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Bringing Back the Bluebirds

Bringing Back the Bluebirds
  The Western Bluebird was once a common site on Vancouver Island. This brilliantly-coloured bird species thrived here and on the neighbouring Gulf Islands until the 1950's, when their numbers began to steadily decline. By the 1990s, bluebirds were no longer breeding in southwestern BC, and were soon considered to be extirpated (locally extinct). What caused this once prolific species to disappear? The primary factor is likely habitat loss. Bluebirds are secondary cavity nesters, meaning they rely on holes left by woodpeckers in standing deadwood to build their nests. If most of these dead trees are removed (either through logging practices or urban development), the birds are left with little in the way of natural nesting habitat. Bluebirds face steep competition for the few remaining cavities, as these are also sought after by introduced species such as starlings and house sparrows. Human activity has undoubtedly impacted the bluebirds' distribution, but there is good reason to believe that human intervention will help return the species to its former range. The Garry Oak Ecosystems Recovery Team ( GOERT ) is working to restore self-sustaining Western Bluebird populations on Vancouver Island and the Southern Gulf Islands through the HCTF-funded Bring Back the Bluebirds...
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HCTF Vanderhoof Field Tour

HCTF Vanderhoof Field Tour
In late June, the HCTF Board visited Vanderhoof for some on-the-ground experience with a range of HCTF-funded projects. The morning began with a regional orientation by Wayne Salewski and a presentation by Ray Pillipow on the Nechako River Bull Trout Project, wherein radio tagging is being used to evaluate the potential for bull trout retention in a variety of watersheds. The first field stop was the r ecently-restored teaching wetland beside WL McLeod Elementary school, where we learned about the many educational programs conducted on-site. Next, we visited the busy construction site of the Nechako White Sturgeon hatchery . MFLNRO’s Cory Williamson led the tour, and also gave a presentation on the latest Nechako River sturgeon recovery plans. The afternoon included a visit to the Murray Creek demonstration site , which provides a working example of the advantages of integrating water stewardship with agricultural practices. Many thanks go out to Wayne both for organizing the tour. Thanks also to the Vanderhoof Fish and Game Club who, together with Wayne and his wife Lori, hosted a great end-of-day barbecue on the banks of the Nechako River. The HCTF Board meets three times a year: two of those meetings are held in...
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Urban Lakes Development Program Presented With HCTF Silver Award

Urban Lakes Development Program Presented With HCTF Silver Award
An HCTF Silver Award was presented to the Vancouver Island Urban Lakes Fisheries Development Program this week in recognition of its efforts to increase angler participation by improving fishing infrastructure at lakes near urban centres. Scott Silvestri of MFLRNO leads the project, which has already received over $75,000 in grants from HCTF, with another $54,000 committed for 2013-14. By bringing together local governments, granting organizations and fish & game clubs, Scott and his team have made great strides in improving access to a number of fishing locations around the island while keeping costs to a minimum. The Urban Lakes project is currently in its third and final year of funding. Infrastructure projects already complete include: • Newly-constructed fishing floats, ramps and trails at Durrance Lake , Diver Lake and Westwood Lake . • New fishing floats at Fuller Lake and Mayo Lake . • Repairs to the walkway of the fishing float at Chemainus Lake . • Development of a car-top boat launch for Quennell Lake . • Improvements to the boat launch at Spider Lake . Click here to view the locations of these projects on a map. A number of potential infrastructure projects have been identified for 2013-14...
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PCAF Grants $65,000 for Community-Based Conservation Projects

PCAF Grants $65,000 for Community-Based Conservation Projects
Fifteen community-based fish & wildlife projects will be given a helping hand this summer as grant recipients of HCTF's Public Conservation Assistance Fund. Over $65,000 has been granted to projects working to build habitat, remove invasive species and introduce angling to people who might not otherwise get the chance. Volunteers are an essential component of all PCAF projects, and this group of successful applicants (in aggregate) estimate their volunteer contributions will be in excess of 1100 hours: that's more than 45 days of helping conservation in BC! Download our 2013-14 PCAF Approved Projects List (1st Call) for further details on project goals and locations. Missed the spring deadline for PCAF applications? There will be a second call for proposals this fall, with an application deadline of September 15 th , 2013. Visit our PCAF Application page for information on how to apply.

New Project Profiles

New Project Profiles
We’ve posted a couple of new stories on our Project Profiles page. Teacher Sara Germain describes her class’s week-long outdoor learning experience at the Hakai Beach Institute, or read about HCTF’s involvement in the long-awaited restoration of Penticton Creek . More project profiles coming soon!