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HCTF Visits the Cowichan Shoreline Stewardship Project

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The Cowichan Shoreline Stewardship Project (CSSP) has been restoring riparian habitat along Cowichan Lake and River since 2014. HCTF staff were invited to a tour of various restoration sites on the 1 st of September, and we were pleased to attend to see the results of this important HCTF funded stewardship project. The CSSP is a combined effort between the BC Conservation Foundation (BCCF) and the Cowichan Lake and River Stewardship Society (CLRSS), with the later as the main “community lead”. The CLRSS is made up of local residents with a strong desire to preserve and protect terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems that surround and sustain the lake. In the initial three year phase of the project 2014-17, a total of 26 lake/river shoreline properties have been restored under CSSP, totaling 7,239 square metres of riparian habitat improvements. To date, average plant survival has exceeded 85% for the majority of sites. In this same period, CLRSS volunteers have conducted a total of 282 riparian owner visits around the lake/river, and administered 227 standard surveys designed to gauge shoreline owner knowledge and preferences for preservation of natural riparian habitats. The project has been funded for another three-year phase (2017-10), we look forward...
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BCWF Wetlands Institute - Building Capacity for Restoring Wetlands

BCWF Wetlands Institute - Building Capacity for Restoring Wetlands
Each year, the BC Wildlife Federation (BCWF) hosts an intensive week of workshops led by wetland restoration experts, providing hands-on training for participants interested in constructing wetlands in their communities. The workshops are held in a different region of the province each year, and 2015 was the Okanagan’s turn. As BCWF Wetlands Education Program Intern Kayla Akins reports, this year’s institute was jammed-packed with information and opportunities for participants to get their hands dirty completing wetlands restoration projects in Kelowna and Vernon. The passion for wetland restoration and protection drew participants from all over BC to the Okanagan for the BC Wildlife Federation’s 13th Wetlands Institute. Participants included Biologists, Landscape Technologists and Architects, Environmental Planners, Coordinators, Educators, Consultants and more. We were joined by members of Environment Canada, the Okanagan Nation Alliance, the Okanagan Collaborative Conservation Program, the Okanagan Basin Water Board, and the Ministry of Forests Lands and Natural Resource Operations, to name a few. We dove right in on the first day with a presentation on wetland restoration techniques from Tom Biebighauser, a wildlife biologist and wetland ecologist. He covered various strategies for wetland restoration and construction. With this information fresh in mind, we headed over to the...
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Got Bats?

Got Bats?
There’s still time to participate in the BC Bat Watch program this summer. Bat Watch is a citizen science program that annually monitors bat roost sites in BC. Abandoned houses, barns, church steeples –even occupied structures – can provide summer homes for female bats and their young. Monitoring these “maternity colonies” helps biologists figure out how regional bat populations are doing from year to year. With the recent emergence of White-nose Syndrome in North America, monitoring these colonies is more important than ever. HCTF is proud to support this program through a grant to the BC Conservation Foundation (project 0-476). The “Got Bats” initiative is encouraging anyone who knows of a local bat roost to participate as a bat counter. The counts themselves are pretty simple: you’ll need to arrive at the roost at sunset, and tally the bats on a data sheet as they fly out for their nightly insect-eating. Ideally, participants will be available to conduct four bat counts per summer ‐ two between June 1 and 21 (before pups can fly) and two more between July 21 and August 15 (when pups are flying and exiting the roost). Completing all four bat counts will best allow biologists...
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Conservation Connections

Conservation Connections
The following article appeared in the May/June edition of Outdoor Edge Magazine . In the March edition of Outdoor Edge, we talked to the Salt Spring Island Conservancy’s (SSIC) Conservation Director, Robin Annschild, about the Conservancy's success in creating a partnership with the local Rod & Gun club to manage one of their reserves. This month, we continue the conversation with Robin and learn how building upon connections can equal great things for conservation – and ourselves. It all started with an invitation to a Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation Evaluation Workshop . Each year, the Foundation asks a selection of project leaders to give a presentation on the outcomes of their projects to HCTF Board members, staff and their peers. Not only do these workshops help HCTF evaluate the results of investments, they provide a rare opportunity for grant recipients to get together and exchange ideas about fish and wildlife conservation. After presenting some of the accomplishments of SSIC’s habitat acquisition project, Robin listened to Neil Fletcher speak about the BCWF Wetlands Institute, currently in its sixth year of funding from HCTF. Neil explained how Wetlands Institute workshops provide participants with the tools to successfully complete wetland restoration projects in...
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Natural Allies

Natural Allies
Robin Annschild of the Salt Spring Island Conservancy explains how working together with their local Rod & Gun Club has turned out to be a win-win situation. Listen to anyone speak about the good ol’ days of conservation in this province, and it will quickly become apparent how much things have changed.  Though environmental pressures have increased, stable sources of funding have become increasingly hard to come by. From land conservancies to stewardship groups, organizations have had to find ways of doing more with less, requiring increased resourcefulness, innovation and formation of partnerships beyond traditional allies. The Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation (HCTF) had the opportunity to talk with Robin Annschild, Conservation Director of the Salt Spring Island Conservancy , about how her organization is doing just that, to the benefit of everyone involved. Robin, over the past 3 years, the Salt Spring Island Conservancy (SSIC) has managed to secure an impressive amount of habitat, but I’m told there’s far more work to be done. Why is land securement so important on Salt Spring? Salt Spring lies within the Coastal Douglas Fir zone–the rarest ecosystem in the province with the highest number of species at risk. Over 50 rare or endangered...
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