Nelson, B.C.: The Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation is proud to announce over $8 million in funding for 167 fish and wildlife conservation projects across B.C. this year, with over $1.2M allocated to projects in the Kootenay region.

For over 40 years, the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation (HCTF) has provided grants to a large network of recipients who undertake conservation projects. With support from the HCTF, a wide range of nonprofit organizations, First Nations and Indigenous communities, Provincial ministries, and community groups implement projects that protect B.C.’s wildlife, freshwater fish, and their habitats. Since 1981, the HCTF has funded over 3,550 projects representing an investment of over $215 million for conservation in B.C.

Among this year’s projects in the Kootenays is the enhancement of the elk winter range in the Upper Kicking Horse Canyon. Currently in its second year and led by the Golden District Rod and Gun Club, the project aims to enhance 112 hectares of habitat for ungulate species such as Rocky Mountain Elk, Mule Deer, and White-tailed Deer.

“Enhancement work will involve the thinning of immature forest to promote forage growth, allow for ease of elk movement, increase elk predator detection and improve forest structure for snow interception,” says project lead Brian Gustafson. “The main goal is to increase the amount of usable habitat for elk in this important area on the landscape.”

Work being done in the area, before conducting pellet plots; Credit: Golden Rod & Gun Club.

The project is being supported by the HCTF and the Forest Enhancement Society of B.C. (FESBC) with $63,580 in co-funding this year. According to FESBC’s executive director Steve Kozuki, “HCTF has some of the best expertise in wildlife biology and habitat management. That’s why FESBC is so pleased to collaborate with HCTF. Together we have improved wildlife habitat on numerous successful projects all around British Columbia. And we will continue to endeavour to assist wildlife to thrive and flourish for generations to come.”

HCTF CEO Dan Buffett is proud to work with FESBC in this partnership noting, “Through this collaboration, we can fund more projects such as enhancing elk habitat, and enable our project partners to deliver more conservation work that benefits wildlife, fish, and their habitats.”

Other HCTF-funded projects taking place in the Kootenays include:

  • $13,200 to inform policy and create guidelines for recreation and industrial activities near wolverine denning areas (with FESBC funding).
  • $130,000 for a River Guardian program to maintain or improve angling conditions and native sportfish populations in eight Kootenay region watersheds.
  • $95,940 to enhance critical habitat for deer and elk within the Galton Range by removing dense stands of conifers and reducing invasive species (with FESBC funding).
  • $33,184 to restore two wetlands in the ʔakaⱡan̓ qu (Peckham’s) area, that have been severely impacted by resource users and will improve habitat for elk, deer and waterfowl.

Each project funded by HCTF goes through a multi-level, objective and technical review process prior to the final Board review and decision. HCTF’s Board of Directors ensure that species important to B.C. anglers and hunters are supported, but also place a great deal of importance on conserving whole ecosystems, species-at-risk, and investing in environmental education across the province.

FESBC would like to gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the Province of British Columbia through the Ministry of Forests.

HCTF Quick Facts 
It is the mission of HCTF to improve the conservation outcomes of B.C.’s fish and wildlife, and the habitats in which they live. We make a difference by funding conservation projects and by educating and engaging the public about B.C.’s natural assets. For over forty years, HCTF has been helping conservation groups and individuals secure funding for conservation projects and providing education to the public about B.C.’s important natural assets. Since 1981, HCTF has provided over $215 million in grants for over 3,550 conservation projects across B.C.