Meet the Neighbours!
photo credit Dr. Naidoo
The South Chilcotin Mountains in south-central British Columbia are well-recognized as a wildlife haven, and contain some of the province’s most iconic wilderness species. However, there is little understanding of how an increasing human footprint in this region impacts the diversity and abundance of species. There is little information available on the key factors that regulate the distribution & abundance of wildlife here, which is a critical knowledge gap as human activity is increasing in large parts of the region, with unknown consequences.
To address these issues, HCTF is funding Dr. Robin Naidoo’s study in the South Chilcotin mountains. So far, camera traps have turned up a wide variety of species including cougars, bears, moose, wolves, coyotes, wolverine, lynx, and many more.
“Although our camera trap grid has been running for less than a year, it has revealed that the abundance and diversity of wildlife that share trails with people in the South Chilcotins is truly remarkable,” says Dr. Naidoo
New Year, New Land
Park Rill Creek by Nick Burdock
HCTF is pleased to announce the acquisition of two new parcels of land in the Okanagan. A hotspot of biodiversity and of species at risk in Canada, the Okanagan has experienced significant conversion of wild land to other uses in recent decades.
The Park Rill Creek property was purchased by The Nature Trust of BC. Located in the White Lake Basin in the South Okanagan, this 32.2 hectare (80 acre) parcel is home to some of the most endangered and rare species in our province such as the endangered Half-moon Hairstreak butterfly and the rare Painted Turtle. The property is rich with vegetation including aromatic gray sagebrush, desert grassland and broadleaf woodlands.
The R.E. Taylor Conservation Property, is named in honour of Ron Taylor of Winfield, BC, whose dedication and commitment to wildlife conservation in BC has spanned more than half a century. Ron helped to create the Southern Interior Land Trust (SILT), the purchasers of this property.
The property is a gem of intact streamside Water Birch forest, one of very few remaining in the Okanagan-Similkameen. It provides habitat for at least five federally-listed species at risk, including the Yellow-breasted Chat, Western Screech Owl and Lewis’s Woodpecker. It is also good habitat for deer, bear, bobcat and badger that travel across the valley, and for rainbow trout in the creek.
Significant contributions from HCTF, along with other funders mean long-term protection for these valuable ecosystems.
HCTF Holiday Office Closure
Happy Holidays! Our office with be closed between December 25 and December 31. We look forward to seeing you in the New Year!
Through this time we will still be responding to inquiries about the Caribou Habitat Restoration Fund. Please contact Shannon West at Shannon.west [at] hctf.ca
Job Opening – Program Support Coordinator
HCTF has an opening for a full-time Program Support Coordinator. If you’re energetic, self-directed, and have a positive approach to your career, work, and colleagues, apply by Jan 15, 2019! This is a full-time position in Victoria, BC. For more details, visit our Careers webpage.
HCTF Makes New Sturgeon Commitment
Sturgeon and 3 Fisherpeople
The Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation has made a substantial new commitment to white sturgeon in BC, which will see the foundation provide an additional $250,000 over the next 5 years towards projects that contribute to the conservation of sturgeon and associated habitat.
Starting in 2008, the Province of British Columbia introduced new conservation surcharges on licences to fish for sturgeon on the middle and lower Fraser River. The surcharge funds are directed to a dedicated account overseen by the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation, to be reinvested in important work to sustain these sensitive populations.
The amount of revenue generated annually depends on the number of sturgeon licenses sold. Over the past 8 years, the average annual revenue from sturgeon surcharges was $250,000. In 2017/18, it was approximately $325,000.
In October 2018, the HCTF board decided to provide an additional $250,000 for sturgeon projects, over and above the annual amount generated through sturgeon angling surcharges. This means that HCTF will provide an additional $50,000 annually in new funding for sturgeon conservation projects for each of the next 5 years, starting in 2019.
“HCTF recognizes the unique value of sturgeon and the need to protect this irreplaceable species,” explains HCTF CEO Brian Springinotic. “We want to augment the already significant contributions of the sturgeon angling, guiding and scientific communities, who act as sturgeon advocates and ambassadors, citizen scientists, and, through license fees, financial supporters of conservation projects.”
Over the years, HCTF has funded a variety of sturgeon conservation projects in BC. Recent examples include long-term acoustic tracking of adult sturgeon and a collaborative project focused on the removal of ghost nets (read more).
Applications Now Being Accepted for Caribou Habitat Restoration Fund
The Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation (HCTF) is now accepting applications from the public for the Caribou Habitat Restoration Fund. This fund was created through a $2 million grant from the Province of British Columbia to the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation to aid in caribou habitat restoration.
“Our provincial Caribou Recovery Program recognizes the need for a number of actions to help recover caribou populations, including habitat restoration,” says Forests, Lands, Natural Resources Operations and Rural Development Minister Doug Donaldson. “Earlier this year we were able to direct funding to the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation for that purpose.”
Since the Fund was first announced in April 2018, the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation has supported projects in the Kootenay-Boundary and Skeena regions designed to support caribou habitat. Approximately $1.5 million is available for projects in this funding round.
Human influence on the landscape – including forestry, mining, and roadbuilding – has altered caribou habitat. Projects pursued under the Fund will focus on restoring habitat through both functional and ecological approaches. Examples of functional restoration activities include planting trees, spreading coarse woody debris and installing fences to disrupt linear thoroughfares that advantage predators, whereas ecological restoration activities include encouraging native plants and trees that support the return of caribou habitat to its undisturbed state.
“Investing in habitat restoration is a key component of caribou recovery,” said Brian Springinotic, chief executive officer, Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation. “We are pleased to work with the Province to improve conservation outcomes for these vulnerable and iconic herds.”
Interested applicants are encouraged to visit the CHRF webpage to learn more about funding priorities. Applications will be accepted until January 11, 2019 and successful projects will be announced in spring of 2019.
Since its inception in 1981, the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation has invested over $180 million in grant money to more than 2,800 conservation projects in B.C., with the goal to restore, maintain or enhance native fish and wildlife populations and habitats.