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Posted: January 22, 2018

Trust approves $870,000 in environment grants

32 projects to improve our natural environment

From counting bird species to increasing composting, 32 projects from around the Columbia Basin will address environmental well-being thanks to $870,000 from Columbia Basin Trust Environment Grants.

“These projects will make a difference in improving terrestrial and aquatic habitat, helping communities adapt to climate change, monitoring water resources and engaging Basin residents in environmental stewardship,” said Tim Hicks, Columbia Basin Trust Senior Manager, Delivery of Benefits. “Together, these projects will contribute to the well-being of the diverse landscapes, waterways, fish and wildlife in the Basin.”

All projects focus on one or more of the Trust’s four environment goals: ecosystems, climate, water or environmental education. See the complete the list of projects.

One recipient is Biologist Penny Ohanjanian who will help reintroduce northern leopard frogs to the Columbia marshes. Once widespread, this species of frog is currently endangered in B.C. with populations limited to the Creston Valley and a recently established population at Bummers Flats in the East Kootenay. This project aims to re-establish them near Brisco.

“It is vital reintroduce the frogs to as many sites as possible to avoid extinction,” said Ohanjanian. “As part of the Northern Leopard Frog Recovery Team, I’ll be helping to oversee these reintroduction activities and support continued trans-locations to ensure adequate numbers are released to establish a population.”

Projects in Cranbrook, Kimberley and area include:

  • COTR

    ʔaq̓amnik̓ Youth Water Stewards Leadership Development – Host gatherings, held by Ktunaxa cultural interpreters and facilitators from Blue Lake Camp, for ʔaq̓amnik̓ youth to enhance their traditional knowledge about water and support their development as water stewardship leaders in their communities.

  • Place-based Learning and Data Collection – Deliver workshops to students and teachers in grades 5 through 12 to encourage participation in and enhance the experience of those participating in the East Kootenay Regional Science Fair. The project will also deliver education about conservation, restoration, species habitat, water and climate change at Joseph Creek.
  • Kootenay Trout Hatchery Environmental Education – Deliver environmental education programs to connect youth and the general public with British Columbia’s freshwater fisheries.
  • Organic Waste Collection and Composting Program – Establish an organic waste and composting program at the College of the Rockies Cranbrook campus.

Basin-wide projects include:

  • Interdisciplinary Management of Fish and Wildlife Disease – Host a conference to enhance knowledge about and practices related to disease management in fish and wildlife populations. The target audience includes the public and experts like First Nations representatives, biologists, academia, veterinarians, stewardship groups, citizen scientists and land managers.
  • Kootenay Community Bat Project – Collaborate with Basin residents and communities to conserve bat populations, particularly in light of the disease White Nose Syndrome, which is posing a significant threat to bats in the region.
  • Kootenay-Columbia Whitebark Pine Recovery – Aid in the recovery of whitebark pine, a species of conservation concern, across the Basin by seed recovery and tree planting activities.
  • Columbia Basin Groundwater Monitoring Program – Use an innovative community-based approach to collect data about groundwater quantity, quality and surface water interaction. Partner with Columbia Basin Watershed Network and Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development to host community workshops that enhance knowledge about aquifer resiliency.
  • Grizzly Bear Coexistence Solutions – Improve human-grizzly bear coexistence in the Basin by delivering educational opportunities in communities and providing practical solutions for bear attractant management.
  • Beyond Recycling – Deliver a school curriculum-linked environmental education program to help grade five and six students better understand how people’s actions affect the natural environment in beneficial or adverse ways.
  • Columbia River Field School – Deliver a school curriculum-linked experiential education program that teaches youth about the ecology, geography, economics, history and culture of the Columbia River and over the course of a multi-day canoe trip.
  • Farmland Advantage Stewardship Project – Work with farmers to enhance high-value habitat on their properties, including habitat for species at risk.

Supporting healthy, diverse and functioning ecosystems is one of the Trust’s 13 strategic priorities. Learn more about the Trust’s other environment programs, including its Climate Action Program and new Ecosystem Enhancement Program at

Columbia Basin Trust supports the ideas and efforts of the people in the Columbia Basin. To learn more about the Trust’s programs and initiatives, and how it helps deliver social, economic and environmental benefits to the Basin, visit or call 1-800-505-8998.

Above photo: Biologist Penny Ohanjanian will be working to reintroduce northern leopard frogs to the Columbia marshes thanks to an Environment Grant from Columbia Basin Trust. Photo submitted

Columbia Basin Trust

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