INVESTING IN BC CONSERVATION SINCE 1981

Thank you to everyone who submitted an application prior to the November 1st deadline. Applications are currently being reviewed and applicants will be informed of funding decisions in mid-March 2020. Your next opportunity to apply for a Stewardship grant will be fall of 2020.

HCTF recognizes the importance of environmental stewardship and invests in projects that create stewards. Stewards include individuals, practitioners, and community organizations who take responsibility for promoting, monitoring, conserving, and restoring ecosystems to ultimately result in enduring conservation outcomes for fish and wildlife and their habitats. Proposed projects must align with our purposes as laid out in the Wildlife Act.

HCTF prefers stewardship projects that create stewards through community-based, hands on education and engagement programs, including Citizen Science. Stewardship projects may include some on-the-ground components such as habitat restoration.

Stewardship proposals:

  • Focus on engaging people to increase their knowledge, awareness, and understanding of fish, wildlife and their habitats
  • Have the ultimate goal of changing behaviours and/or attitudes towards fish, wildlife and habitat conservation
  • May involve direct action in which people are stewarding the land (e.g., restoring a wetland, creating specific habitat features, removing invasive plants)
  • May involve indirection action in which proponents work with others to achieve positive outcomes for fish and wildlife (e.g., landowner contact programs, citizen science, hands-on educational programs).
  • Must be based on current best practices to increase conservation behaviours in the target audience.

How Much Money Can I Apply For?

Each year, HCTF provides approximately $600,000 in Stewardship Grants. There is no upper limit on funding requests but there is a 5-year limit to project funding*. Stewardship Grant budgets typically range from $10,000 to over $80,000 annually, with an average grant of approximately $30,000.

Note that projects requesting significantly higher amounts of funding will be reviewed with greater scrutiny to assess cost-effectiveness and to ensure the potential conservation benefits justify this level of funding. When reviewing proposals, our Board also considers the multi-year implications of investments.

* After 5 years of continued HCTF funding, a proponent can access another cycle of funding by reapplying using the Continuing – New 5-Year Cycle application form.

Eligibility

  • Applicant Eligibility

    HCTF Stewardship grants are available to anyone who has who has a good idea that benefits fish, wildlife and habitat in British Columbia. Proponents can include:

    • Provincial government agencies
    • First Nations
    • Local governments
    • Community and conservation groups
    • Universities and colleges, and
    • Individuals (consultants who apply should provide credentials to indicate their abilities to complete the proposal)

    HCTF strongly encourages cost-shared proposals, and project leaders should explore the possibility of partnerships with other organizations or agencies (local, provincial or federal).

  • Ineligible Project Activities

    The following activities and types of projects are not eligible for Stewardship Grant funding:

    • Non-applied research, such as research not related to the increased understanding of population baselines and conservation status of species, and/or research that does not identify key opportunities for restoration, enhancement, maintenance, or acquisition
    • Training costs for project personnel
    • Law enforcement activities
    • Fish rearing, farming, stocking, or hatchery projects
    • Wildlife Rescue Centres
    • Captive breeding and rearing with the exception of activities that are a critical step toward population recovery
    • Feeding of wildlife species with the exception of activities that are part of population recovery projects
    • Control of wildlife species (note that we will consider control of invasive, non-native wildlife species)
    • Salaries for regular Provincial government employees (wages for Auxiliary employees dedicated to the proposed project are eligible)
    • Salmon-only projects that do not also bring benefit to freshwater and terrestrial species or habitats
    • Marine projects outside of intertidal and estuary zones
    • Mapping-only projects that are not integral to the development of a larger, eligible HCTF project
    • Development or production of curriculum guidebooks or publication materials for fishing and hunting, tour activities
    • Information projects on regulations or stocking
    • Conferences
    • Production or sponsorship of commercial programs
    • Stand-alone interpretative services that are not integral to the development of a larger, eligible HCTF project
    • Creation or management of stand-alone electronic databases, websites or file systems

    Please note that all Stewardship Grant proposals have the same eligibility restrictions, deadlines, application requirements, and review criteria as E&R Grants, unless specified otherwise.


