Habitat Conservation Fund 2016 Approved Projects


2016 NSHCF Approved Projects
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Priority Activities | Conditions for Awarding Grants | Proposal Submission Form | Funded Projects

Determining the role of wintering conditions on swallow population declines
Dalhousie University
Amount Awarded: $7000.00
Swallows are declining precipitously in Nova Scotia and the cause of the declines is unknown. However, long-distance migrants are experiencing steeper declines than short-distance migrants suggesting that conditions during wintering are impacting survival and/or reproductive success. We will monitor the breeding of four species of swallows, and collect feather and blood samples from adults to determine wintering locations, conditions, and the impact of wintering conditions on survival and reproductive success.
Final report


Toxic/non-toxic ammunition and exchange program
Halifax Wildlife Association
Amount Awarded: $25,000.00
Toxic (lead) ammunition used by the hunting community will be replaced with non-toxic ammunition. Its replacement will remove a toxic substance from the environment and prevent humans, birds of prey, and animals being exposed to toxic fragments in the food they eat. We will work with a diverse group of stakeholders and distributers to extend our reach to hunters and trappers. Emphasis will be on education and acceptance and less on the actual ammunition exchange. Education will focus on groups, clubs, associations and the public. An ammunition exchange will be used to introduce first time non-toxic ammunition users to its environmental and hunting ballistic benefits.
Final report


Tenth Anniversary of Young Naturalists Club
Young Naturalists Club
Amount Awarded: $10,000.00
Youth today recognize more company logos than common species in their neighborhoods. The Young Naturalists Club (YNC) is a response to this and the other sources of disconnect between youth and the environment. The Club provides opportunities for youth and families to acquire local natural history knowledge and skills, and to connect with nature in a fun and informal way. Our mission is to educate and inspire the next generation to champion wildlife and habitat conservation by bringing inspiring aspiring young naturalists through hands-on workshops and field trips out into local wilderness areas across Nova Scotia.
Final report


Educate new trappers on the sustainable management of Nova Scotia’s fur bearing animals while ensuring maximum economic value from our natural resource
Trappers Association of Nova Scotia
Amount Awarded: $9,800.00
Through a hands on learning program trappers will develop the knowledge and skills on proper pelt preparation and current trapping methods to maximum pelt value during market fluctuations. New and experienced trappers will understand that properly prepared pelts will hold their value even in market downturns and will therefore encourage them to continue to harvest fur-bearers during market lows. Students will develop the knowledge and skills to understand the importance of diverse wildlife habitat and the role trappers play in the conservation of wildlife and their habitats. Pelt preparation is a required component to the online trapper course.
Final Report


Habitat provisioning of wild bee pollinators on Nova Scotia heathlands
Saint Mary’s University
Amount Awarded: $12,000.00
Heathlands provide wild berry forage to birds and mammals and host provincially rare plants. Habitat quality for these consumers and plants depends on berry yield and seed set, yet wild bees rendering essential pollination services are poorly characterized. Our project will provide baseline data on key plant-pollinator relationships to help wildlife and land managers better assess the pollination services underpinning reproduction and productivity in these systems.
Final report


Conserving the Lower Musquodoboit River
Nature Conservancy of Canada
Amount Awarded: $50,000.00
This project will result in the permanent protection of a minimum of 100 acres of high value wildlife habitat along the rich and ecologically diverse Musquodoboit River system. NCC has initiated a new land assembly project in the lower portion of the river, protecting 321 acres to date. This project will help significantly advance the vision of creating a nature reserve that protects the extraordinary ecology, beauty and recreational opportunity of the area. Land acquired will remain open to hunting and trapping.
Final report


Understanding human pressures at critical shorebirds roost habitats in the Minas Basin
Bird Studies Canada
Amount Awarded: $8,000.00
In late summer, hundreds of thousands of Artic-nesting shorebirds have a migration “stopover” in the Minas Basin, Bay of Fundy. This three-year project will conserve key coastal roost habitats upon which migrant shorebirds depend by 1) understanding human pressures at roost sites ( year-1); 2) collaborating with partners and coastal users to develop and test conservation strategies that reduce disturbance at roost sites (year -2); and 3) evaluating effectiveness of these strategies (year 3).
Final Report


Hog Lake and Barren Meadow conservation areas – Protecting Woods & Waters for Wildlife
Nova Scotia Nature Trust
Amount Awarded: $15,500.00
The Hog Lake and Barren Meadow areas are a rarity in Queens County – they have almost completely undeveloped stream networks, lakeshores and surrounding forest. This project will formally protect 3 properties in these areas, through private land conservation, as part of a long term effort to protect shoreline and upland wildlife habitat in the area. The outreach and education work done through this project will foster additional habitat protection in the future.
Final Report


Artificial nesting platforms for Common Loon in Mersey and Medway watersheds
Mersey Tobeatic Research Institute
Amount Awarded: $6,500.00
The reproductive success of Common Loons is lower in southwestern Nova Scotia than anywhere else across their North American range. One method to improve hatching success of eggs is to provide loons with artificial nesting platforms which have a small roofed avian guard. The platforms can mitigate threats from fluctuating water levels, a lack of island habitat on a lake, and avian predation. Through this project the Mersey Tobeatic Research Institute will work with volunteers to install platforms on lakes in the Mersey and Medway watersheds and monitor their success.
Final report


