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Out of the Ashes

Out of the Ashes
Each spring, BC’s fire crews brace themselves for the intensity of the fire season ahead. At the time of writing, 2014 was on track to become a record year. Since the beginning of the season in April, more than 330,000 hectares had burned, only ~8,000 HA shy of the 30 year record. News coverage of evacuations and threats to human infrastructure have shaped our perception of forest fires. We think of them as catastrophic forces of destruction: unpredictable disasters to be suppressed or extinguished at all costs. There is, however, another side to forest fires, one that would suggest this year’s increased fire activity - if kept away from human settlement and infrastructure - is actually beneficial. Ecologists have confirmed empirically what First Nations have known and practiced for centuries: fire is as much a force for renewal as it is of destruction. After a forest fire, what appears as scorched wasteland is actually an ecosystem ready to begin anew. Under the charred earth, roots and seeds lie waiting to capitalize on the nutrients provided by the ashes of their predecessors. Sunlight, once scarce under the thick canopy of mature trees, now reaches the ground, allowing grasses and berry-producing shrubs...
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Fishing in the City

Fishing in the City
Watch a video about this FFSBC program designed to get BC's urban residents fishing. HCTF funds the Fishing in the City program as part of  project # 0-353.  
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Video: Urban Lakes Infrastructure Program

Video: Urban Lakes Infrastructure Program
Fishing with Rod just uploaded this video about the Vancouver Island Urban Lake Fishery Development & Improvement Program . HCTF CEO Brian Springinotic explains how this project created docks, boat ramps and trails to increase accessibility to fishing on lakes near urban centres.    The program was made possible through partnerships between HCTF, the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, the Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC, and regional & local governments. You can view locations and images of infrastructure completed under this program on our interactive map . If you’re on Vancouver Island this summer, why not check them out for yourself? Fishing is a great way to get outdoors, de-stress and spend quality time with family and friends. Better yet, each BC freshwater fishing licence purchase contributes to great conservation and angling development projects like this one.  
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Monsters of the Deep

Monsters of the Deep
“So what do you think lives down there?” It’s my first question to government biologist Lee Williston about the eerily deep waters of Quesnel Lake . Williston has just told me that the maximum depth recorded here is an astounding 523 metres, making it the third deepest lake in North America and the deepest fjord lake in the world. “Probably not much,” he replies, dashing my hopes of a Quesnel Lake Monster story. “But there are definitely some big fish in these waters. People have landed rainbows here in the twenty pound range.” Like the legendary Gerrards of Kootenay Lake, Williston explains that Quesnel Lake rainbow trout are a genetically unique, late-maturing strain that gets big by feeding on kokanee. The result is the largest wild sport fishery in the Cariboo, and one of the few places left on the continent where you can fish for trophy rainbows in a pristine wilderness setting. “Fishing on Quesnel, it's possible to see a black bear, grizzly and moose all in one afternoon,” says Williston. “There's a whole host of iconic B.C. wildlife living in the watershed. It really is the complete wilderness experience.” Still, the lake’s remote location hasn’t made it immune...
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Catching a Glimpse

Catching a Glimpse
The following story was submitted to us by Berry Wijdeven, a biologist working on HCTF project 6-235, Juvenile Sooty Grouse Dispersal and Winter Survival on Haida Gwaii. Berry works for the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations (MFLNRO) as the Species at Risk Coordinator for Haida Gwaii.   The radio receiver, though dialed way down, squeaks loudly, insistently. Somewhere, within 10 meters or so, a radio collared female grouse is hiding. Possibly nesting. We want to find that nest and put a camera near it to see whether the chicks fledge successfully or whether the nest fails. But we don’t want to disturb the bird, potentially flush her off her eggs, so we proceed with great caution. The radio signal originates from a nearby stump, which is surrounded by a dense growth of salal. Entering that growth would surely alarm the grouse, so here we stand, hoping to catch a glimpse of a bird that is likely watching us. Inventory studies have suggested that the number of Haida Gwaii Sooty Grouse has declined substantially. That’s a problem for the grouse population, but also of concern to the Northern Goshawk , a species listed as threatened, which is having a tough go...
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