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Posted: April 17, 2013

36 environmental projects supported by CBT

Thirty-six projects striving to help maintain or enhance environmental conditions and environmental education in and around their communities will be receiving over $1 million in support from Columbia Basin Trust (CBT) through its Environmental Initiatives Program (EIP).

“These projects will have positive effects on the Basin environment through both direct action and education,” said Sabrina Curtis, CBT Director, Sector Initiatives, “helping reduce the impacts people have on our region’s aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems.”

One of the approved projects is Our Wish for BC Fish 2013. This environmental education and outreach program raises awareness and encourages stewardship in youth of B.C.’s natural resources. Aimed at Grade 5 students, the program covers a variety of subject matter, including wild habitat preservation, human impacts, trout and sturgeon lifecycles, sturgeon as an endangered species and geographical and historical impacts.

“The response to this program has been overwhelmingly positive, both from the teachers’ perspectives and the students’,” said Leanne Jones, Outreach Coordinator, Kootenay Trout Hatchery. “By offering students interactive, hands-on opportunities to experience alternate methods of learning, we have enabled a wider audience to grasp various concepts. This program is an excellent example of combining learning with fun.”

EIP provides support to community-initiated and -supported projects. It includes small grants geared at projects under $10,000 and large grants that, in the fall 2012 intake, funded projects up to $50,000. See the projects approved for funding.

The next large grants intake will take place in fall 2013. A small grants intake will be opening shortly; visit www.cbt.org/eip for details.

Over the past 11 years, the program has provided over $5 million in funding for environmental conservation, restoration, stewardship and education projects across the Basin. For more information about EIP, visit www.cbt.org/eip. To learn more about CBT’s other environmental priorities, visit www.cbt.org/environment.

Projects in the East Kootenay approved for funding

– Groundswell Network Society, Applied Sustainable Living ($30,000): This project provides hands-on environmental education and outreach programs to improve community ecological literacy through courses, events, media resources and community gardens. www.groundswellnetwork.ca .

– Lake Windermere Ambassadors Society, Lake Windermere Ambassadors Watershed Protection Dialogues ($15,000): This project supports the society in holding a series of workshops and engagement activities aimed at finding ways to collaborate as a community to ensure the protection of water quality and supply in the Lake Windermere watershed. www.lakeambassadors.ca .

– Windermere District Farmers’ Institute, Ecological Services Initiatives: Phase 2 Pilot Expansion Within the Columbia Basin ($20,000): This project supports Phase II of an ecological services initiative on the Columbia River watershed from Canal Flats to Spillimacheen. Included in Phase II are an economic analysis of the existing ecosystem service demo site and the establishment of five new demo sites on agricultural land in the Upper Columbia watershed.

Basin-wide/cross-boundary

The British Columbia Conservation Foundation, Columbia Basin Electric Fence Project ($22,500): This project provides a 50 per cent cost subsidy to Basin residents for electric fence equipment and installation. The project coordinator helps residents install preventative electric fencing suitable to their needs, and works with the BC Conservation Officer Service to respond with fencing to current grizzly/livestock conflicts. www.bccf.com .

Rocky Mountain Trench Natural Resources Society, Quantifying Emissions Reductions for Ecosystem Restoration Projects in the Rocky Mountain Trench ($20,000): This project builds upon 2012 mastication research done by the society and will use an ecosystem restoration database to evaluate potential emissions reduction by shifting from traditional treatment methods to a biomass utilization model. www.trenchsociety.com .

Seepanee Ecological Consulting, Abundance and Movement of Wolverine in the Kootenay Region ($49,180): Little regional data exists on wolverines and it has been suggested that current harvest levels may be unsustainable. To address this, this project includes collecting non-invasive genetic samples from wolverine in the Purcell mountain range using established techniques.

Silverwing Ecological Consulting, Kootenay Community Bat Project: Citizen Science Roost Monitoring ($50,000): This project will follow up from previous success by continuing community-based inventories, landowner visits, education and roost enhancements; evaluating and compiling information on critical bat habitat enhancement; and engaging community members in citizen science to collect long-term monitoring data on bat populations at roost sites in buildings.

Whitebark Pine Ecosystem Foundation of Canada, Whitebark Pine Restoration Planting ($34,500): Whitebark pine is blue-listed in B.C. and listed as endangered under the federal Species at Risk Act. This project involves planting seedlings in suitable Whitebark pine restoration sites in Cranbrook, Kimberley and Golden, and delivering hands-on environmental education programming to various groups. www.whitebarkpine.ca .

Wildsight, Beyond Recycling ($50,000): This school-based environmental education program, based in the Kootenays, provides an action-oriented, solutions-focused curriculum that allows students to recognize the impacts of their lifestyle choices and highlights the importance of individual action. www.wildsight.ca .

Wildsight, I Love My Lake: Columbia Basin ($38,000): This is a social outreach and education project aimed at creating a mainstream water stewardship ethic and culture in the Kootenay region. This project will facilitate the implementation of water science for the long-term health of local lakes. www.wildsight.ca .

Above photo: The endangered white sturgeon is one of the main focuses of the Our Wish for BC Fish 2013 program, which is one of 36 projects receiving support through Columbia Basin Trust’s Environmental Initiatives Program.


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