Community Engagement in Wood Turtle Stewardship in the Annapolis River Watershed
Clean Annapolis River Project (CARP)
Amount Awarded: $12,500.00
This project will use the wood turtle as a focal species to contribute to the development of communities that are aware of, and educated about threats to native wildlife and their habitats, and actively participate in land management decisions that affect wildlife habitat, through engagement in field based research surveys and stewardship activities.
Final Report


Conserving Nova Scotia’s Wetlands through Education 2016/2017
Ducks Unlimited Canada- Atlantic Region
Amount Awarded: $10,000.00
Wetlands are one of the world’s most productive ecosystems and are important to wildlife and humans alike. Project Webfoot and Wetland Centres of Excellence are DUC’s wetland education programs that provide youth with hands on experiential learning opportunities through curriculum linked education resources and wetland field trips. These education programs provide students with the background knowledge and skills that enable and inspire them to value these vital habitats and take action to conserve them.
Final Report


Strengthening Landowner Stewardship of Aerial Insectivores
Bird Studies Canada
Amount Awarded: $10,000.00
Aerial insectivores (swifts, swallows, flycatchers and nightjars) are declining more rapidly than any other bird group in Canada. Their dependence on human-influenced habitat for foraging and nesting provides a unique opportunity to engage the public as citizen scientists and environmental stewards. Through the proposed project, Bird Studies Canada will work with landowners to address threats and strengthen our network of aerial insectivore stewards and monitors across NS.
Final report


Consequences of nest habitat selection for tree swallows
Acadia University
Amount Awarded: $5,000.00
Tree swallow populations in northeastern North America have been declining for several years, but causes of these declines are not known. One possibility is that predator populations have increased, but tree swallows have not recognized features of the landscape associated with increased risk of predation. The project will evaluate whether habitat immediately adjacent to nest boxes and at a larger scale is associated with predation and abandonment events.
Final Report


Factors influencing population decline of marine birds on Nova Scotia’s Eastern Shore Islands
Acadia University
Amount Awarded: $10,000.00
The goal of the current study is to assess factors contributing to apparent declining population trends of two species of marine birds (Common Eider and Leach’s Storm Petrel) in eastern Nova Scotia, and to develop management options for improving populations. Work in 2016 will follow on projects initiated in 2013, and will provide data for at least one graduate student’s thesis studies.
Final report


Genetic analyses of Eastern Coyote (Canis latrans) in Nova Scotia
Acadia University
Amount Awarded: $12,000.00
Eastern Coyotes in NS are hybrids consisting of western coyote DNA, as well as Eastern Wolf and Grey Wolf DNA. To more fully understand the genetics of the Eastern Coyote, we need to analyze a broad suite of genetic information, utilizing new techniques. This information will help us examine the connection between genetic profiles and morphological and behavioral characteristics in this population of coyote/wolf hybrids.


Post-breeding dispersal of island-nesting Blackpoll Warblers and Yellow-rumped Warblers
Acadia University
Amount Awarded: $12,000.00
Previous studies have revealed Blackpoll and Yellow-rumped Warblers move extensively throughout coastal areas of the Maritimes and Maine prior to migration. We will again compare post-breeding movements and habitat use of these two species which will enable us to make more informed statements regarding the habitats that they need during this critical life phase.


Identification of Stress Markers in White Tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus) in Nova Scotia
Acadia University
Amount Awarded: $9,000.00
Maintaining the health of an ecosystem involves several factors including identifying possible stressors and how they impact animal health. Pollution, loss of habitat and contributions to global warming all have measurable effects on animals identifiable as protein changes and whole-body responses. This project will use stress biomarkers to determine the health of white tailed deer in Nova Scotian populations.


Risk hotspot identification for colonial seabirds in Nova Scotia
Bird Studies Canada
Amount Awarded: $12,000.00
Human use of the marine environment threatens coastal bird populations and their habitats. Using a colonial seabird database and seabird tracking data, this project will assess anthropogenic risks to breeding seabirds in the Maritimes. This grant will acquire tracking data in Nova Scotia to fill key data gaps for the Great Black-backed Gull which are underrepresented in the current dataset. A risk-assessment analysis will identify threats and regions of conservation concern.
Final report


Old Growth Forests: Policy Analysis and Community Engagement
Mersey Tobeatic Research Institute
Amount Awarded: $4,500.00
Old growth forests (OGF) are rare in NS but rich in biodiversity important ecosystem function. Many native species depend on old forest characteristics and are uniquely associated with this seral stage. This project will complete an in-depth analysis of NS’s OGF legislation, regulation, and policy, and will allow MTRI to engage relevant decision-makers, partners, and stakeholders in participatory dialogue about what is needed to protect OGF on crown land.
Final report


Trapper Mentorship Program
Trappers Association of Nova Scotia
Amount Awarded: $18,000.00
Increase knowledge of young trappers (preference given to females) on humane and current trapping methods and dog proof equipment/sets. Increase trapper participation through a highly functional mentoring program focusing on natural renewal products from Nova Scotia’s fur-bearing animals. Educate young trappers on sound habitat and wildlife management for constant renewable resources for today, tomorrow and future generations. Students will also gain knowledge and skills on the importance of a diverse wildlife habitat and the role trappers play in conservation of wildlife habitats.
Final report


Project Approvals: 20
Total amount funded: $258,800.00