Forest fund hands out more money for wildlife studies

  • Jul. 26, 2004 8:00 p.m.

Submitted by SMFRA Administrator John Farrell-Wildlife studies needed to make land use planning decisions were given a $72,000 boost from the South Moresby Forest Replacement Account this month. The withdrawal of a community stability project and reallocation of the 2004/05 budget provided an infusion of additional project money.
The SMFRA Interim Management Committee approved three additional projects that will provide vital information on two threatened bird species and the Haida Gwaii black bear.
Biologist Frank Doyle will receive $25,000 to focus on the “Breeding Success of QCI Goshawks”. Locally-based technicians are in the field checking on Goshawk nest areas in the hopes of finding breeding pairs for the listed species.
“The Goshawk population here is not doing well at all,” says Doyle. “They’re not producing young which means they’re not maintaining a viable population. Through habitat analysis we will hopefully be able to understand what is needed for successful breeding on Haida Gwaii.”
Attempts to access better information on threatened bird populations is also the focus of a “Radar Inventory of Marbled Murrelets” study conducted through the Ministry of Water, Land and Air Protection ($27,200). This project was further backed by a $20,000 commitment from Husby Forest Products, BC Timber Sales and Teal Cedar Products. Weyerhaeuser is donating helicopter time.
Designing a comprehensive study to collect hair samples from black bears for DNA analysis ($20,000) will be the job of wildlife biologists this summer in the hopes of determining the size of the local bear population. Not only has information on bear ecology been identified by the Community Planning Forum as a priority for the ongoing land use planning process, but recent controversy over the sustainability of the recreational hunt has highlighted the lack of data for bear populations specific to the Islands.
Additional funding for these wildlife projects came through a reallocation of the 2004/05 budget and the withdrawal of a community stability project located in Tlell. Barbara Small and Noel Wotten opted not to accept $45,000 in SMFRA funding for their proposed value added woodshed gallery.
SMFRA invested in a total of 18 projects this year that will benefit the Islands in a number of areas such as developing eco-tourism attractions, providing training for forestry workers in the trades and through adult education, supporting the land use planning process, and building capacity for local involvement in resource management. For more information on the objectives established for project funding please see our website at: www.pfc.forestry.ca/programs/smfra/index_e.html
SMFRA was established in 1988 with a $24-million contribution from the federal and provincial governments to fund projects that would help offset the reduction in timber supply and losses in forest-based employment resulting from the creation of Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve in South Moresby. The Account is managed by an Interim Management Committee made up of federal, provincial and local representatives.

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