BC Hydro’s Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program (FWCP) has announced more than $570,000 in funding for fish and wildlife projects within the Bridge River and Lillooet watersheds.
Projects include a grizzly bear habitat recovery project and an assessment of sockeye salmon which use the spawning channel.
All research and project work will take place in 2012-2013.
"These are important restoration and research projects that target many animals such as the grizzly bear, mountain goat, Western Screech Owl and mule deer buck, as well as the habitat they live in," said FWCP Coastal program manager Allister McLean. "These diverse and important projects reinforce the continued positive partnerships between the FWCP, local First Nations and community groups."
In the Bridge River Restoration Area, the Gates Creek Salmon project ($165,930), led by the Lillooet Tribal Council, enters its fourth year. The project includes a fry enumeration project at the entrance to the spawning channel, an assessment of the sockeye salmon using the channel and an assessment of the survival of eggs deposited in Gates Creek.
In its second year, the Grizzly Bear Recovery Habitat Action project ($146,836), which is led by the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations (MFLNRO), will continue to verify habitat areas for berry production, map priority areas for management and raise awareness about grizzlies in the area.
Also in its second year, the Mule Deer Buck Migration and Habitat Use project ($31,620), led by the Ministry of Forests and Lands, will monitor the movement of this species using radio collars in order to determine migration routes, residency patterns, seasonal ranges and daily buck habitat use during post hunting periods. This research will provide deer harvest and habitat management recommendation for the species.
An inventory of fisher populations and reproductive dens ($19,550), led by Davis Environmental Ltd., wraps up its final year of assessment. Hair snags will be analyzed and a population estimate will be completed. Research on cavity bearing trees as reproductive dens will also be completed, along with the identification of potential wildlife habitat areas. Fishers are members of the weasel family.
The Identification of Mineral Lick Locations and Use by Mountain Goats project ($52,545) was given funds to determine habitat use and will be led by Cooper-Beauchesne.
Funds in the amount of $30,000 have been allocated to the first phase of the Sekw’el’was Seton River Corridor Conservation and Restoration Project. Led by the Cayoose Creek Indian Band, research will be conducted throughout the year in order to compile a restoration plan for the area.
Also in its first year, the Ministry of Forests and Lands was given $35,000 in funds to determine the habitat use of the Western Screech Owl in the Bridge-Seton Area.
A total of $90,000 has been allocated to Phase 5 of the Lillooet Powerhouse Foreshore Restoration project, led by the Lillooet Naturalist Society. That project will continue the removal of invasive plant species from the area and replace them with native plant species grown in the native plant nursery that was established for the project in 2009. The project will also continue to assess wildlife usage in the area.
The FWCP in the Coastal region has funded approximately $7 million in projects in the southern interior since 1999.
FWCP funds are provided through BC Hydro and managed in a partnership with the Province of British Columbia and Fisheries and Oceans Canada to conserve and enhance fish, wildlife and their supporting habitats in areas previously damaged because of the creation of BC Hydro-owned and operated generation facilities in the Coastal, Columbia and Peace regions of BC.
BC Hydro says applications are reviewed annually in the Coastal region by both technical and board-level committees that include representation from all program partners, First Nations and the public. Projects are chosen based on technical merit, cost vs. benefit, level of partnership, linkages to watershed-specific priorities and overall benefit to the FWCP’s mandate and vision.