Application Cycle

The Stewardship grant stream operates on the same cycle as the Enhancement and Restoration granting stream. HCTF operates on a standard fiscal year, running from 1 April – 31 March. For example, a proposal submitted on November 1, 2019 would request funding to support project activities to take place between 1 April, 2020 and 31 March, 2021. Proposals are approved on an annual basis—a multi-year project must apply EACH YEAR for funding for the next year’s activities.

  • HCTF Online Application Submission

    Submission of HCTF Stewardship Grant Applications is through the HCTF Online application portal. The 2020-21 application deadline is 4:30 PM PST on November 1, 2019. HCTF Online typically opens in early to mid-September, but Application worksheets are available earlier for use drafting your proposal.

  • Annual Timeline for HCTF Projects

    HCTF operates on a standard fiscal year, running from 1 April – 31 March. For example, a proposal submitted on November 1, 2019 would request funding to support project activities to take place between 1 April, 2020 and 31 March, 2021. Proposals are approved on an annual basis—a multi-year project must apply EACH YEAR for funding for the next year’s activities.

    November 1

    HCTF Online Application Submission

    Submission of both HCTF Enhancement and Restoration Grant and HCTF Stewardship Grant Applications is through the HCTF Online application portal. The application deadline this year is 4:30 PM PST on November 1, 2019. HCTF Online typically opens in early to mid-September, but Application worksheets are available earlier for use drafting your proposal.

    November & December

    Review Stage 1: Primary Reviewer Submission

    Applications for NEW projects are first sent to a Primary Reviewer, typically a subject expert, who assesses the project on areas such as its proposed objectives, methodology, and cost/benefits.

    January & February

    Review Stage 2: Technical Review Committee Evaluation

    All Applications (i.e., seed, new, and continuing proposals) are then evaluated on technical merits by a committee of experts, composed of both government and non-government biologists. Our technical committees are divided broadly into Fisheries, Wildlife, Stewardship, Wild Sheep, and White Sturgeon subject areas. The technical reviewers meet to discuss, score, rank, and make a funding recommendation for each proposal based on their technical evaluation and the Primary Review.

    Early to Mid-March

    Review Stage 3: Board

    The HCTF Board of Directors meets in early March to make final funding decisions. The comments and recommendations from the previous stages are taken into account by the Board. Funding decisions are final. For those proposals that are not approved, applicants will receive communication from HCTF explaining the reasons for the decision. Often this feedback can be used to improve the proposal for potential re-submission in future years.

    End of March

    Approved Projects

    A Preliminary Approved Projects List is posted on the HCTF website in mid-March. Official notifications are emailed to individual proponents before the end of the month.

    April

    Conditional Grant Agreement

    Once you have been notified that your proposal has been approved for funding, HCTF will mail you a Conditional Grant Agreement which must be signed and returned to HCTF in order to receive your first installment cheque.

    April 1 – March 31

    Project Activities are Completed

    Proposed project activities can begin on 1 April of the year in which they are approved. If a proposal is approved subject to a funding condition, that funding condition must be met prior to commencing any work.

    Note that HCTF funds multi-year projects one year at a time. To apply for multi-year funding, you must submit a continuing application each year of the project using the appropriate form.

    April 15 the following year

    Reporting Obligations

    Each fiscal year’s project activities must be complete by March 31. Grant Reports are due annually on April 15th.


Conditional Grant Agreement

  • What is a Conditional Grant Agreement?

    The Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation uses conditional grant agreements to transfer monies to a proponent for an approved HCTF project. Unlike unconditional grants (which can be used for any purpose the recipient sees fit), a conditional grant is for a specific purpose and may not be used for any other project.

    The conditional grant agreement is like a contract in that it is signed by both parties and contains specific conditions for spending the approved budget. The underlying basis for the agreement is the proposal submitted by the proponent and approved by HCTF, although HCTF may include additional conditions to the proposal before approving it.

    While each conditional grant agreement pertains to the individual project, there are some terms and conditions common to all HCTF conditional grant agreements. Some of these include:

    • The term of the agreement – April 1st to March 31st unless otherwise specified in the agreement.
    • Reporting requirements are linked to payment process.
    • All project communications materials must recognize funding support from HCTF.
    • Projects must acquire and maintain appropriate insurance and provide HCTF with insurance certification where required.
    • Project leaders are required to obtain written pre-approval from HCTF for any equipment or asset purchases required for the project that cost $1,000 or greater that were not stated in the approved proposal.

