Fish and wildlife projects receive more than $860k

Array of 34 Columbia Basin projects in line for funding

Thirty-four fish and wildlife projects in the Columbia River Basin watershed are being given more than $860,000 in grants through the Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program (FWCP).

First Nations, conservation and stewardship groups, biologists and agencies will use the money to undertake their projects that will support conservation and enhancement aimed at fish and wildlife in the Columbia River Basin.

Fish projects funded this year focus on kokanee, bull trout, rainbow trout as well as the large Gerrard Rainbow trout and include work to maintain and restore fish habitat. Studies to improve knowledge about fish and abundance are also being funded. Projects funded this year will also focus on managing invasive species including zebra and quagga mussels, and providing more information about the historical range of sockeye salmon.

Wildlife projects funded in 2014 are aimed at conserving caribou, moose, lynx, wolverine, grizzly bears, mountain goats, bighorn sheep, deer, snakes, bats, Western-Screech owls and other birds. The projects include hands-on wetland, riparian and grassland habitat restoration, invasive weed management, and studies to improve the science and understanding, in order to inform future wildlife enhancement projects.

The wildlife projects funded by FWCP in the Columbia Basin this year are diverse and include projects aimed at assessing the risk of white-nose syndrome to local bats, improving survival rates for captive-reared caribou, and reducing grizzly bear and human encounters as a tool to support grizzly movements through populated areas.

“In BC, we are blessed to have hydroelectric facilities that generate clean power,” said Bill Bennett, Minister of Energy and Mines.

“This electricity is the backbone of our economy. It is our responsibility to ensure our resources are cared for and preserved. This year alone, more than $7 million will go towards protecting fish and wildlife in areas with hydroelectric operations, through more than 80 individual projects. The projects are carefully selected by local boards in each region, which have representation from the public, First Nations, DFO, the Province and BC Hydro.”

The funding of $860,000 announced recently is in addition to the Columbia Region’s ongoing projects, for example, the nutrient restoration projects in the Arrow Lakes Reservoir and Kootenay Lake and operations of Meadow and Hill Creek spawning channels. In 2014, in total, FWCP-Columbia will invest nearly $5 million in local fish and wildlife projects. Learn more about the Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program at www.fwcp.ca.

“The Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program provides the funds and relies on local groups and individuals to develop and deliver conservation projects that will meet our conservation objectives,” addedDave White, Public Representative, FWCP – Columbia.

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