$469k in Funds for Thompson-Nicola Conservation Projects


On April 16, 2024, Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation (HCTF) announced the 123 projects which are recipients of over $7.5 million* in funding for conservation of fish, wildlife and their habitats in BC. The funded projects include a total of 12 projects in the Thompson-Nicola which are to receive a combined $469,066* in funding:

Fisheries O&M; BC Ministry of Water, Land and Resource Stewardship
  • Headquarters: Maintenance of Menzies Lake’s aeration system
  • Thompson-Nicola: Operation and maintenance of existing lake aeration, stream diversions, outlet fence, riparian fencing, open diversion ditches, and dam structures that enhance the angling opportunities of high-use lakes within the Thompson-Nicola region
  • Bonaparte: Operation and maintenance of the Bonaparte Fishway and the
    Bonaparte Lake Dam
Interior Fraser Wild Steelhead Conservation; BC Ministry of Forests

This project is for the continued monitoring of abundance, productivity and conservation status for wild Interior Fraser steelhead which includes populations in the Thompson and Chilcotin watersheds among Bridge, Seton, Stein, and Nahatlatch watersheds. It will provide scientific knowledge to inform provincial, federal, and First Nation fisheries management planning, processes, and decisions for conservation and responsible use, and encourage coordination of management between provincial and federal fisheries agencies and First Nations.

Williamson’s Sapsucker Habitat Enhancement, Merritt Area; Okanagan Nation Alliance

In 2020-2022, 290 wildlife trees were created for Williamson’s Sapsuckers using fungal inoculation and mechanical methods. In 2024, as many trees as possible will be assessed during the breeding season to see if Williamson’s Sapsuckers or other wildlife are using the trees.

Fraser River Bighorns- Fraser East Disease Assessment and Herd Recovery; Phyla Biological Consulting Inc

This year the project will test and remove adult ewes in chronically sick herds that are shedding the respiratory bacteria Mycoplasma ovipneumoniae (M.ovi) along the east side of the Fraser River study area. It will also conduct extensive ground and aerial lamb counts with the involvement of Indigenous communities and sample a minimum of 25% of lambs/yearlings (born post-treatment) in the prior-year treatment bands to test for the presence and exposure to M.ovi within the young cohort of bighorns that were born post-treatment.

Grassland Small Mammal Communities: Historic Trends and Future Prospects; Thompson Rivers University

Within BC’s threatened semi-arid grassland ecosystem, small mammal communities play a critical role in acting as a prey base for a wide range of species at risk including raptors, snakes, owls, badgers, and other predators. This project will conduct a thorough and timely analysis of a 26-year data set on small mammal and vegetation communities within the grasslands, providing a benchmark managing our grassland ecosystems as ecological and climatic shifts continue in the future.

Developing a Protocol for Monitoring Mixed Species Bat Roosts; BC Ministry of Water, Land and Resource Stewardship

This project will develop simple and affordable methods for determining the presence and ratios of Little Brown and Yuma Myotis in mixed-species bat roosts. This will improve our ability to monitor bat populations by species, assess differential impacts of disease on each species, and ultimately plan species specific and targeted conservation actions.

Simpcw Ském̓cis (Grizzly Bear) Monitoring and Connectivity Study; Estsek’ Environmental LLP

This Indigenous-led initiative will assess grizzly bear populations in the Columbia-Shuswap and their connectivity with bears from other parts of Simpcw Territory. Employing DNA analysis via hair sample collection and habitat evaluations, this study will yield insights into grizzly bear behaviors, population dynamics, and habitat utilization. With these data, the study will inform
Indigenous conservation and management strategies for grizzly bear populations and their ecosystems.

Bull Trout within Simpcwúl̓ecw; Estsek’ Environmental LLP

This seed funding will develop a more detailed plan and study design for a project aimed at enhancing the understanding of bull trout habitat, presence, and movement within Simpcwúl̓ecw’s (Simpcw territory) North Thompson watershed, especially within tributaries of significance to Simpcw. Simpcw First Nation and Estsék’ Environmental Services will conduct a
desktop analysis to provide preliminary information within the study area, which will be followed by field work and sampling.

Ratchford-Myof and Upper Seymour (Caribou Habitat Restoration); Yucwmenlucwu
  • The first project, a collaboration between Splatsin’s Yucwmenlucwu and the Adams Lake Band, will benefit the Columbia North and Groundhog caribou subpopulations through the restoration of approximately 22.8 kilometers of forest resource road in one road network. It will complete on-the-ground field investigations, restoration prescription development, and collection of baseline (i.e., pre-construction) vegetation data.
  • The second project will benefit the Columbia North and Groundhog caribou subpopulations through the restoration of approximately 23.6 kilometers of forest resource road in one road network. It will complete on-the-ground field investigations, restoration prescription development, and collection of baseline vegetation data. This project brings experiences learned from the Bigmouth and Mica Creek restoration projects to aid in the development of restoration strategies targeted at reducing predator movement and creating/enhancing growing conditions.

The full list of recipients is available here, and please note that this list does not include HCTF Action, Capacity, or Community Grants, for which notifications will go out in the summer. HCTF Invasive Mussel Monitoring Grant applicants will be notified in May.

*Note that HCTF’s Final Grant Amount may be subject to funding conditions.