    You can view an HCTF sample Conditional Grant Agreement – please note that this is a general template and specific terms may vary depending on the project.

  • Conditional Grant Agreements

    Please note that your project final approval is subject to you (or you organization) entering into a Conditional Grant Agreement with HCTF. In the weeks following the receipt of your preliminary approval letter, you will be mailed two copies of a conditional grant agreement and an accompanying checklist. Please read your grant agreement carefully, and complete all requirements on the checklist before returning to HCTF. Questions? Please contact our Financial Officer.

  • Insurance

    All non-government project leaders will need to provide HCTF with a Certificate of Insurance for General Liability (CGL) indicating that HCTF has been added as an additional insured (see section 9 of the sample Conditional Grant Agreement above for details). Your insurer can assist in completing this certificate. It is your responsibility to ensure that your organization is carrying the correct insurance to deliver the project and to budget for your insurance costs accordingly in your proposal.

    Important Note: For projects that require more than one year to complete (i.e. multi-year projects), a new conditional grant agreement is required for each year of the project and it is tied to the approved proposal for that year.

Stewardship Guidelines and Application Forms

  • Stewardship Proposal Writing Guidelines

    NEW for this year, HCTF has developed specific proposal writing instructions for applicants interested in submitting a Stewardship grant application. Even if you’ve completed a Stewardship application before, there are usually changes to the current year guidelines and forms that you should be aware of. Download the current 2020-21 Stewardship Proposal Writing Guidelines for more information on writing Stewardship grant applications.

    Stewardship Proposal Writing Guidelines

    Refer to the Review & Evaluation page to learn how your application will be assessed, and keep this in mind as you plan your proposal.

  • Stewardship Application Forms

    Stewardship grants use the same proposal forms as E&R grants in the HCTF Online application portal. There are three different proposal types under the Stewardship Granting stream with HCTF:

    1. Seed Projects,
    2. New Projects and
    3. Continuing Projects.

    For proponents wanting to begin drafting their proposals prior to the HCTF Online portal opening, MS Word Applications worksheets are available for each proposal form below. The information you draft here can then be copy and pasted into HCTF online later.

    Budget Template

    For all proposal applications except for seed: you can also start working on your budget table by downloading the following spreadsheet (this is the same spreadsheet that will be available to upload within the online application portal):

    HCTF Grant Budget Table 2019-20

     

    Important Note: Your budget should contain enough detail for reviewers to determine if it is cost effective. Be sure to explain any differences from previous years—if your budget or activities are different from those you predicted, or if you want to alter the length of your project, provide a rationale for these changes.

    Check carefully that you have:

    • placed proposed expenditures in the correct sections;
    • included your full project budget, not just the portions that you are asking HCTF to fund;
    • included only the detailed costs for the coming year;
    • filled in the Multi-Year Budget table and Capital Items table, if relevant;
    • explained any administration fees; and,
    • captured any anticipated partner contributions.

    Seed Projects

    Seed grants are for proponents who have an idea for a new project but need to do some planning and preliminary work to develop their idea before submitting a full new proposal. Proponents may apply for seed funding of up to $5,000 to help fill information gaps, explore project feasibility, identify project partners, and prepare technical information. Note that this funding is not for a small, stand-alone project; the seed grant activities are meant to culminate in development of a full HCTF proposal (submitted within two years).

    Seed Application Worksheet

    New Projects

     

    A project is considered NEW if:

    • It has not been funded by HCTF before;
    • It is related to a previously funded HCTF project, but the objectives and/or activities have changed substantially from those originally approved;
    • It was not approved for funding in a previous year, but has been revised to address the Technical Review Committee’s and/or the Board’s concerns.

    Note that HCTF funds multi-year projects one year at a time – you must submit a continuing application each year of the project. If you are beginning a new project and are unsure of the number of years you will be requesting funding for, use the “New Project – Year 1 of a Multi-Year Project” form and provide an estimate of future funding requests. Do not submit a new, single-year proposal each year.

    New Project – Single year

    If you have a new project that has not been funded by HCTF before and you are applying for only one year of funding, select this proposal type within HCTF Online.

