Seven years of success – Waneta Terrestrial Compensation Program

Butterfly & pollinator inventories, research on reptile species and rare plants are some of the activities being studied.

Pollinator inventories have been part of the WTCP Program.

Pollinator inventories have been part of the WTCP Program. — Photo courtesy Mike Hounjet

Castlegar, BC – The Waneta Terrestrial Compensation Program (WTCP) has selected five projects for funding as part of a mandate to support habitat restoration and conservation activities during the construction and Final Acceptance phases of the Waneta Expansion Project south of Trail.

Since beginning in 2012, Waneta Expansion Project partners Fortis Inc., Columbia Power Corporation and Columbia Basin Trust have distributed a total of $350,000 to 37 research, physical works and applied projects in the Pend d’Oreille. Butterfly and pollinator inventories, research on reptile species and rare plant studies are some of the activities that have taken place. The program is now complete.

“The program has allowed for research and on-the-ground projects that have not occurred in the Waneta area before,” said Mike Hounjet, Waneta Terrestrial Compensation Program Manager. “For example, last year’s research that led to the discovery of a new family of bees in BC is an example of work through the WTCP that reinforces our appreciation of the Pend d’Oreille and Lower Columbia as a unique ecosystem in the province.”

Jakob Dulisse, a wildlife biologist whose work through the compensation program has focused on reptile habitat conservation, notes that the program has been key in helping to create better awareness of the importance of the area.

“As someone who has led WTCP-funded wildlife projects since 2013, I can say this program has funded important research in a geographic area that has often been overlooked with regard to stewardship and conservation efforts.  As a result, local land managers, operators and members of the general public are now more aware of the habitat needs of local reptiles and other wildlife species occurring in this unique ecosystem.”

This year’s successful terrestrial compensation projects include:

  • Species at risk inventory for butterflies and bumble bees
  • Biodiversity and floral relationships of spring native bee fauna
  • Douglas Fir beetle trapping
  • Bat White Nose Syndrome transmission
  • Reptiles at risk program

To view a list of all projects supported through the Waneta Terrestrial Compensation Program between 2012 and 2018, visit http://columbiapower.org/wtcp.

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