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Bull River Bighorn Herd Helped by Land Purchase

Bull River Bighorn Herd Helped by Land Purchase
The Nature Trust of BC has just announced the successful acquisition of the Bull River Grassland Corridor property in the East Kootenays. Nature Trust CEO Jasper Lament said the 67 hectare property is an exciting addition to existing conservation lands in the lower Bull River: “Bighorn sheep use this property as part of their traditional winter range,” said Lament. “Because it is bounded on three sides by other conservation lands, it is a very strategically important acquisition.”‖ The securement of this property removes threats of disease transmission from domestic livestock to the Bull River bighorn sheep herd. It also protects winter range for elk and deer, and protects habitat for the provincially Redlisted American Badger. This project was completed with incredible support from the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation, BC Conservation Foundation, Fish & Wildlife Compensation Program, and Environment and Climate Change Canada through the Natural Areas Conservation Program facilitated by the Nature Conservancy of Canada. The Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation provided over $350,000 to the purchase of this property, and is also funding a project studying the health and movements of the Bull River bighorn herd. “The Bull River herd has partially recovered from a die-off in the 1980s, and...
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Elkink South Block, Sagebrush Slopes and Sparrow Grasslands

Elkink South Block, Sagebrush Slopes and Sparrow Grasslands
The South Okanagan-Similkameen region is a biodiversity hotspot, home to unique assemblages of plants and animals. The Bunchgrass Zone ecosystem of this region is found in less than one percent of BC, yet it supports a tremendous diversity and density of wildlife.  Unfortunately, agricultural use and urbanization have resulted in this delicate ecosystem becoming one of the three most endangered in Canada. With thirty percent of the province’s at-risk species dependent on it, there has been a great impetus to conserve grassland properties before the ecosystem and its inhabitants are lost. HCTF contributed $800,000 to NCC ’s purchase of three properties in the South Okanagan Similkameen that contain significant amounts of grassland habitat.  Sagebrush Slopes, Sparrow Grasslands and Elkink South Block added a total of 1,263 hectares of invaluable habitat to existing protected areas. Together, these parcels comprise the most extensive sagebrush community in the region. Their protection preserves migration corridors and allows wildlife to move freely between the Similkameen and Okanagan Valleys, and through to the desert areas of the western United States. Red-listed species on site include the Grasshopper, Lark and Brewer’s Sparrows, Lewis’s Woodpecker, American Badger and Burrowing Owl. Once the management plan for the recently-purchased Elkink...
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Columbia Lake: Marion Creek Benchlands and Lot 48

Columbia Lake: Marion Creek Benchlands and Lot 48
Columbia Lake sits at the head of the Columbia River, nestled between the Purcell and Rocky Mountains, about 7km South of Fairmont Hot Springs. The lands surrounding the lake are part of the East Kootenay Trench Ecosection, home to one of the largest and most diverse assemblages of species in the province. These include many of BC’s iconic large mammals, supported by a mosaic of habitat types that include native grasslands, Douglas-fir forests, and long stretches of wetland that comprise one of the last intact portions of the Pacific Flyway. In 2010 and 2011, HCTF was approached by the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) to help secure both the Marion Creek Benchlands (204 ha) to the west of Columbia Lake, and Lot 48 (127 ha) on its eastern shore.  These properties were “missing links” in established tracts of conservation lands, which risked being fragmented by residential development. Both contain grasslands used as vital winter range for ungulates, including blue-listed Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep. They also provide critical habitat for non-game species, such as the red-listed Badger, and are used as movement corridors by wildlife including Grizzly Bear and Elk. HCTF contributed $750,000 towards the purchase of these properties to protect...
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