$725,000 investment in the Upper Kootenay River watershed
Fourteen fish and wildlife projects aimed at the Upper Kootenay River watershed are getting under way thanks to Upper Kootenay Ecosystem Enhancement Plan (UKEEP) Grants. The Fish & Wildlife Compensation Program administers UKEEP projects through a funding partnership with the Trust, which provided $3 million over three to five years.
This is the second year that projects have been delivered through UKEEP, and in 2016/17 projects valued at more than $725,000 are expected to continue to show positive results for local fish and wildlife.
Funding is approved for six fish and eight wildlife projects. These include projects focused on invasive weed control, removing fish barriers and urban deer relocation, as well as:
- bull trout inventory and recovery in Wildhorse River
- assessing the sustainability of wolverine harvest
- Alexander Creek habitat restoration and enhancement
- identifying key habitats for long-billed curlews
- 144-hectare open grassland habitat restoration near Newgate to help ungulates.
Other species that will benefit include westslope cutthroat and rainbow trout, mule and white-tailed deer, bighorn sheep, Lewis’s woodpecker and many other grassland birds. Projects are being delivered by a mix of local stewardship groups, environmental organizations, consultants and First Nations.
“Last year, UKEEP funds supported a variety of projects in the East Kootenay,” said Crystal Klym, Columbia Region Manager, Fish & Wildlife Compensation Program. (Learn more about previous projects here.) “Fish barriers were removed on Wickman Creek to open up prime spawning and rearing habitat. Grasslands near Elko were restored to improve ungulate habitat and invasive weeds were treated on 22 different conservation properties. Working with the Trust, we anticipate building a solid foundation of effective and results-based projects under UKEEP that guide conservation efforts in this watershed.”
“We thank all those who work to conserve and enhance the natural assets of the region,” said Kindy Gosal, Columbia Basin Trust Director, Special Initiatives. “These 14 projects speak to the variety of challenges our region faces, to the dedication of Basin residents to address these challenges, and to how individual endeavours can generate significant results.”