HCTF Board Visits BIRPP Restoration Sites in Vancouver

HCTF Board Visits BIRPP Restoration Sites in Vancouver
  The weather may have been less than ideal, but it didn’t stop HCTF Board & staff members from setting out to view some of the sites being restored as part of the Burrard Inlet Restoration Pilot Program (BIRPP). BIRPP was created by HCTF to invest court-awarded funds from the 2007 Burnaby oil spill in projects that would restore habitat near the site of impact. By soliciting specific types of proposals and setting minimum fund leveraging requirements, this pilot program represents a shift from HCTF’s historical granting model, and Board members were eager to see the results of this new type of investment strategy. The morning began at New Brighton Park in East Vancouver. A weathered sign at the entrance to the park boasts that this is birthplace of Vancouver , home to the City’s first post office, dock, CPR and customs office back in 1865. Now it exists as waterfront recreation area, built on fill and leaving little evidence of the salmon-bearing stream that once flowed through here out into Burrard Inlet. As part of the 2011 Hastings Park and PNE Master Plan, the City of Vancouver has started to unearth Renfrew Creek, one of Vancouver’s many lost streams...
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Shaping up Seymour

Shaping up Seymour
Seymour River Estuary is well on its way to being restored to an important transition ground for juvenile seagoing trout, char and salmon making their way out to Burrard Inlet. Major earth moving work for this BIRPP project was completed last week, reshaping and contouring the estuary to make it more hospitable for the fish and other organisms that historically thrived there. Creosote-soaked structures leaking contaminants and invasive plants were removed from the estuary, and huge logs and boulders were strategically placed to both provide cover for young salmonids and to protect the native vegetation that will be planted here next spring. These plantings will complete the site’s transformation from an estuary with virtually no cover or foraging habitat to a functional ecosystem offering multiple benefits to fish, wildlife and humans .   The work at the Seymour River estuary will soon be followed by earth moving at another BIRPP estuary restoration project, Mosquito Creek. This estuary has been reduced to 1% of its historical size through waterfront industrial development. This will be an excellent opportunity to view restoration work in progress, as the site is located at a key junction point for the North Shore Spirit Trail. Check back...
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HCTF Announces Funding for Restoration Projects on Burrard Inlet

HCTF Announces Funding for Restoration Projects on Burrard Inlet
HCTF has announced it will provide over $200,000 in funding this year for estuary restoration projects on Burrard Inlet. Two North Vancouver sites and another in Stanley Park will be rehabilitated from their current industrialized states back into functional habitats that support many types of native fish and wildlife. Estuaries, areas where rivers and streams meet the sea, make up only a small percentage of BC’s vast coastline, yet over 80% of coastal wildlife are dependent on them for some portion of their lifecycle. They are critical for anadromous fish as they make the adaptation from fresh to salt water. Estuaries are also gaining recognition for their incredible capacity to store carbon, at rates up to ninety times the uptake of equivalent areas of forest. Unfortunately, these habitats are among the most threatened ecosystems on the planet: in highly industrialized waterways such as Burrard Inlet, they have all but disappeared. HCTF’s Burrard Inlet Restoration Pilot Program is focussed on recreating at least some of Vancouver’s lost estuaries, using money from a creative sentencing award . This initiative has received a phenomenal response from local governments, corporations, First Nations, and educational institutions, who have come together to support these projects both...
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Build It and They Will Come

Build It and They Will Come
HCTF has received news that salmon have returned to MacKay Creek! Shown in the photo below, chum salmon were seen making their way up the creek to spawn. Previously, a large concrete weir prevented fish from accessing the upper estuary and creek during low tide. The weir was removed in September and replaced with a naturalized creek outlet as part of the site's restoration under the Burrard Inlet Restoration Pilot Program . Project leaders are hopeful that cutthroat and rainbow trout will also return to the creek in future years. You can read more about the improvements made at MacKay in our recent blog post .
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Students Help Transform MacKay Creek

Students Help Transform MacKay Creek
Over the past two months, MacKay Creek estuary has undergone an amazing transformation. The estuary's revival is the keystone project in HCTF's Burrard Inlet Restoration Program , a pilot created using funds from a creative sentencing award and designed to maximize habitat benefits through innovative partnerships. One of the project partners is Bodwell High School , located just steps away from the MacKay Creek restoration site on Vancouver's North Shore. The restoration of the MacKay Creek estuary began in September with the removal of a large concrete weir which had previously prevented migrating chum salmon, coho salmon and cutthroat trout from entering the creek. Next, the elevation of the estuary's tidal benches was re-graded, creating a substrate that could support saltmarsh vegetation such as eelgrass and sedges. Large pieces of wood were strategically placed in the water and the tidal benches, both to provide refuge for fish and wildlife and to help discourage Canada geese from  overgrazing the new vegetation. Once the heavy equipment work was complete, it was the students' turn to start planting native species along the banks of the estuary. Bodwell's Green Team, mentored by teacher Bianca Ferrajohn, had previously been involved in removing invasive plants from...
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