District of North Vanouver Partners with North Shore Association for the Mentally Handicapped to Build Tree Canopy Climate Stations

District of north van logo - dec 2006

Role of Trees for Rainwater Management

In 2006 – 2007, the District of North Vancouver partnered with ARC Woodworking Services, a division of the North Shore Association for the Mentally Handicapped, to carry out one aspect of a unique rainwater management applied research program. This partnership was featured in a newspaper article published by the North Shore News

The partnership was made possible by a grant that the District had received from the Real Estate Foundation of BC to advance the state-of-the-practice in rainwater management, specifically the role that trees play in rainwater interception and absorption.

The Goal: Quantify Rainfall Interception

“Traditionally, rainwater is absorbed into trees and the ground and then slowly drained into local creeks. Now, with the paving of many urban areas, rainwater doesn’t have the opportunity to slowly absorb into the ground. Instead it drains rapidly off streets and other paved surfaces into storm drains and flows into local creeks in large volume,”  said District Environmental Protection Officer Richard Boase.

Tree canopy research project - precipitation in a forest settingBy quantifying  the role that trees play in water interception and absorption, the District will gain science-based insight to better manage urban runoff volume.

“The result – less wear and tear on the District’s storm drain system, less erosion of local riverbanks, and healthier streams,” added Richard Boase.

Tree Monitoring Program

The program  involves placing wooden monitoring stations underneath the canopies of select trees to capture and measure rainfall that penetrates the tree canopy.

The Real Estate Foundation is the latest organization to provide funding for the Tree Canopy Research Project that is being led by the District and being undertaken in partnership with the University of British Columbia, the Province, Greater Vancouver Regional District,  the District of West Vancouver, and the City of North Vancouver.

Pre-Fabrication of Monitoring Stations

A portion of the Real Estate Foundation grant covered the assembly costs for the monitoring stations. The unique nature of the project equipment, combined with the timing, required the District to look outside for assistance with assembly. Shown below is the protoype monitoring station that is installed on the roof of the District Municipal Hall.

Tree canopy monitoring station on dnv municipal hall roof

Partnership with North Shore Mentally Handicapped

Enter ARC Woodworking Services. ARC provides practical woodworking and warehousing skills to persons with developmental disabilities as well as supporting individuals to have access to gainful employment opportunities in the community.Richard-Boase_September-2010_120p

“The Real Estate Foundation grant is what really allowed us to venture into the community and establish this relationship with ARC Woodworking,” said Richard Boase. “We were able to go to ARC Woodworking with a rather unique and weird-looking contraption and they immediately said “Yes we can help you”. They have been great to work with I am sure we will be working together in the future.”

Two participants from the ARC team built 60 stations over a period of several weeks. Once completed, the stations were installed in selected trees throughout the District.

To Learn More:

To read the article published in the North Shore News in January 2007, click on Project Studies Role of Rain Water

North shore tree canopy interception research project