BC trust fund gives $5.7M to support 116 conservation projects
VICTORIA, BC-British Columbia's Habitat Conservation Trust Fund (HCTF) is providing a total of $5.7 million in funding to support 116 fish and wildlife conservation projects across the province. This includes $500,000 for steelhead recovery plans being implemented on Vancouver Island and in the Georgia basin. Among the other major commitments are: $140,000 to support East Kootenay grassland ecosystem restoration; $139,150 to support habitat restoration for bighorn sheep, elk, mule deer and mountain goat in BC's southern interior; $94,750 to study the Swan Lake caribou herd, in conjunction with the Teslin Tlingit First Nation and the Yukon government; and $86,000 to study Shuswap Lake rainbow and lake trout stock status and their recreational fishing potential. In announcing the Trust Fund allocations, Water, Land and Air Protection Minister Bill Barisoff observed that "this funding supports a wide variety of projects, from restoring rivers and streams in every region of the province to studying wildlife populations to ensure that we have the best science available to make informed management decisions." The HCTF derives most of its monies from surcharges on angling, hunting, trapping and guide-outfitting licences. Court awards, along with voluntary contributions and sales of educational materials provide additional revenue. Since 2002, the trust fund has directed more than $22 million toward conservation, enhancement and stewardship projects throughout BC, and since 1981, the HCTF and its predecessor, the Habitat Conservation Fund, have provided almost $81 million.