    New project – Single year Worksheet

     

    New Project – Year 1 of a Multi-year project

    If you have a new project that has not been funded by HCTF before and you are applying for more than one year of funding, select this proposal type within HCTF Online.

    New project – Year 1 of Multi-year Worksheet

     

    Note that HCTF funds multi-year projects one year at a time – you must submit a continuing application each year of the project (use the Continuing Form). If you are beginning a new project and are unsure of the number of years you will be requesting funding for, use this form and provide an estimate of future funding requests in the Multi-Year Budget table. For continuing proposals, do not submit a new, single-year proposal each year.


    Continuing Projects (Year 2 or later)

     

    A project is considered to be Continuing if:

    • It is a multi-year project; and
    • It is in its second or subsequent year;
    • It develops or extends a previously funded project; the objectives are essentially the same as originally approved, though some aspect (e.g., location, site, species, timing) may be altered.
    Continuing Multi-year

    Continuing projects need to provide information on progress-to-date for previous years’ work, as well as how the current year’s work will contribute to the overall project objectives.

    Continuing Multi-year Worksheet

     

    Continuing – New 5-Year Cycle

    Please note that projects with a lifespan longer than 5 years must be identified and approved by HCTF at the initiation of the new project. HCTF requires that these projects be sectioned into 5-year cycles.

    Once a longer-term continuing project has completed 5 years, HCTF will re-evaluate the project’s goals and objectives in light of HCTF’s other funding priorities. This proposal phase should clearly explain what has been accomplished over the past 5 years, and provide a detailed for the work plan for the next 5-year cycle.

    • The first 5-year cycle should be submitted using the “New Project – Multi-Year” form.
    • Subsequent 5-year cycles (i.e., when beginning a new 5-year cycle) use the “Multi-year-Year 1 of New 5-Year” form.
    • Year 2, 3, 4 and 5 use a Continuing Project form.
    Continuing New 5-year cycle

 

How to Apply – HCTF Online

Stewardship Grant Applications are submitted through the HCTF Online application portal. The 2020-21 application deadline is 4:30 PM PST on Friday, November 1, 2019 this year. To access the application site you must apply for an HCTF Online Account before logging in (see below for details).

Note that the online application portal typically opens in early to mid-September. For those applicants who wish to begin drafting their proposals ahead of the opening date, updated Application Worksheets in MS Word and the Excel Budget Spreadsheet are available above. Once the online application portal opens, the proposal can easily be copied and pasted from the worksheets into the online application.

Prior to logging in, please refer to the HCTF Online User Guide for tips on navigating the online portal and for instructions on how to print a copy of your submission.

Logging in to the HCTF Online Application Portal

The HCTF Online portal is now closed. Thank you to everyone who submitted a proposal by the 4:30 pm deadline on November 1st, 2019. The online application system will open again in September 2020.

Stewardship Application Checklist

To ensure you submit a good proposal, make sure to:

  • Explain how your project matches HCTF goals
  • Include details: What, Where, How, When, Why
  • Clearly explain how your project outcomes will create stewards for BC’s fish, wildlife and their habitat
  • Include enough detail in the proposal form, do not rely on attachments
  • Complete all sections in the form
  • Proofread your proposal for clarity, typos, and good grammar

If you have questions about your project’s eligibility, your proposal, what our reviewers are looking for, or any other details of application and grant management, contact us to ask!

How are Grant Applications Reviewed?

Each proposal goes through a multi-level, objective, technical review process prior to final Board decisions. These three main stages of review, as outlined on the Stewardship Grant Cycle webpage include an assessment by a primary reviewer, and a review by a technical committee, prior to being sent to the Board for final funding decisions.

  • What do our primary reviewers look for?

    • Does the proposal define the management or conservation issue well?
    • Is the need for this project clearly supported?
    • Are the project objectives clearly explained and linked to the issue statement?
    • Are the objectives realistic and attainable?
    • How well are the activities and methods explained?
    • Is the timeline realistic?
    • Does the proposal provide a plan or strategy to evaluate success?
    • How well are the measures of success explained?
    • How well does the proposal describe larger ecosystem benefits and implications to fish and wildlife populations?
    • Are the potential positive and negative impacts of the project explained?
    • How realistic is the project budget?
    • Is the proposed work technically feasible?

