Fourteen grants for new and ongoing projects to help restore caribou habitat in B.C. have been approved by the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation, with funding from the province.
Urbanization, forestry, mining, oil and gas and roadbuilding work have altered caribou habitat, according to the provincial government, which committed $8.5 million in 2018 to support the foundation’s restoration work.
The grants, worth over $1.65 million, were allocated through the foundation’s Caribou Habitat Restoration Fund.
One of the projects is being conducted within a newly protected area under the Intergovernmental Partnership Agreement for the Conservation of the Central Group of Southern Mountain Caribou. The Mount Rochfort project is led by the Nîkanêse Wah tzee Stewardship Society in co-operation with Wildlife Infometrics and Canadian Forest Products Ltd.
With the support of a $192,617 grant provided by the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation, habitat is being restored along a 156-kilometre stretch of road in the Klinse-za caribou-herd area, adding about 7,865 hectares of habitat and contributing to a total of 26,322 hectares of connected caribou range.
Since 2018, the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation has provided 32 grants worth approximately $3.9 million for 23 projects led by First Nations, government, industry and not-for-profit societies.
In 2021, the federal government contributed a total of $5 million over five years for projects that will benefit the Central Group of Southern Mountain Caribou. Five of the approved projects from 2021 will be co-funded by the B.C. government and Environment and Climate Change Canada.
The province’s support of this grant program is part of its ongoing approach to caribou recovery in B.C. Its recovery program aims to restore the iconic Canadian species to a sustainable population.