Park Place Lodge

The Rocky Mountain Trench Society will be implementing three projects to improve habitat for Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep, elk and more. There are many ways to support a healthy and diverse environment, from restoring habitat for reptiles and Grizzlies to educating school children about ecosystems. Columbia Basin organizations will be taking on 29 projects like these with support from over $1 million in Environment Grants from Columbia Basin Trust.

The Rocky Mountain Trench Society will be implementing three projects to improve habitat for Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep, elk and more.

“Our Environment Grants provide the flexibility to support a wide range of projects focused on ecosystem health, climate change, water stewardship and environmental education,” said Tim Hicks, Columbia Basin Trust Senior Manager, Delivery of Benefits. “We’re honoured to be supporting these varied activities that are helping to strengthen environmental well-being in the Basin, and recognize they couldn’t be accomplished without the hard work that groups and organizations put into developing and realizing them.”

At Box Lake, near Nakusp, the Okanagan Nation Alliance will add basking sites for blue-listed painted western turtles, which need to bask in the sun to regulate their body temperatures and properly digest their food. Floating basking logs will be anchored in the water, away from motor boats, predators, humans and other disturbances.

“ʔarsikʷ (western painted turtle) is an important part of Syilx culture,” said Lisa Wilson, Natural Resources Manager. “Syilx people have a sacred responsibility to care for the land and all living things. The number of ʔarsikʷ is low in Syilx territory and it is hoped this project will be a step toward helping it maintain its place on the land.”

The Silver City Trap Club will be implementing a project to improve reptile habitat.

Another recipient is the Silver City Trap Club near Trail. Its location is home to reptiles like rubber boas. The club is going create reptile habitat by replanting the area, adding large rocks and woody debris, and constructing rocky shelters, known as hibernaculum, where the reptiles can take refuge over the winter.

“Our hope is to rebuild and enhance the habitat while also making an opportunity for long-term data collection and an opportunity for public interaction with reptiles,” said project coordinator William Chapman. “Due to the nature of the club, activity on the property will always be limited, so the club serves as a low-impact sanctuary in an otherwise busy corridor of human activity.”

The Rocky Mountain Trench Society in the East Kootenay will be implementing three projects to enhance and maintain habitat for animals like Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep, elk, deer, the blue-listed Lewis woodpecker and American badger. These will take place in the southeast Basin on Hatchery Ridge, North Waldo and Sheep Mountain. The project will be carried out in collaboration with the BC Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development.

“Grassland and open forest are major contributors to our region’s exceptional biodiversity,” said Marc Trudeau, Society Coordinator. “At Hatchery Ridge, sheep movement has become difficult due to thick timber that has not been able to thin itself naturally through wildfire. Slashing winter travel corridors will improve line of sight for predator avoidance and increase habitat connectivity, leading to safer travel over a larger area of winter range.”

Project Coordinator Gillian Sanders is pictured with a grizzly bear that was tranquilized, collared and managed by conservation officers in the Meadow Creek area in 2012.

To help both grizzly bear populations and local food producers, Sanders Environmental Services will educate farmers and residents on grizzly bear safety and how to reduce conflicts. It will cost-share the installation of electric fencing to protect livestock and crops from bears, and provide workshops on effective electric fencing designs and what to do if you encounter a grizzly bear.

Project coordinator Gillian Sanders said, “There is a real, tangible social cost to living with bears, and the idea behind this project is to create a win-win by sharing this cost with farmers. The project will help people prevent bear conflicts, which can be stressful and expensive, while keeping the bears out of trouble.”

See the complete list of approved projects at ourtrust.org/environmentgrants.

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

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 ourtrust.org or call 1.800.505.8998.

Leave a comment

Related Stories

Fernie Network Blogs

Locals Report
Locals Report

A locals update on snow, trails, powder and more.

Read More
Fernie Bike Events
Fernie Bike Events

Fernie's destination biking events organized locally.

Read More
Mary Giuliano
Mary Giuliano

Mary writes about the town she has loved since moving here in May of 1953.

Read More
Fernie Alpine Resort
Fernie Alpine Resort

Fernie Alpine Resort offers world-class winter and summer activities.

Read More
Backcountry Powder
Backcountry Powder

Fernie's backcountry is where the powder lasts for weeks whether you're touring or riding!

Read More
Elk River Alliance
Elk River Alliance

A community-based water group protecting the Elk River watershed.

Read More
Wildsight
Wildsight

Working to protect wildlife, water and wild spaces.

Read More
Fernie Chamber
Fernie Chamber

A service organization dedicated to enhancing the economic future of Fernie and the quality of life.

Read More
Council Connection
Council Connection

Fernie Council Meeting updates and news is available here in the latest edition of Council Connection.

Read More
Regional District of East Kootenay
Regional District of East Kootenay

Local rural area government dedicated to providing quality service to residents and property owners.

Read More
Off Camber in Fernie
Off Camber in Fernie

Keith Liggett follows the goings and comings in Fernie—in town and on the hill—but not in the normal fall line.

Read More
Fernie Ski & Board Fim Fest
Fernie Ski & Board Fim Fest

Hundreds of skiers and boarders celebrate the coming season with the seasons top ski and board films.

Read More
Fernie Ghostriders
Fernie Ghostriders

Fernie's Junior B Hockey Club, a proud member of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League.

Read More
Fernie Whitewater Park
Fernie Whitewater Park

The Fernie Whitewater Park Society is working towards building a surf wave in the City of Fernie.

Read More