Columbia region fish and wildlife projects get $5 million in funding

northern leopard frog in net

Fish & Wildlife Compensation Program announces list of projects for 2013-14

A kokanee spawning channel project and white sturgeon recovery efforts are among initatives supported by more than $5 million in Columbia region funding by the Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program (FWCP).

The project funding was announced recently as the FWCP begins to implement a new delivery model. Included is more than half a million dollars to projects managed by environmental organizations, stewardship groups, consultants, and First Nations.

The annual funding, which compensates for fish and wildlife affected by the creation of BC Hydro owned and operated generation facilities, is jointly managed and delivered by representatives from BC Hydro, the Province of B.C., Fisheries and Oceans Canada, public and First Nations.

Since its inception in 1995, the Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program has invested more than $72 million in fish and wildlife projects in the Columbia region. The FWCP also delivers conservation and enhancement projects in the Peace and Coastal regions.

FWCP's Columbia region core projects list

For 2013-2014, the FWCP’s core projects in the Columbia region will include:

  • Operation of Meadow Creek and Hill Creek kokanee spawning channels
  • Supporting the white sturgeon recovery initiative in the Columbia River
  • Adding nutrients to Kootenay Lake and Arrow Lakes Reservoir
  • Purchasing conservation properties
  • Slashing and thinning to increase forage for ungulates
  • Ecosystem assessment of potential restoration sites
  • Monitoring of previous restoration activities
  • Supporting western toads at Summit Lake;
  • Large mammal monitoring and species inventory that will help guide future wildlife management decisions.

At-risk species also get help

“In addition to our core projects, the board increased the funding for external projects by more than $100,000 over last year,” said FWCP-Columbia program manager Trevor Oussoren. “The quality of the external applications for FWCP funding was extremely high and we are really happy to work with stakeholders and First Nations to help fish and wildlife in the region.”

These external projects seek to help a selection of species-at-risk including the wolverine, grizzly bear, western painted turtle, and the Lewis’ woodpecker, as well as a number of other species that will benefit from planned grassland restoration work.

External project fisheries efforts will focus on bull trout and Gerrard rainbow trout.

East Kootenay-Koocanusa program to be created

In addition to the annual funding received from BC Hydro, the FWCP is receiving $3 million from the Columbia Basin Trust to create the East Kootenay-Koocanusa Fish and Wildlife Program.  

The program will play a pivotal role in helping protect and enhance fish, wildlife and their habitats in and around Koocanusa Reservoir, and its tributaries in the Kootenay River system.

“This is really exciting news, and we really welcome this opportunity to work with Columbia Basin Trust and strengthen our partnership,” says Dave White, public representative on the FWCP-Columbia board.