Build It and They Will Come

HCTF has received news that salmon have returned to MacKay Creek! Shown in the photo below, chum salmon were seen making their way up the creek to spawn. Previously, a large concrete weir prevented fish from accessing the upper estuary and creek during low tide. The weir was removed in September and replaced with a naturalized creek outlet as part of the site's restoration under the Burrard Inlet Restoration Pilot Program . Project leaders are hopeful that cutthroat and rainbow trout will also return to the creek in future years. You can read more about the improvements made at MacKay in our recent blog post .
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Students Help Transform MacKay Creek

Over the past two months, MacKay Creek estuary has undergone an amazing transformation. The estuary's revival is the keystone project in HCTF's Burrard Inlet Restoration Program , a pilot created using funds from a creative sentencing award and designed to maximize habitat benefits through innovative partnerships. One of the project partners is Bodwell High School , located just steps away from the MacKay Creek restoration site on Vancouver's North Shore. The restoration of the MacKay Creek estuary began in September with the removal of a large concrete weir which had previously prevented migrating chum salmon, coho salmon and cutthroat trout from entering the creek. Next, the elevation of the estuary's tidal benches was re-graded, creating a substrate that could support saltmarsh vegetation such as eelgrass and sedges. Large pieces of wood were strategically placed in the water and the tidal benches, both to provide refuge for fish and wildlife and to help discourage Canada geese from  overgrazing the new vegetation. Once the heavy equipment work was complete, it was the students' turn to start planting native species along the banks of the estuary. Bodwell's Green Team, mentored by teacher Bianca Ferrajohn, had previously been involved in removing invasive plants from...
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HCTF and The Land Conservancy of BC

The following backgrounder summarizes HCTF's funding history with The Land Conservancy of BC (TLC), and the Foundation's current involvement in TLC's court process. View HCTF TLC Media Backgrounder
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South Park School Shares Their CEAF Story

We received this wonderful video from South Park Family School in Victoria, BC, showing us how they used their CEAF grant to get students outdoors and experiencing nature.  Thanks to teacher Kathy Inglis for putting this piece together: it looks like the students had a fantastic time, even in the rain!     The Conservation Education Assistance Fund (CEAF) is HCTF’s newest granting program, developed to assist BC educators in getting their students outdoors and learning in and about the environment. CEAF grants cover transportation, field leader and project material costs to facilitate hands-on learning about nature. Field studies and projects funded include creating school yard wildlife habitats, exploring local watersheds and wetlands, inventorying forest and marine ecosystems, and conducting marine and freshwater surveys. Since the very first grants were awarded in 2012, the CEAF program has supported over 5,000 students in experiential learning outdoors. Interested in applying for a CEAF grant for your school? The next application deadline is February 15, 2014 : see here for further details.    
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BC's Wild/ Domestic Sheep Separation Program

The November rut is a magnificent display of strength and agility, a refined ritual that has been practiced by bighorns for centuries. The sights and sounds of these iconic B.C. mammals vying for dominance evoke a sense of respect for the ruggedness of a species that Theodore Roosevelt referred to as "one of the noblest beasts". Yet the rut can be a treacherous time for bighorns, far beyond the risk of injury from their intra-species tussles. For these highly social animals, the real danger can lie with the company they keep. Wild sheep share a number of similarities with their domestic cousins: they will use the same forage and water sources, and can even interbreed. Where bighorn range and domestic sheep operations overlap, it's understandable that a randy ram might find a large flock of domestic ewes worth a closer look. Unfortunately, these forays can have deadly consequences. Even nose-to-nose contact between the two species can result in the transfer of a pathogen lethal to wild sheep. And because it takes time for animals to become symptomatic, an infected (but visibly healthy) bighorn that returns to its herd will spread the disease, potentially decimating an entire population. For nearly a...
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