State of Colorado Last August, Canada's first case of whirling disease was confirmed at Johnson Lake within Banff National Park. Alberta's Bow River, Red Deer and Oldman River watersheds have now been declared infected with whirling disease by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, and the rest of the province declared a buffer zone (see map ). The disease devastated wild trout populations in the Western United States in the 90s, but its effects on fish populations can vary. In a recent interview with the Calgary Herald , Aquatic Invasive Specialist Kate Wilson said scientists are unsure how the disease will impact Alberta's wild fish. As there's no cure for whirling disease, Alberta is focused on monitoring, education and following protocols to stop its spread. Though BC has not (yet) had a confirmed case of whirling disease, HCTF is helping to fund a coordinator to lead a whirling disease monitoring and education program in BC. Here's a quick primer on whirling disease, and what you can do to help stop it from spreading.  What causes whirling disease? Whirling disease is caused by a microscopic parasite (Myxobolus cerebralis) that infects both fish and freshwater worms during different phases of its lifecycle.                       What are the symptoms? In fish, the parasite affects the...
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BC Students to Attend the World Recreational Fishing Conference

The eighth World Recreational Fishing Conference is happening next week in Victoria. As Official Education Sponsor for the event, HCTF is happy to be sponsoring four BC post-secondary students to attend the conference. They are:   Midoli Bresch Midoli is a MRM Candidate at Simon Fraser University. She was born and raised in north eastern British Columbia, but moved to Vancouver Island in her early teens. Her father decided to take up commercial salmon trolling, which he did for several years before making the switch to become a recreational fishing guide. Through his influence, Midoli’s love of fish and fishing was born. She returned to northern BC to complete her undergrad degree in fisheries and wildlife management at the University of Northern British Columbia. While at UNBC, she took as many fisheries classes as possible and worked in a genetics lab on bull trout and Dolly Varden hybridization rates. While still at school, she began working for the Hakai Institute , where she was the lead field tech on a project studying forage fish and nearshore fish community ecology. In 2016, Midoli began graduate studies at Simon Fraser University and is a student in the Quantitative Fisheries Lab under Dr....
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2017 Photo Contest Now Open

  The HCTF photo contest is back! If you've captured a spectacular image of BC’s wildlife, freshwater fish, natural landscapes, or a photo of people participating in activities that connect them to nature, you could enter to win this year's grand prize of a $500 VISA gift card. For full contest information, official rules and digital entry form, click  here .     
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The Secret Life of Wolverines

When you read the word “wolverine”, what comes to mind? A snarling, snapping North-American version of the Tasmanian devil? A fearsome furball taking down prey ten times its size?  Hugh Jackman? For a creature whose reputation has reached mythical proportions, it might surprise you to learn that there’s still a lot we don’t know about wolverines. Naturally rare, wolverines are found in remote wilderness areas, making them challenging study subjects. But with increasing pressure on the landscapes that wolverines and other wildlife call home, it’s more important than ever for land managers to have accurate information on wolverine populations in BC. Advances in research techniques and technology are not only providing the data necessary to protect wolverines, they’re actually changing the way we view this elusive species. Cliff Nietvelt is a BC government wildlife biologist who has been studying wolverines since 2009.  It was that year, working on a collaring project in the North Cascades, that he had his first up-close encounter with a wolverine. “We had set up a box trap and caught other carnivores but had no luck getting any wolverines,” recalls Cliff.  “I’d actually gone out to close the trap for a few days when I noticed...
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Restoration Work Begins on the Englishman River Estuary

If you are walking the trails and beaches at the Englishman River estuary this summer, you may notice some new activity and heavy equipment working. It’s all part of a five-year plan to improve the habitat for fish and wildlife.   The Englishman River estuary and adjacent habitats support over 250 bird species, 23 mammals, plus several amphibians, reptiles, all species of Pacific salmon, and forage fish such as herring and Pacific sand lance. For over 25 years, The Nature Trust of British Columbia and partners have worked to secure land along the Englishman River. Today, over 100 hectares (247 acres) of the Englishman estuary and adjacent forest are protected and form part of the Parksville-Qualicum Beach Wildlife Management Area.    Since the 1930s, the Englishman estuary has been impacted by dikes, roads, residential development, industrial uses, and ditching. Today portions of the estuary are almost completely cut off from natural tidal and river processes. Consequently, the estuary has become less accessible for fish and wildlife that would normally use these habitats for shelter, feeding, and rearing.   “The Nature Trust of BC has been working with partners for decades to acquire and manage ecologically important lands along the Englishman River....
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