What is PCAF?

The Public Conservation Assistance Fund provides small grants to organizations and individuals who need financial help to implement a conservation project. Since 1974, the Province of BC and the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation provide approximately $150,000 each year to help implement on-the-ground conservation work, with a particular focus on hands-on, community-based, and public awareness initiatives.

Preferred PCAF projects are those that:

  • have long-range benefits,
  • involve as many volunteers as possible,
  • offer opportunities for organizational capacity building, and
  • raise community awareness and involvement in conservation

  • How much funding can we apply for?

    PCAF will fund eligible expenses up to $10,000 in any one year. You must match the requested funds by contributing a combination of volunteer labour (credited at $15 per hour), materials, or other allowable donations. At least half of your matching funds must be made up of volunteer labour. See the PCAF Application Rules & Guidelines document on the “Apply” tab for more information. To assist as many groups as possible PCAF grants are modest, averaging about $2,500 each. The maximum total amount available over the life of a PCAF project is $20,000.

  • Eligibility

    Projects must be of a conservation nature, with priority given to projects that focus on activities that maintain, conserve or restore native (indigenous) freshwater fish and wildlife species and their habitats.

    Some examples of PCAF projects and activities that we have funded include:

    • building and installing bird nest boxes
    • planting shrubs
    • tagging / monitoring animals
    • restoring riparian areas
    • restoring grasslands
    • building waterfowl nesting floats and boxes
    • fencing to protect sensitive or restored areas
    • improving habitat for freshwater fishes
    • replanting forage species for ungulates to improve winter range

    Some types of projects or activities are ineligible for PCAF funding, including but not limited to:

    • Lecture series or conventions
    • Photographic and film documentaries
    • Promotion of business opportunities
    • Activities required for ongoing maintenance
    • Payment of wages (except for contracted equipment or special expertise required in the field, e.g., a biologist, restoration specialist, etc. See “Other Considerations and Responsibilities” section for more requirements on special expertise.)
    • Vehicle mileage (note that fuel costs can be covered)
    • Salmon-only or marine projects that do not demonstrate clear benefits to freshwater species or their habitats
    • Administrative costs (ex. rent, utilities, etc.)
    • Hatchery activities
    • Design costs for newsletters and websites (printing costs for newsletters are eligible)
    • Routine courses such as First Aid, Small Vessel Operation, etc.

    You can read about some of our recently-funded PCAF projects here, or download a list of the current year’s approved projects.

  • Other Considerations & Responsibilities

    • Grant applications must be approved before commencing your project. PCAF will not fund project activities retroactively.
    • Grant Funds may only be used on the approved project.
    • A mandatory letter of support from your regional Provincial Fish and wildlife biologist is required.
    • If you are requesting funds to pay for special expertise, please include justification for any expert costs and time (i.e. explain what they will be doing and why they are essential to deliver the project). Preference will be given to projects where no more than 25% of the total PCAF request is going to a single expert (multiple experts may be acceptable with sufficient rationale). Note that regular wages for project coordinators are not eligible for PCAF funding.
    • It is your responsibility to ensure that all authorization documents, licenses, and permits are obtained before commencing work. For example, if your project involves working near or on the water then you must apply for a water rights license from the Regional Water Management Branch in the district in which the project is to occur.
    • Any employees, volunteers or agents working on the Project must be competent, properly trained and instructed, and exercise a standard of care as required to undertake and successfully complete the Project.
    • You must ensure that all health and safety standards are met.

  • PCAF Grant Application Cycle

    Please note that the timeline for the 2020-21 PCAF intake and application cycle has been adjusted. See Apply tab for more information.

    1. Annual Application Deadline May 15
    2. Proposal Review & Funding Decisions (Mid-May to mid-June)
      Submitted PCAF proposals are reviewed by the PCAF Advisory Committee, composed of provincial Fish and Wildlife staff, a representative from the Federation of British Columbia Naturalists and the B.C. Wildlife Federation, and staff of the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation. Recommendations for approval are presented to the HCTF Board of Directors, or their delegate, for final funding decisions.
    3. Notifications & Approval letters
      Notification emails will be sent in June to inform applicants about whether or not their PCAF grant was approved for funding. An applicant may be funded for less than the amount requested, or there may be additional conditions to satisfy before the funds are released.
    4. Approval Letters
      Successful applicants will be sent a cheque and a letter of approval to the address listed on the PCAF application. It is suggested that the cheque be deposited in a separate bank account under the name of your Club or Organization (if applicable) in order to facilitate accurate and uncomplicated bookkeeping. Note that an independent audit may be undertaken at the discretion of the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation.

You can view the list of PCAF projects funded in 2019 here.

The deadline to submit a PCAF Application is Spring 2021. HCTF is in the process of building a new Survey Apply online application system. This new cloud-based system will provide significant improvements by streamlining workflow and adding automated services to increase convenience for applicants. We encourage applicants to continue to use the guidelines and resource documents below, however, these documents will not be an exact reflection of the new system structure. New updated worksheets will be posted once they are ready.

Application forms and guidelines have now been updated and are available at the links below. If you intend to apply for further funding to continue the same PCAF project, you must submit a new application each year and include a report, outlining expenditure details and information on the progress of your currently funded PCAF project (See Reporting tab for more details).

As PCAF will not fund activities retroactively, PCAF funded project activities cannot begin until those notifications have been received. We understand that this may impact this summer’s activities, however, we hope that proponents can manage this within the five-year window allowed for the expenditure of the PCAF grant. Thank you for your understanding.

  • PCAF Application Form
  • Instructions for Completing PCAF Application Form
  • PCAF Application Rules and Guidelines

To apply for a PCAF grant, download the PCAF Application Form above and see the accompanying Instructions for Completing PCAF Application Form and PCAF Application Rules and Guidelines for more details.

A mandatory letter of support from your regional Provincial Fish and wildlife biologist is required. Without this letter your application will not be considered.

Once complete, please send the form and any attachments via email to, or mail to:

Public Conservation Assistance Fund
#102 – 2957 Jutland Road Victoria, BC V8T 5J9

You will receive a response from us to confirm we have received your application by either email or phone (if you submitted by mail). If you do not receive an acknowledgement within a few days of emailing your application, please call Courtney Sieben (250.940.9781) to confirm that we have received it.

Once your PCAF project has been completed, a report is required which details the activities that were conducted. If you intend to apply for additional funds, a progress report must be submitted with your new application by the due date.

Note: You have a maximum of five (5) years for the implementation of the project and expenditure of the Grant. A final report and any unused funds must be returned within sixty (60) days of completion, termination or expiration of the allowable term.

Please fill out the above form and include any available photos documenting your project, news clippings, etc. as these are useful for displays, presentations and other public relations activities. Once complete, you can email your completed report to or mail it to:

Public Conservation Assistance Fund
#102 – 2957 Jutland Road
Victoria, BC V8T 5J9

PCAF Projects Profiles