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...
Continue reading

Reminder: HCTF Application Deadline This Saturday

The deadline to apply for a 2014-15  Enhancement & Restoration  grant is this Saturday, November 2nd at 4:30pm . Applications must be submitted via  HCTF Online .  An HCTF staff member will be available this Saturday from 11am until 4:30pm to answer any last-minute questions about the application process: phone 250-940-9781 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  for assistance.   

HCTF Presents Silver Award at Stewardship Evaluation Workshop

The 2013 HCTF Stewardship Evaluation Workshop brought together an inspiring group of some of BC's leaders in stewardship and environmental engagement. Participants presented the results of their HCTF-funded projects, providing great examples of how licence surcharge money is being used to change behaviors and truly make a difference for conservation in BC. In additiona to providing an excellent forum for exchanging ideas about stewardship, the workshop was also a golden opportunity for HCTF to present a Silver Award to one of the participants. Board Chair Harvey Andrusak presented a Silver Award to Barb Beasley for her work in protecting native frog populations. Barb's project initiated the construction of a highway underpass system to prevent frogs and other animals from being crushed by vehicles while migrating across roads. The project may not have moved mountains, but it certainly moved highways and close to forty tons of concrete to create safe passage for frogs and salamanders. You can read more about the " Conserving Amphibian Populations & Connecting Habitats Across Roads " project in our project profiles section, and visit Barb's blog for a full account of tunnel installation, along with some recent project updates. HCTF Evaluation Workshops are held annually, alternating...
Continue reading

PCAF Grants an Additional $59K for Community Conservation Projects

The Public Conservation Assistance Fund ( PCAF ) has approved funding for a dozen hands-on, community-based fish and wildlife projects as part of its fall intake. Grant recipients will use HCTF funds to support the work of dedicated volunteers in providing environmental education programs,  restoring disturbed habitats, constructing boardwalks, fishing docks, and much more.   You can view a complete list of this round’s successful PCAF applicants by downloading our 2013-14 PCAF Approved Projects List (2nd Call) . The next deadline for submitting a PCAF application will be May 15, 2014.

Restoring Nature’s Curves

As part of HCTF's project site evaluation program, staff recently visited a restoration project on the historically channelized and straightened Okanagan River ("Okanagan River Restoration Initiative - Phase II). HCTF (along with a number of partner organizations) is currently funding the reconstruction of a side channel to improve spawning and rearing habitat for trout and salmon. This project will also benefit wildlife species by increasing riparian habitat. In the early 1900s the Okanagan River was re-engineered from a meandering stream to a channelized and diked waterway for the purposes of navigation, flood control and irrigation. This reduced much of the fish and riparian habitats along the river. The  Okanagan River Restoration Initiative (ORRI) is an alliance of government and non-government organizations dedicated to restoring portions of the river to its original configuration, providing habitat for sockeye salmon, rainbow trout and wildlife species at risk such as, Yellow Breasted Chat, Great Basin Spadefoot and Western Screech Owl.  This HCTF project is being undertaken by the Okanagan Nation Alliance (ONA) and project leader Camille Savois-Rivard proudly showed HCTF staff the new side channel which was still under construction at the time of the site visit.  This work had been delayed for several years...
Continue reading