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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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Monitoring Vancouver Island Estuaries

Monitoring Vancouver Island Estuaries
 Thanks to Karen Barry from the  VICLMP program for sending us this project update! The Vancouver Island Conservation Land Management Program* has initiated a long term monitoring program to assess the health of estuaries and salt marshes on the east coast of Vancouver Island with support from HCTF and other partners. The goal of this monitoring program is to ensure that conservation lands provide high quality, accessible habitat for fish and wildlife, and to identify conservation concerns resulting from threats such as sea level rise, invasive species, or other human-induced changes. By implementing a standardized monitoring program, we can ensure investments made towards protection of sensitive estuaries are secured for the long-term. To determine the resiliency of coastal estuaries to sea level rise, we are installing Surface Elevation Tables (SET) platforms in several estuaries this summer, including Quatse River, Cluxewe River, Salmon River, Englishman River, Nanaimo River and Cowichan River estuaries. These devices allow us to see how salt marshes and estuaries are changing over time, by measuring changes in elevation of the substrate. The SET consists of an aluminum platform that is permanently installed in the estuary and anchored to prevent any movement. To take measurements, a specialized reader...
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Return of the Roosevelts

Return of the Roosevelts
Elk Translocation Program on Vancouver Island Aims to Restore Roosevelt Elk to Their Former Range  BC’s magnificent wildlife has long formed part of our province’s identity. Take the provincial Coat of Arms: while other Western provinces have chosen to include the likes of lions and unicorns into their designs, a pair of iconic ungulates make up BC’s provincial emblem. On the right, a bighorn ram represents the wildlife of the mainland. On the left, a rather wild-looking Roosevelt elk symbolizes Vancouver Island.  The Roosevelt is a fitting representative for the Island: it remains a stronghold for this species whose range was severely reduced following the arrival of the Europeans in the mid-19 th century. Though Roosevelts remain on BC’s list of species of concern, populations in some areas of the Island are thriving, to the point where conflicts are arising between humans and herds. On the Island’s east coast, near the village of Sayward, the Salmon River watershed is ideal habitat for elk. The moist, rich soils of the river’s floodplain produce optimal forage for Roosevelts, both in the form of native plant species and agricultural crops. This vegetational bounty has allowed elk numbers to increase to the point where...
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Trail Cam Photos

Trail Cam Photos
We love to receive photos of our grant recipients' projects, especially when they feature the fish or wildlife benefitting from the work. Below is a series of trail cam photos captured at an HCTF-funded habitat restoration site in the Kootenays. What a fantastic variety of mammals using this trail!  First up, the mountain goats:  Elk: Deer: Moose: And now for the carnivores, starting with a couple of cougar shots: Bobcat: And a glimpse of a bear:    Do you have a great photo of BC's fish or wildlife? Enter our 2015 photo contest! First prize is a $500 VISA gift card. For full contest details, visit out photo contest page . 
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Precious Waste: Using Woody Debris to Create Connectivity Across Clearcuts

Precious Waste: Using Woody Debris to Create Connectivity Across Clearcuts
Clearcutting continues to be the dominant harvesting system across much of North America. Its environmental impacts have long been the subject of debate, but there’s a general consensus that this forestry practice results in a shift in the species inhabiting an area. In the years following a clearcut, grasses and shrubs thrive, providing browse for moose and deer. However, this short-term boon comes at the expense of some of the site’s previous residents. Furbearers such as weasels and marten depend on mature forest, both for concealment from predators and for den and rest sites in the form of coarse woody debris. On most clearcut sites, this debris is burned after harvest. But what if there was a way to prevent the displacement of some forest-dependent species by building habitat out of waste wood instead of burning it? We spoke with Dr. Thomas Sullivan of the Applied Mammal Research Institute about his HCTF-funded project examining whether windrows constructed out of waste wood could reduce some of the negative impacts of clearcutting on small mammals. HCTF: I understand that many furbearers are reliant on mature forest habitat, and will inevitably be impacted by clearcutting. Would you say your project is about making...
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