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Restoration of moose habitat underway near Smithers landing

The 240-hectare project is just the beginning says BV Rod and Gun Club president
Willow hinged to promote new growth and restore moose habitat. (Contributed photo)

A collaboration of a number of groups in the region is in the process of restoring moose habitat in the Babine Lake area.

The Bulkley Valley Rod and Gun Club (BVRGC) had originally applied to the Habitat Conservation Trust Fund (HCTF) three years ago for a grant that would fund hinging and felling of old willow to make room for new growth.

That application was turned down because it did not meet the scientific requirements of the Trust and environment ministry, said Dave Hooper BVRGC president. The gun club went back to the drawing board, reapplied and is expecting an answer soon.

In the meantime, the idea spawned cooperation between the club, FLNRO (forests ministry), SERNBC (Society for Ecosystem Restoration in Northern BC), Wildlife For Tomorrow and Babine Lake Nation and work got underway this winter clearing approximately 240 hectares near Smithers Landing.

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The $62,000 for that work came from the HCTF through SERNBC, which contracted Babine Lake Nation’s forestry department to head up the project, Hooper said.

“What we do, is we go in and we take about 60 per cent of that old willow growth and fall it to create new sprouts and we leave about 40 per cent for the birds for nesting,” he explained.

They also had a meeting recently the BC Wildfire Service following a suggestion from FLNRO ecosystems biologist Tobi Anaka that the service could be a source of manpower when the larger project gets going.

Hooper said there may be up to 60 people available to help out.

The project also dovetails nicely with BC Wildfire’s risk mitigation mandate.

“It’s going to create a lot of greenery and anytime you create a lot of greenery, it definitely creates a fire block,” Hooper said. “It will definitely help, but that wasn’t our main objective.

“Our main objective was to recover our moose populations. This is still a work in progress for our feeling is we have a ways to go to fulfil the demand and the carrying capacity that is out there. Nevertheless we have undertaken the task to improve and restore habitat that hopefully will give moose more security by selecting best areas to achieve our goals to help build the moose population.”

The SRGC is hoping if their funding is approved they will be able to restore approximately 800 hectares in areas of Fort Babine and Granisle.

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Thom Barker

About the Author: Thom Barker

After graduating with a geology degree from Carleton University and taking a detour through the high tech business, Thom started his journalism career as a fact-checker for a magazine in Ottawa in 2002.
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