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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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HCTF Board Visits BIRPP Restoration Sites in Vancouver

HCTF Board Visits BIRPP Restoration Sites in Vancouver
  The weather may have been less than ideal, but it didn’t stop HCTF Board & staff members from setting out to view some of the sites being restored as part of the Burrard Inlet Restoration Pilot Program (BIRPP). BIRPP was created by HCTF to invest court-awarded funds from the 2007 Burnaby oil spill in projects that would restore habitat near the site of impact. By soliciting specific types of proposals and setting minimum fund leveraging requirements, this pilot program represents a shift from HCTF’s historical granting model, and Board members were eager to see the results of this new type of investment strategy. The morning began at New Brighton Park in East Vancouver. A weathered sign at the entrance to the park boasts that this is birthplace of Vancouver , home to the City’s first post office, dock, CPR and customs office back in 1865. Now it exists as waterfront recreation area, built on fill and leaving little evidence of the salmon-bearing stream that once flowed through here out into Burrard Inlet. As part of the 2011 Hastings Park and PNE Master Plan, the City of Vancouver has started to unearth Renfrew Creek, one of Vancouver’s many lost streams...
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Project Evaluation: Bringing Back the Bluebirds

Project Evaluation: Bringing Back the Bluebirds
A few times a year, HCTF staff get to escape from the office and check out some of our projects in the field. We conduct project site evaluations as an accountability measure, and to gain a better understanding of the opportunities and challenges facing our proponents. These evaluations include a financial review and a site visit, where we get to see firsthand the important conservation work being done by our proponents. This summer, HCTF Biologist Lynne Bonner and Finance Officer Katelynn Sander were excited to spend some time with the Garry Oak Ecosystems Recovery Team (GOERT) and get the inside scoop on their Bring Back the Bluebirds project.   Though once plentiful, Western Bluebirds have been extirpated (locally extinct) in southwestern BC since 1995. They like to make their nests in Garry Oak meadows, but these ecosystems have become increasingly rare due to human development. As their habitat was lost and fragmented, Western Bluebirds eventually stopped returning to Vancouver Island to nest and raise their young. In their Bring Back the Bluebirds project, GOERT is aiming to re-establish a breeding population of Western Bluebirds on Vancouver Island. This project took flight in 2012, and has hatched an international partnership which...
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Restoring Nature’s Curves

Restoring Nature’s Curves
As part of HCTF's project site evaluation program, staff recently visited a restoration project on the historically channelized and straightened Okanagan River ("Okanagan River Restoration Initiative - Phase II). HCTF (along with a number of partner organizations) is currently funding the reconstruction of a side channel to improve spawning and rearing habitat for trout and salmon. This project will also benefit wildlife species by increasing riparian habitat. In the early 1900s the Okanagan River was re-engineered from a meandering stream to a channelized and diked waterway for the purposes of navigation, flood control and irrigation. This reduced much of the fish and riparian habitats along the river. The  Okanagan River Restoration Initiative (ORRI) is an alliance of government and non-government organizations dedicated to restoring portions of the river to its original configuration, providing habitat for sockeye salmon, rainbow trout and wildlife species at risk such as, Yellow Breasted Chat, Great Basin Spadefoot and Western Screech Owl.  This HCTF project is being undertaken by the Okanagan Nation Alliance (ONA) and project leader Camille Savois-Rivard proudly showed HCTF staff the new side channel which was still under construction at the time of the site visit.  This work had been delayed for several years...
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