The Columbia Basin Trust has announced a new five-year, $10-million Ecosystem Enhancement Program for the organization’s eponymous watershed.

The Trust’s goal is to help maintain and improve ecological health and native biodiversity in a variety of ecosystems, such as wetlands, fish habitat, forests, and grasslands. While the Trust has other programs that support ecosystem health—including its Environment Grants program—this new initiative is unique, because it will carry out large-scale, on-the-ground projects with significant benefits.

“The intent of this new Ecosystem Enhancement Program is to have a meaningful and measurable impact in supporting and strengthening ecosystem health in the Basin,” said Johnny Strilaeff, Columbia Basin Trust president and chief executive officer. “Based on input from Basin residents, one of our strategic priorities is to support healthy, diverse and functioning ecosystems. This program will bring benefits to fish, wildlife and their habitats that endure into the future.”

The Trust will identify projects focused on enhancement, restoration, and conservation by seeking input from community groups, First Nations representatives and government experts, and reviewing existing regional plans and research. Through request for proposal processes, the Trust will work with organizations to implement the selected projects over the next five years.

The Trust also helps Basin residents and groups address environmental priorities through programs like Environment Grants, the Grassland and Rangeland Enhancement Program, the Invasive Species Partnership, the Land Conservation and Stewardship Initiative, and the Upper Kootenay Ecosystem Enhancement Plan Grants. Learn more at ourtrust.org/environment.

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