     

    Download the Technical Assessment of your Proposal: Review Criteria at a Glance document for more information about what our technical reviewers look for.

  • What do our technical reviewers look for?

    • A detailed description of the conservation issue you will address
    • A summary of your prior experience and knowledge in leading this type of work
    • Realistic objectives that are linked to the issue statement
    • Well-explained methods which are based on current and accepted best practices for stewardship
    • Clearly defined target audience with an explanation of how your proposed approach is designed to reach that audience
    • For educational and outreach programs, there is ongoing contact rather than only a 1-time event
    • Clear and specific Measures of Success*
    • For Citizen science programs or other specialized surveys, that you have the necessary technical expertise in place
    • Tangible outcomes (How many stewards will be created? What attitudes or behaviours will change as a result of this project? How will this project improve conservation of fish and wildlife?)

    *Measures of Success should be specific quantitative targets that can be used to track desired change and project success. They can be short, medium or long term. Although it is common to report on outputs (e.g. number of workshops held, number of nestboxes installed), assessing conservation success also depends on evaluating outcomes (e.g. changes in landowner behaviour, reduction in mortality of migrating western toads).

     

    Download the Technical Assessment of your Proposal: Review Criteria at a Glance document for more information about what our technical reviewers look for.

  • What does our Board look for?

    • Alignment with HCTF priorities and strategic plan
    • Eligibility of activities and expenses
    • Cost-effectiveness—do the proposed benefits justify the investment of HCTF funds compared to other projects?
    • Conservation need—did the proposal build a compelling case that the project will lead to positive conservation outcomes for fisheries, wildlife, and habitat in BC?
    • Are there management applications from this work?
    • Endurance of conservation benefits – will the benefits to fish/ wildlife/ habitat persist over biologically relevant timeframes?

Grant Report templates were updated in 2019. There are three grant report templates: Seed Grants, Annual Grants, and Final Year Reports for Multi Year Grants. Please ensure you use the correct and up-to-date form for your project (*** i.e. the versions dated October 2018 in the footer).

Reporting Requirements

  • Why do we have reports?

    HCTF has a responsibility to our contributors to ensure that funds are invested in activities and projects that contribute to conservation of fish, wildlife, and habitat in BC. Grant reports allow HCTF to evaluate:

    • compliance with the proposal (that the funds were used for the activities and goals for which they were intended) and
    • conservation outcomes (or reasonable progress towards them).

  • Report Submission

    Consistent with HCTF’s operating cycle and with the end date of most conditional grant agreements, projects must be completed by March 31st.

    • All grant reports are due April 15th.
    • Email your report to reporting@hctf.ca
    • The report should include:
      • High quality photos (with photo credit if necessary)
      • Also attach your final invoice

    Important Note: If your project has produced an annual technical report or journal article, you may attach that document. However, you must still complete Section 6 of the Grant report to provide a synopsis of your project’s results for the grant year, and discuss the other relevant components of this section (i.e. challenges, future activities, contribution of this year to overall project objectives, etc.).


Reporting Templates

  • Seed Grant Form

    A report form specifically designed for Seed Grants was created in 2019 (please see report template and instructions below).
    A seed report should describe:

    • the activities undertaken with the seed funding
    • whether or not the project has led to, or will result in, a full HCTF proposal next year, and if not, why (e.g., project is not feasible based on the work done for the seed project, etc.).
    • which of the proposed activities were conducted and their results;.
    Seed Grant Report Form Template Seed Grant Report Instructions

  • Annual Grant Form

    Choose this form for single year projects, or for each year of a multi-year project except the final one.
    HCTF requires project leaders to submit an annual grant report describing activities and expenditures undertaken with HCTF funding under that year’s Conditional Grant Agreement (please see report template and instructions below). Reports are reviewed by staff to ensure the objectives and activities in the approved project proposal are met.

    Important Note: The final invoice for each year of the Grant Agreement will only be paid when a Grant Report has been received and approved by HCTF.

