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Granted: elk winter range in West Kootenay to be enhanced as part of new funding cycle

Timothy Schafer Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
By Timothy Schafer Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
August 13th, 2023

The Upper Kicking Horse Canyon winter habitat of Kootenay elk will receive a kick from a B.C. non-profit, environmental granting organization in its effort to help the ungulates thrive and flourish.

The Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation (HCTF) and the Forest Enhancement Society of BC (FESBC) will partner with the project — for $63,580 in co-funding — to enhance the elk winter range in the canyon, located just east of Golden.

In addition to the Rocky Mountain elk, mule deer and whitetail deer will benefit in the project that will enhance 112 hectares of habitat — a project which began last year by the Golden District Rod and Gun Club.

Enhancement work will involve the thinning of immature forest to promote forage growth, allow for ease of elk movement, increase elk predator detection and improve forest structure for snow interception, noted project lead Brian Gustafson, in a press release.

“The main goal is to increase the amount of usable habitat for elk in this important area on the landscape,” he said.

The project is part of a total of $1.2 million given to Kootenay region projects, and a slice of the over $8 million in funding provided for 167 fish and wildlife conservation projects across the province.

Project placement

Other HCTF-funded projects taking place in the West and East Kootenay include:

• $13,200 to inform policy and create guidelines for recreation and industrial activities near wolverine denning areas (with FESBC funding);

• $130,000 for a River Guardian program to maintain or improve angling conditions and native sportfish populations in eight Kootenay region watersheds;

• $95,940 to enhance critical habitat for deer and elk within the Galton Range by removing dense stands of conifers and reducing invasive species (with FESBC funding); and

• $33,184 to restore two wetlands in the ʔakaⱡan̓qu (Peckham’s) area, that have been severely impacted by resource users and will improve habitat for elk, deer and waterfowl.

Each project funded by HCTF goes through a multi-level, objective and technical review process prior to the final board review and decision.

“HCTF’s board of directors ensure that species important to B.C. anglers and hunters are supported, but also place a great deal of importance on conserving whole ecosystems, species-at-risk, and investing in environmental education across the province,” read the HCTF press release.

Source: Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation

Categories: General

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