The West Coast Roosevelt Elk Augmentation and Recovery Project is one of the many projects being funded by the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation. (Courtesy of Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation)

Conservation projects in B.C. receive $9.2M in funds from Victoria-based foundation

Vancouver Island projects include marmot, elk, Garry oak ecosystem recovery

Over $9 million in funding will go to more than 180 wildlife, freshwater fish and habitat conservation projects across B.C. this year.

The funding was announced by the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation (HCTF), a non-profit charitable foundation based in Victoria that seeks to improve conservation outcomes of B.C.’s fish and wildlife as well as their habitats. The foundation funds conservation projects and educates and engages the public about the province’s natural assets.

Since 1981, HCTF has provided over $189 million in grants for almost 3,000 conservation projects in B.C.

“This is no small feat,” said Dan Buffet, chief executive of the foundation. “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 B.C. (FESBC).”

One of the organizations being funded is the Marmot Recovery Foundation, which is trying to re-establish the critically endangered Vancouver Island marmot in Strathcona Provincial Park.

READ ALSO: Sayward man guiding without a license ordered to pay $10,000 to conservation fund

According to a release from HCTF, Vancouver Island marmots are one of the rarest mammal species in the world and need help to re-establish and maintain self-sustaining populations in their ranges across the Island. The Marmot Recovery Foundation team uses many strategies to maximize the marmot’s success in their new homes like translocating individual animals, food enhancement during crucial times of the year, tracking marmot populations and habitat restoration in alpine meadows.

“Reintroducing an extirpated species back to the landscape is a long and difficult task,” said Adam Taylor, executive director of the Marmot Recovery Foundation. “HCTF and FESBC’s financial commitment and understanding of the challenges has been key to our efforts.”

Other funded projects on Vancouver Island include $25,000 to facilitate the relocation of Roosevelt Elk from agricultural areas and highways on the Island to wilderness areas of the West Coast region – co-funded by the FESBC and $50,000 for collaborative ecosystem restoration of endangered Garry oak ecosystems on Hornby and Denman islands. There is also $75,000 in funding going to support the community-driven Tranquil Creek Salmonid Recover Project, which is restoring a critical salmon spawning and rearing habitat.

READ ALSO: B.C. tour company fined $35K for baiting bears with peanut butter, meatballs

Each project funded by the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation is reviewed by a multi-level, objective technical review process before it goes to a final board review and decision. The foundation’s board of directors ensures 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.

To see the complete list of funded projects visit hctf.ca/hctf-announces-2020-21-list-of-approved-conservation-projects-across-bc/.

shalu.mehta@blackpress.ca


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