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Outdoors licences will help fund steelhead and other projects in Kamloops region

The Habitat Conservation Trust Fund (HCTF) will distribute a record $9.2 million in funding for more than 180 wildlife, freshwater fish and habitat conservation projects
Steelhead
Last year, the the federal government declined to list the steelhead after the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada submitted the findings of a rare emergency assessment. The government said protection under SARA would be prohibition-based and therefore not lead to timely, proactive steps to increase the species’ productivity.

Money collected as part of hunting, fishing and guiding licenses in the province is part of $9.2 million set to be spent on conservation projects in the coming year, including several in the Kamloops region.

The Habitat Conservation Trust Fund (HCTF) will distribute a record $9.2 million in funding for more than 180 wildlife, freshwater fish and habitat conservation projects.

Highlight projects in the Thompson-Nicola and Cariboo regions include $70,000 for continued research into moose population trends thorough the Central Interior, $79,000 for continued monitoring of the struggling Interior Fraser steelhead and $28,000 for research into how high-elevation forestry blocks are used by large mammal species.

The HCTF lists about $500,000 in projects for the Thompson-Nicola region, plus a number of pending projects.

HCTF CEO Dan Buffett said the organization typically gives grants to about half of the proposing organizations who submit projects for approval. Those organizations include First Nations groups, non-governmental organizations, the provincial government and individuals.

The organization also typically contributes about $1 million for educational programs that might take classroom kids out into nature or provide workshops that emphasize the importance of conservation work.

Other projects receiving funding through the trust include the operation and maintenance of the Bonaparte Fishway and Bonaparte Lake Dam, the training of wetlands stewards in the Kamloops area, white sturgeon population monitoring in the Fraser River, Sapsucker habitat enhancement in the Merritt area and others.

This year, the HCTF partnered with the Forest Enhancement Society of BC to support these projects, including an initiative to enhance fisher habitat in the Thompson-Cariboo and other regions.

Fishers, members of the weasel family, have had their habitat impacted by forestry operations. As a result, the BC Fisher Habitat Working Group is trying to work with forestry companies to decrease that impact.

For more information on HCTF projects, including a complete list and map of all projects, go online to the group’s website at hctf.ca.