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New App Encourages Hunters to Become Citizen Scientists

New App Encourages Hunters to Become Citizen Scientists
A new interactive tool is allowing British Columbians to help wildlife biologists monitor moose populations and inform conservation efforts. The B.C. Moose Tracker app, available through iTunes , lets users upload information on the number, sex and location of moose they encounter in the wild directly to an online database. The data will the help the Province monitor moose populations by alerting staff to emerging issues.   The app also includes a digital version of 2016-2018 Hunting and Trapping Regulations Synopsis, a searchable, interactive summary of hunting regulations throughout British Columbia. The app supports the Province's ongoing efforts to strengthen its moose management strategy through the modernization of licensing, inventory and research methods. B.C. Moose Tracker was developed in consultation with the B.C. Wildlife Federation and with the financial support of the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation. "Hunters hold a tremendous amount of knowledge about what's happening out on the landscape,"said Ross Peck, Chair of the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation. "They have long supported - and participated in- important conservation initiatives, and this app provides a new means for them to contribute to the sustainable management of wildlife in B.C." To download the new BC Moose Tracker app, click here .   ...
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Rock Breaking Begins at Seymour Slide Site

Rock Breaking Begins at Seymour Slide Site
The Seymour Salmonid Society and its partners are pleased to announce that work has begun to restore fish migration around the rockslide debris that has blocked the Seymour River for over 20 months. On December 7, 2014, an estimated 50 000 cubic meters of rock fell into the lower canyon of the Seymour River following a catastrophic slope failure. The slide debris blocked the river and caused upstream water levels to rise by almost 10 meters. Acoustic and radio tagging studies have confirmed that the blockage has prevented both adult and juvenile salmon from accessing their primary spawning habitats upstream, creating serious concerns about the survival of salmonids on the Seymour. The river is home to unique runs of wild summer and winter steelhead, currently listed by the Province as a conservation concern. Coho, chinook, chum and pink salmon also use the river as spawning and rearing habitat.     Shaun Hollingsworth, President of the Seymour Salmonid Society, emphasized the effects the blockage will have on the river’s fish populations if left unmitigated: “If these fish remain cut off from their spawning habitats, the Seymour’s wild steelhead and coho populations will likely be reduced to mere remnants within five years....
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Mural Highlights Burrard Restoration Project

Mural Highlights Burrard Restoration Project
Students from North Vancouver elementary schools are helping create a giant stream mural at Mosquito Creek , one of four estuaries restored with funding from the Burrard Inlet Restoration Program . The mural, created by artist Ron den Daas, is a colourful reminder that the streams and estuaries along the Inlet were once prime salmonid habitat.   While salmonids remain an important part of Vancouver’s identity, the growth of the city caused many of its salmonid streams to disappear . Those remaining have been heavily degraded by urban and industrial development.     Mosquito Creek estuary was reduced to less than 1% of its historical size, and that remaining sliver was devoid of suitable habitat for salmon or trout. In a recent article in the North Shore News , the Squamish Nation’s environmental co-ordinator, Randall Lewis, shares his memories of a much more vibrant ecosystem, and references elders’ stories of birds so numerous they “blocked out the sun”. While it’s unrealistic to expect we can rewind these highly altered habitats back to their undeveloped state, the restoration work that’s taken place at Mosquito Creek and other estuaries on the Inlet is a start, offering hope and inspiration to biologists, artists,...
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Quesnel Lake Tagging Program Receives Top Honours

Quesnel Lake Tagging Program Receives Top Honours
HCTF Silver Award winner Lee Wiliston's project was recently featured in the  2016 Cariboo-Chilcotin Fishing Guide . Angie Mindus, editor of the Williams Lake Tribune , wrote the following article about the Quesnel Lake tagging program, and has kindly agreed to let us republish the story here.   High-Tech Tagging Program Unravels Mysteries of Quesnel Lake   A five-year study examining the effects of angling pressures on resident rainbow, bull and lake trout in Quesnel Lake has netted a prestigious provincial award, accolades from professionals in the field and critical information to ensure the long-term survival of the species. The Quesnel Lake fish tagging program, which was launched in 2013 in response to public reports of improved fish numbers in the lake and requests to review the restricted fishing regulations, is entering its fourth year and relies on a winning combination of a high tech fish-tracking system and good oldfashioned reporting from anglers. Lee Williston, study leader and senior fisheries biologist with the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, said he couldn't be happier with the results. "The knowledge we have gained over the last three years has really exceeded all our expectations:' Williston said. "The number one...
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New Program Boosts Funding for BC Conservation Lands

New Program Boosts Funding for BC Conservation Lands
    The Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation (HCTF) has announced a new funding program to help NGOs cover the costs of looking after BC’s conservation lands. The HCTF Land Stewardship Fund will provide approximately $125,000 a year for activities that improve habitat on conservation properties owned and managed by NGOs. There are more than 100,000 hectares of NGO-owned conservation lands in British Columbia, encompassing a wide range of habitat types. The properties are found in every region of the province, but tend to be concentrated in biodiversity “hotspots”, such as the South Okanagan, Lower Mainland and Gulf Islands. In these areas, the purchase of private land has become an important – but expensive –tool for protecting key habitats from human development. Laura Matthias, Land Manager and Biologist with the Salt Spring Island Conservancy, says the new granting program is a wonderful new initiative that will help fill a strong need for resources to maintain or rehabilitate lands that were purchased or donated for their conservation values. “It’s a big undertaking to raise the money required to purchase these properties, and we’re very grateful to the many individuals and organizations that help make it possible,” explains Matthias. “What is often forgotten...
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