    Please ensure you:

    • Clearly tie the activities in your Grant Report to the activities planned in your approved proposal
    • Report if some objectives or activities could not be completed as proposed and explain why
    • Make sure the expenditures you provide in your Grant Report match the expenditures invoiced to HCTF for the year of the Grant Agreement
    Annual Grant Report Form Template Annual Grant Report Instructions

    Example of reporting obligations for a 3 year project with HCTF:

    Year 1 – submit an annual Grant Report by April 15th to receive the 20% hold back on the Year 1 budget.
    Year 2 – submit an annual Grant Report by April 15th to receive the 20% holdback on the Year 2 budget.
    Year 3 – submit a Final Year Grant Report by April 15th (Sections 1 -10 cover the Year 3 activities and expenditures and Section 11 summarizes Years 1 through 3 inclusive) to receive the 20% holdback on the Year 3 budget.

  • Final Year Grant Form for Multi-Year Grants

    For projects spanning more than one year, the multi-year final report is a summary or roll-up of all the completed activities and results across the years of the project. The first half of the form is intended for reporting on the final year, and the second half of the form allows for a multi-year project summary. The Final Year Grant form template and instructions are provided below.

    Final Year Grant Report Template Final Year Grant Report Instructions


Other Attachments

  • Technical Reports

    Some HCTF projects produce a comprehensive technical report detailing the methods and analyzing the results. Technical reports may require more time to complete and are therefore not tied to the final payment if the Grant Report is complete. HCTF requires an electronic copy of the technical report once it is completed. Ideally, we would like to receive it as an attachment to the Final Year Grant Report.

  • Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles

    Some projects may produce information that will be published in a peer-review journal. These articles do not constitute a final report, but are of interest to HCTF. We recognize that published journal articles take time for publication. Please send us a PDF copy of the published article or a link to the article, once it is available.

 

Project Evaluation

HCTF uses a variety of methods to assess approved and/or completed projects to ensure that Foundation grants are providing the greatest conservation return on investment. Each year, HCTF staff and/or Board select projects and meet with the project leaders to review project performance. This evaluation includes assessing on-the-ground accomplishments as well as reviewing financial records. For further information, contact the Manager of Biology.

 

  • Project Change Requests

    If circumstances have changed and your approved project requires modifications from your original proposal in terms of objectives, activities/methodology, or budget allocation, you must submit a written request to HCTF using the Project Change Request Form.

    Project change requests can be submitted at any time and should be sent to karen.barry@hctf.ca. Depending on the nature of your request, it will be reviewed by either HCTF staff or an appropriate technical review committee.

  • Contract Extensions

    Contract extensions are intended for projects where activities in the proposal could not be completed within the original timeframe. If you also have changes to your project objectives, budget or activities please submit a Project Change request form (see above).

    If you are unable to complete your project within the fiscal year of your Conditional Grant Agreement (April 1 through March 31st, unless otherwise specified), you will need to request a Contract Extension to extend your Agreement into the next fiscal. The annual deadline for contract extension requests is February 15th. An email from the Finance Officer will be sent in early January with the Contract Extension Request Form and instructions to email the completed request to reporting@hctf.ca.

    Please note that even though activities and expenditures will occur in the following fiscal year, they will still be invoiced and reported on under the original Agreement. The Grant Report (see Reporting Tab) will be due when that year’s activities are complete.

    In some cases, a project may have a Contract Extension concurrently with another funded year of the project. HCTF requires that expenditures and project outcomes for each grant must always be tracked, invoiced and reported on separately. That also means that any unspent funds from one grant cannot be “rolled into” the project budget for a subsequent year.

    For example, a multi-year project may receive a contract extension to complete Year 1 activities concurrent to activities already approved for Year 2. Each of these proposals is considered a separate contract. Therefore, you must report for each of them separately by completing a Grant Report for each of these project years, reporting against their respective proposals. That is, you would submit a Grant Report for Year 1, reporting against the Year 1 proposal; and another Grant Report for Year 2, reporting against the Year 2 proposal, even though the Year 1 activities took two years and happened at the same time as the Year 2 activities.

  • HCTF Acknowledgement

    The support provided by HCTF must be acknowledged in any publicity issued, printed or distributed, including signs, displays, reports, announcements, articles, press releases, or media interviews. Full information on HCTF communications guidelines and copies of the HCTF logo are available here.

Stewardship Project Profiles