Vancouver Park Board approves Biodiversity Strategy

Description

A comprehensive Biodiversity Strategy (pdf), approved by the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation on February 1, 2016, is intended to increase the size and quality of Vancouver’s forests, wetlands, streams, shorelines and meadows.

Habitat Island in Vancouver's Southeast False Creek

Habitat Island. Source: Vancouver Park Board

Potential Significance

The Park Board stepped beyond its traditional role as custodian of green space to set the goal of restoring or enhancing 25 hectares of natural areas by 2020. Habitat is to be expanded for pollinators, birds, salmon, herring, beavers and otters. Up to 3,000 low-cost trees will be sold during a spring planting event to encourage growth of the urban canopy.

Biodiversity and access to nature is intended to contribute to an improvement in the mental and physical health of Vancouver residents. The park system enhances tourism, increasing interest in wildlife viewing, nature study and photography.

The biodiversity strategy is part of the City’s program to become the greenest city in the world by 2020.

Background

  • Hinge Park and Habitat Island at Olympic Village is held up as illustrative of the Park Board’s goal. The island and adjacent intertidal area and storm water-fed wetland in Hinge Park host freshwater wetland, rocky intertidal zone, and shoreline forest. Herring now spawn on the cobble intertidal zone of Habitat Island; willow and shrub thickets provide a habitat for songbirds. However biodiversity also poses challenge urban life. Beavers on the island are eating into native growth. Herons feeding on herring compete with dragon-boat racers for use of the environment.
  • More than 20 chum salmon returned to Still Creek in 2012, 2013, and 2014 as a result of earlier work on biodiversity.
  • The restoration of the salt marsh at New Brighton Park is expected to be the first of its kind in British Columbia. Construction began on September 12, 2016 and planting is slated for the summer of 2017.
  • Native forest is to be restored in Stanley Park, Jericho Beach Park, Musqueam Park, Everett Crowley Park, Renfrew Ravine Park and elsewhere.

Sources