The Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation (HCTF) is continuing its 40-year mission to protect B.C.’s feathered, furry, and finned wildlife by donating $9.3 million to 175 conservation projects throughout the province. Projects within the Eastern Fraser Valley will receive more than $170,000.
Established in 1981, HCTF was the passion project of a group of forward-thinking anglers and hunters who wanted to find a way to secure funding that would be used to “fund wildlife and fish habitat improvement projects throughout the province,” explained Chuck Zuckerman, president of the B.C. Wildlife Federation.
To date, HCTF has funded 3,230 conservation projects and granted more than $195 million to help and enhance B.C.’s ecological diversity. And a majority of that money was raised through the collection of conservation surcharges paid by B.C.’s anglers, hunters, trappers, and guide outfitters, as well as partner organizations, government contributions, and court fines and endowments.
The 2021/22 HCTF “grant season represents the Foundation’s highest record annual investment, and represents the financial contributions and hard work of many British Columbians,” said HCTF’s chief executive officer, Dan Buffet.
Each project granted HCTF funds goes through a multi-level, objective and technical review process prior to final approval to not only ensure species important to B.C. anglers and hunters are supported, but to also conserving whole ecosystems, at-risk species, and environmental education for all.
Now that HCTF’s Board has made its final decision, more than a half-dozen conservation projects between Chilliwack and Hope will be receiving a total of at least $171,248.
A project monitoring invasive mussels in lakes from Vancouver to Chilliwack is getting $13,551, whereas a project assessing sustainable fishing opportunities for Bull Trout in Chilliwack Lake will be receiving $49,199 as its goal is to improve recreational angling quality and opportunity on B.C.’s large lakes.
The Earthwise Agassiz Habitat Stewardship Initiative will be receiving $22,000 for increasing awareness of habitat and freshwater conservation through citizen science and stewardship activities on a 58-acre piece of land.
In 2015, the flow of the Othello Falls on the Coquihalla River was slowed and rendered almost impassable for migrating fish when bridge construction in the area altered boulders within the falls. To help correct this issue, $30,000 is being used on the Othello Falls Fish Passage Improvement project, which will encompass rock work (blasting and/or rock removal) to restore access to high quality spawning and rearing habitats and eliminate future need for physical transport of fish over the barrier.
Tens of thousands of dollars will also be dispersed amongst local and provincial projects that have their roots in the Fraser Valley: for example, the Renewal and Retention of Nature Stewards in the Fraser Valley project will get $36,498 to help already-engaged private landowners in the region conserve, improve, and enhance wildlife habitat on their properties; however, with a bigger picture in mind, $15,000 will go to the re-design and modernization of the current angling guide and catch and effort reporting platform project. Once complete, the results of this project will hopefully provide recreational and commercial anglers with real-time, quality data.
By funding big and small conservation projects, the HCTF hopes to maintain safe and healthy habitats for the province’s fish and wildlife.
“HCTF combines wildlife biology expertise with their excellent management of funds to deliver outstanding benefits for wildlife.
“With all the the pressures on the land base, the good work of the HCTF does is more important than ever,” said Steve Kozuki, executive director of the Forest Enhancement Society of BC (FESBC), which has partnered with HCTF to support wildlife habitat improvement efforts.
To view the complete list of 2021/22 approved projects, please visit the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation’s website at www.hctf.ca.
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