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Trust foundation to fund habitat projects

By Richmond Sentinel

Published 11:02 PDT, Thu June 11, 2020

The Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation has announced $9.2 million in funding for more than 180 individual wildlife, freshwater fish, and habitat conservation projects across British Columbia this year.

“This is no small feat,” said CEO Dan Buffett. “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.”

Through co-operation with partners like the Forest Enhancement Society of BC, The Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation is able to support conservation projects such as the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development’s study of Northern Goshawk in South Coastal BC. The project, occurring among Coastal and transitional forests of the Lower Mainland region, aims to investigate breeding success and habitat requirements of at-risk Northern Goshawk populations in Coastal and transitional forest landscapes.

The Northern Goshawk’s short but powerful wings and long tail feathers make the species expertly adapted to maneuvering through forest canopies in search of prey such as squirrels, hares, and grouse. Because of these adaptations the birds require structurally mature forest stands to support both the breeding pair and their chicks, however this habitat type is increasingly becoming fragmented due to forest harvesting activities. As a result, the species has been recognized as threatened by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada and has been placed on BC’s provincial red list. To ensure the survival of the species, it is necessary to fill in some gaps in the scientific understanding of the species and pinpoint crucial habitat areas within their range.

This is where wildlife biologist Melanie Wilson and her team come in.

Utilizing modern tracking technology, fitting birds with telemetry backpacks and placing motion cameras to monitor nest sites, researchers can identify highly valuable foraging areas and better understand the types of prey species being delivered to the nests.

“This research provides a unique opportunity to investigate the ecology of this threatened forest raptor and will provide valuable data to inform provincial management recommendations and ensure species recovery,” said Wilson.

Other funded projects taking place in the Lower Mainland region include:

• $29,593 for habitat restoration and invasive species removal, restoring and reconnecting a floodplain forest with the Fraser River, co-funded by Forest Enhancement Society of BC.

• $36,000 for research into grizzly bear ecology, habitat use and movement relative to landscape features and human activity, co-funded by Forest Enhancement Society of BC.

• $47,804 to facilitate a Bull Trout fishery assessment on Chilliwack Lake, utilizing a tag-return study to assess conservation and management priorities.

Forest Enhancement Society of BC’s executive director Steve Kozuki is “thrilled to partner with the trusted and respected Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation to improve wildlife habitat. With their first-in-class management of funds and projects by talented and professional staff, we know that we are maximizing benefits for wildlife in British Columbia.”

Each project funded through Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation is reviewed by a multi-level, objective technical review process prior to final board review and decision. 

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