For over 30 years, HCTF has invested licence surcharge money into acquiring valuable habitat in BC.
British Columbia has remarkable biological diversity. It is home to more vertebrates than any other province in Canada, and a greater number of large mammal species than any other North American state or province. This abundance of species is reflective of the vast number of habitats and ecosystems that make up BC. From the temperate rainforests of the West Coast to the dry grasslands of the Southern Okanagan, the province contains over 600 ecosystem types, each with their own distinct set of flora and fauna.
Unfortunately, many of the province’s richest habitats are now at risk. The majority of endangered species and ecosystems are found in the Southern Interior and South West Coast, where fertile valleys and temperate climates are as attractive to humans as they are to wildlife. Though only 6% of land in BC is privately owned, these properties tend to contain a high proportion of unique and species-rich ecosystems that are increasingly at risk. Fortunately, there is a strong land trust movement in BC, with a number of organizations working together to secure lands with high habitat values to protect them in perpetuum. The hunters, anglers, trappers and guide outfitters of this province have contributed to the securement of many such properties through investments made by the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation (HCTF).
This map shows approximate locations of HCTF-funded acquisitions. An interactive version of the map is available here.
HCTF Acquisition Grants
HCTF (formerly the Habitat Conservation Trust) has been investing in the acquisition of key conservation lands since 1981. To date, the Foundation has contributed over $20 million dollars towards the purchase of close to 140 conservation properties, helping to secure and manage approximately 23,000 hectares of valuable habitat.
Each spring, HCTF accepts grant applications from land trust organizations looking to purchase properties to protect or enhance their ecological values. Proposed acquisitions are evaluated on criteria such as species richness, abundance, connectivity, habitats, and impending threats to these values. Financial factors such as partnership funding, cost per hectare and level of community support are also carefully considered. Because acquisitions are funded with licence surcharge money, HCTF makes grants for land purchase conditional on the guarantee of access to anglers, hunters, trappers, and guides (exceptions have been made in cases where public access would compromise the property’s conservation values, but these are rare).
Given the steep purchase price of at-risk habitats near urban centres, acquisitions made now (and for the foreseeable future) require collaboration between multiple partners: no single land trust in BC has the resources to purchase these properties on their own. The number of premium conservation lands acquired through the combined efforts of trusts, governments, corporations and individual donors are testament to the power of partnerships in achieving critical conservation goals.
HCTF has contributed to acquisitions in almost every region of the province. The following summaries highlight a few of the recent conservation land purchases that the Foundation has contributed to:
South Okanagan Similkameen:
Apply for Funding
Interested in applying for an HCTF acquisition grant? Click here for deadlines, application forms and instructions.