Prince George, B.C.: the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation (HCTF) is proud to announce over $8 million in funding for 167 fish and wildlife conservation projects throughout B.C. this year, with over $1 million allocated to projects in the Omineca-Peace region.
For over 40 years, the 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 Omineca-Peace is a multi-year prescribed burn program which aims to restore wild sheep habitat in current and historical ranges. By treating grasslands with prescribed fire, forage will improve in quantity and quality, and sightlines will increase for better predator detection.
“The overall goal of the Wild Sheep Habitat burn program is to restore and enhance habitat to retain healthy and sustainable sheep populations and to support ecosystem diversity at a landscape scale,” says wildlife biologist and project leader Alicia Woods of Ridgeline Wildlife Enhancement. “The use of prescribed fire is the most ecologically appropriate and natural method of habitat treatment in the Stone’s sheep range.”
The project is being supported by the HCTF and the Forest Enhancement Society of BC (FESBC) with $123,462 in co-funding this year. According to FESBC’s executive director Steve Kozuki, “In many areas of British Columbia, forest fires are essential for wildlife habitat for many species and for overall ecosystem health. The experts at HCTF are making a big difference in our natural world.”
HCTF CEO Dan Buffett is proud to work alongside FESBC in this partnership noting, “Collectively we can fund more projects such as prescribed fires and enable our project partners to deliver more conservation work that benefits fish, wildlife, and their habitats.”
Other HCTF-funded projects taking place in the Omineca-Peace region include:
• $84,656 to assess the long-term influence of prescribed fire on forage for Stone’s sheep and elk and make recommendations to current prescribed burning practices (with FESBC funding).
• $254,809 for functional and ecological restoration of approximately 16km of linear corridors in the Clearwater Valley to improve caribou habitat.
• $80,662 to study effects of landscape change on moose health in central B.C. (with FESBC funding).
• $134,910 for restoration of linear features in Sugarbowl-Grizzly Den Provincial Park and Protected Area to reduce predator movement and human disturbance in caribou habitat.
• $15,433 to enhance sightlines and visibility and improve accessibility for the public to enjoy the Tabor Mountain viewing area platform.
Each project funded by the 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.