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Quesnel Lake Tagging Program Receives Top Honours

Quesnel Lake Tagging Program Receives Top Honours
HCTF Silver Award winner Lee Wiliston's project was recently featured in the  2016 Cariboo-Chilcotin Fishing Guide . Angie Mindus, editor of the Williams Lake Tribune , wrote the following article about the Quesnel Lake tagging program, and has kindly agreed to let us republish the story here.   High-Tech Tagging Program Unravels Mysteries of Quesnel Lake   A five-year study examining the effects of angling pressures on resident rainbow, bull and lake trout in Quesnel Lake has netted a prestigious provincial award, accolades from professionals in the field and critical information to ensure the long-term survival of the species. The Quesnel Lake fish tagging program, which was launched in 2013 in response to public reports of improved fish numbers in the lake and requests to review the restricted fishing regulations, is entering its fourth year and relies on a winning combination of a high tech fish-tracking system and good oldfashioned reporting from anglers. Lee Williston, study leader and senior fisheries biologist with the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, said he couldn't be happier with the results. "The knowledge we have gained over the last three years has really exceeded all our expectations:' Williston said. "The number one...
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New Program Boosts Funding for BC Conservation Lands

New Program Boosts Funding for BC Conservation Lands
    The Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation (HCTF) has announced a new funding program to help NGOs cover the costs of looking after BC’s conservation lands. The HCTF Land Stewardship Fund will provide approximately $125,000 a year for activities that improve habitat on conservation properties owned and managed by NGOs. There are more than 100,000 hectares of NGO-owned conservation lands in British Columbia, encompassing a wide range of habitat types. The properties are found in every region of the province, but tend to be concentrated in biodiversity “hotspots”, such as the South Okanagan, Lower Mainland and Gulf Islands. In these areas, the purchase of private land has become an important – but expensive –tool for protecting key habitats from human development. Laura Matthias, Land Manager and Biologist with the Salt Spring Island Conservancy, says the new granting program is a wonderful new initiative that will help fill a strong need for resources to maintain or rehabilitate lands that were purchased or donated for their conservation values. “It’s a big undertaking to raise the money required to purchase these properties, and we’re very grateful to the many individuals and organizations that help make it possible,” explains Matthias. “What is often forgotten...
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Schools Grow Connection with Nature

Schools Grow Connection with Nature
The Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation (HCTF) has announced it will provide over $62,000 for 25 BC schools selected to participate in its Wild School program . The 3-year program provides teachers and students of K-8 schools with free resources, training and support for environmental learning, outdoor field experiences and connections to conservation work in their communities. Three schools within the Cariboo-Chilcotin School District#27 have been accepted into the Wild School program: Marie Sharpe Elementary, Horsefly Elementary and 100 Mile Elementary. Calvin Dubray, Principal at Marie Sharpe Elementary , says the school is looking forward to beginning the program next fall, especially since it will coincide with the start of their new Nature Kindergarten program. “Our staff and students are currently engaged in place-based education and we are seeing deeper, richer learning happening,” says Dubray. “We are excited about the additional opportunities and experiences the Wild School program will offer to enhance our outdoor learning initiatives.” The Wild School program evolved from the successful Science in Action program that began in 2006. Science in Action was a single year program focused on providing K-8 teachers and schools with resources to support hands-on, active learning through science. In 2012, Science in Action...
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Meet the 2015 Fisher Den Box Kits

Meet the 2015 Fisher Den Box Kits
We received the following video update on the Fisher Artificial Den Box Study from biologist Larry Davis. Davis and his team are trying to determine if female fishers will use human-constructed den boxes to raise their young, as there are very few of the fisher's natural denning sites left in some areas of their range. "Fisher require large diameter trees with heart-rot cavities for reproduction," says Davis. "These trees are rare in managed landscapes."   2015 was the third year of this HCTF-funded project, and Larry and his team continued monitoring the 56 installed den boxes to see if they were being used by fishers. “We have been successful in attracting fishers to 50% of the den boxes, with many of the structures used for resting during winter," reveals Davis. "We identified 45 fisher samples using hair snaggers located at the entrance to the den boxes. Of these, 14 were identified as being unique females, with 8 of them using the structures more than once, and 4 of them detected at 2 different den boxes.” During the 2015 reproductive season, two fisher females used artificial den boxes to give birth to and raise their young. The video features footage of...
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Kids Take Part in Moberly Lake Trout Conservation Efforts

Kids Take Part in Moberly Lake Trout Conservation Efforts
At  Moberly Lake last Tuesday, fifty elementary students (and HCTF Chair Ross Peck) helped government staff release 8,000 juvenile lake trout as part of an ongoing effort to rebuild a population that has come dangerously close to extinction. When the Province began the Moberly Lake rehabilitation program back in 2010, there were less than 400 trout in the lake. Their extreme drop in numbers was thought to be caused by a combination of overfishing and competition or predation from other fish species. Historically, Moberly Lake’s lake trout were an important part of the local First Nations fishery and a favourite of local anglers, but the lake has been closed to all trout fishing since 2002, and is closed to all fishing from September 15 to October 31 to protect lake trout during their spawning season.   Last Tuesday’s lake trout release was the third release of the rehabilitation program, for a total of 36,000 released fish. The Ministry is hopeful these releases will aid in re-establishing a stable lake trout population on Moberly Lake. Over the past four years, the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation has provided funding to the Ministry to evaluate the effectiveness of their lake trout recovery program. As well...
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