Conservation projects in B.C. got a big boost from the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation.
More than 180 individual wildlife, freshwater fish, and habitat conservation projects will share $9.2 million in funding 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.”
These funding partnerships help support conservation projects like the Southern Interior Mule Deer Project in studying how mule deer population respond to wildlife and habitat change. Conducting research in the Boundary Region, West Okanagan, and Bonaparte Plateau the project hopes to reveal why mule deer populations are declining in BC’s southern interior and provide recommendations on how to restore their abundance in the area.
“What we have heard from Indigenous communities, ecologists, and resident hunters is that the decline of mule deer matters to them and the status quo is no longer sufficient. It is time we bring more science to bear on issues affecting wildlife in BC,” said Dr. Adam T. Ford, Assistant Professor at the University of British Columbia. A combination of GPS tracking collars, trail cameras and pregnancy checks on wild doe deer are being used by researchers to assess changes in deer populations at the study sites.
Other HCTF funded projects taking place in the Okanagan region:
- $28,500 to support the South Okanagan Similkameen Conservation Program to protect fish and wildlife habitat. Co-funded with FESBC.
- $47,129 for assessing the bull trout population in the Upper Shuswap.
- $53,080 for habitat restoration of Black Cottonwood ecosystems in the Kettle River Watershed to help conserve species-at-risk such as the Lewis’s Woodpecker.
All of the projects which receive funding are reviewed by a multi-level, objective technical review process before a final decision is made by the HCTF’s board of directors.