Cranbrook, BC: the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation (HCTF) has announced $9.2 million in funding for more than 180 individual wildlife, freshwater fish, and habitat conservation projects across British Columbia this year.
“This is no small feat,” said Dan Buffett, CEO of HCTF. “It reflects a diversity of funding from our core contributors ( hunters, anglers, trappers and guides ), court awards, provincial government contributions and endowments, and our partners such as the Forest Enhancement Society of BC (FESBC).”
Through cooperation with conservation groups like FESBC, HCTF is able to support projects such as the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development’s study of grizzly bear mortality in the Kootenay region. This project builds upon a large base of research to provide recommendations on how best to solve pressing conservation concerns in a region with one of the highest rates of human caused grizzly bear mortality in the province.
Project lead Clayton Lamb is working with researchers and local authorities in the Elk Valley to track bear populations and implement precautionary measures designed to limit human/bear conflict.
“Our project blends scientific rigour and a large group of collaborators to achieve on-the-ground conservation for grizzly bears and the people who coexist with them. Through HCTF and FESBC’s funding, we have been successful in monitoring over 50 grizzly bears in south eastern BC,” says Lamb.
To date, the project has achieved a number of meaningful conservation actions, including removing uncontrolled roadkill dumping sites near communities where bears were feeding, breaking ground on roadkill-reducing underpasses along Highway 3 near Fernie, and reducing resource road densities throughout the Elk Valley. This project is an excellent example of how conservationists across the province are taking in-depth scientific research and applying it to practical conservation solutions to the benefit of both BC’s wildlife and the human populations that coexist with them.
Other HCTF funded projects taking place in the Kootenay region:
- $68,000 for invasive plant management and forage improvement on bighorn sheep, elk, mule deer and white-tailed deer winter ranges, co-funded by FESBC
- $122,800 for habitat enhancement and connectivity improvement for the Bull River bighorn sheep population
- $147,500 to support the Kootenay Region River Guardian Program which provides a compliance presence, collects angler survey data, and educates the public about sport fish populations across the region
FESBC’s Executive Director Steve Kozuki is “thrilled to partner with the trusted and respected Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation to improve wildlife habitat. With their first-in-class management of funds and projects by talented and professional staff, we know that we are maximizing benefits for wildlife in British Columbia.”
Each project funded through HCTF is reviewed by a multi-level, objective technical review process prior to final Board review and decision. HCTF’s Board of Directors ensures that species important to BC 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.