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Restoration Work Begins on the Englishman River Estuary

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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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BC Fisher Habitat Website

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The BC Fisher Habitat Working Group has just launched a new website to assist BC forest licensees and their contractors to identify and retain important fisher habitat.  The site allows forest practitioners to download information and tools specific to their location and operational focus. The site includes: - spatial data that lets planning foresters identify habitats and retention targets for harvested areas - pictorial guides to help on-the-ground field crews identify trees and other habitats important to fishers, and - field guides to help operational staff retain fisher habitat in their day-to-day activities. The web site is also designed for use by trappers, First Nations, and other people who are interested in learning more about fisher conservation. Visit the BC Fisher Habitat Website The Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation is proud to be a major funder of this extension project.   
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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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HCTF Visits the Cariboo

HCTF Visits the Cariboo
As part of our evaluation program to ensure HCTF funds are benefiting fish and wildlife conservation, HCTF staff regularly visit project leaders to get an in-depth look at their projects – both on paper (financials) and on the ground. In late September HCTF staff biologist Kathryn Martell and financial officer Katelynn Sander travelled to Williams Lake to conduct evaluations on two projects. The first was the Fisher Artificial Reproductive Den Box Study  led by Larry Davis of Davis Environmental Ltd. Fishers are a threatened species in British Columbia and are also the largest obligate tree-cavity user in North America. They typically use cavities in large diameter trees both for resting in winter, and as reproductive dens. Suitable den trees are rare in the landscape and impacts in many areas of the province have further reduced the availability of this habitat feature. Larry’s project seeks to determine if fishers will use artificial (man-made) den boxes for reproductive dens, as a way to augment denning habitat in areas where natural den trees have been reduced. This year of the study continued the monitoring efforts on the 56 den boxes installed during this project. Larry has been successful in attracting fishers to 50%...
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Monitoring Vancouver Island Estuaries

Monitoring Vancouver Island Estuaries
 Thanks to Karen Barry from the  VICLMP program for sending us this project update! The Vancouver Island Conservation Land Management Program* has initiated a long term monitoring program to assess the health of estuaries and salt marshes on the east coast of Vancouver Island with support from HCTF and other partners. The goal of this monitoring program is to ensure that conservation lands provide high quality, accessible habitat for fish and wildlife, and to identify conservation concerns resulting from threats such as sea level rise, invasive species, or other human-induced changes. By implementing a standardized monitoring program, we can ensure investments made towards protection of sensitive estuaries are secured for the long-term. To determine the resiliency of coastal estuaries to sea level rise, we are installing Surface Elevation Tables (SET) platforms in several estuaries this summer, including Quatse River, Cluxewe River, Salmon River, Englishman River, Nanaimo River and Cowichan River estuaries. These devices allow us to see how salt marshes and estuaries are changing over time, by measuring changes in elevation of the substrate. The SET consists of an aluminum platform that is permanently installed in the estuary and anchored to prevent any movement. To take measurements, a specialized reader...
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