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Islands conservancy receives funding to address biodiversity loss

Three-year funding boost ensures the continuation of species-at-risk program
Threatened yellow-montane violets in the Mt. Tuam protected area on Salt Spring Island. (Photo by Laura Mattias)

The Island Trust Conservancy has received a $660,000 funding boost to address biodiversity loss in the Island Trust area.

The money, from the federal government via Environment and Climate Change Canada, will ensure the conservancy’s species-at-risk program can continue over the next three years.

The species-at-risk program launched in 2021 with a three-year grant of $643,000 from the Canada Nature Fund’s species-at-risk stream.

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Program coordinator Wendy Tyrrell said in a release this week that getting the opportunity to continue building on the program’s momentum is rewarding.

“Initial surveys and projects have helped us to discover species at risk in places we had never recorded them before. By working collaboratively we can better inform management decisions, increase awareness, and support local efforts across the islands to preserve and protect species and ecosystems at risk of extinction,” she said.

The program has worked on multiple large-scale conservation projects in the Island Trust area. On Salt Spring Island, the conservancy started providing pest-proof areas for the threatened yellow montane violet, a key food source to the only population of fritillary butterflies in Canada. During 2021, more than 11,000 native plants and two million seeds were planted on the island and in 2022, 90 new yellow montanes were observed by researchers.

The Island Trust Conservancy is the conservation land trust for more than 450 islands in the Salish Sea. Since 1990, the conservancy has protected more than 113 properties, covering over 1,375 hectares of land.

Almost 300 species are listed as being at-risk of extinction in the Islands Trust area, one of the most biologically diverse areas in Canada, according to the conservancy.

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About the Author: Nanaimo Bulletin News Staff

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