(Above) Seepanee Ecological Consulting undertook a wolverine population and habitat assessment thanks in part to CBT support. (Below) White Bark Consulting was able to perform whitebark pine restoration thanks in part to Columbia Basin Trust support.

Columbia Basin Trust seeking environmental project ideas

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Columbia Basin groups wishing to help maintain or enhance environmental conditions in and around their communities are invited to submit project ideas to the Environmental Initiatives Program (EIP) of Columbia Basin Trust (CBT). Over the past 11 years, the program has provided over $5 million in funding for environmental conservation, restoration, stewardship and education projects across the basin.

The program’s small grants stream, geared at projects under $10,000, has a continuous application intake depending on available funding. The large grants stream has an annual intake, and, for 2012-2013, will fund projects up to $50,000. The next application deadline is 3:30 p.m. (Pacific time) on Oct. 26.

“We’re pleased we can increase our support of projects that aim to reduce the impacts people have on our environment,” said Rick Allen, CBT environment program manager. “The projects also encourage education and awareness for all generations about basin ecosystems.”

White Bark Consulting was recently able to carry out whitebark pine restoration, thanks in part to EIP support. Whitebark pine is an endangered tree species of high-elevation forests that provides food and shelter for various wildlife species. The project also included educating community members, collecting seeds from healthy trees and creating a distribution map of the basin.

“The funding provided by CBT has been vital in enabling people and organizations that are interested in whitebark pine to come together and work on restoration efforts,” said Adrian Leslie of White Bark Consulting. “It has been a fun, interesting and rewarding experience.”

Another example is Seepanee Ecological Consulting, which undertook a wolverine population and habitat assessment. By collecting wolverine hair samples from the Selkirk mountain range, as well as from trappers, this project was an important step in determining if the current harvest levels of wolverines are at risk of being unsustainable.

“Funding from partners like CBT has been critical to the success of the project,” said Doris Hausleitner of Seepanee Ecological Consulting. “Without their contributions, and assistance from local trappers and a multitude of volunteers, this type of research would not be possible.”

For more information about EIP or to get an application form, visit www.cbt.org/eip or contact Rick Allen at 1-800-505-8998 or rallen@cbt.org.

To learn more about CBT’s other environmental priorities, visit www.cbt.org/environment.