Salmon return to Spanish Banks Creek Restoration Project in the City of Vancouver
Community-Based Action: Streamkeepers, Citizen Science at its Best
The Pacific Streamkeepers Federation provides an excellent model for citizen science and community-based environmental activism.
“The Federation encourages the measurement of baseline stream health through a network of qualified trainers using streamkeepers methodology. This methodology is contained in a Handbook and Modules that are government developed, scientifically sound techniques, described in plain language,” explains Zo Ann Morten, Executive Director.
This winning combination has been successful in building community capacity across British Columbia. The results have been positive changes in government policy, regulations and attitudes and most importantly, a growing and knowledgeable stewardship community taking action in their local waterways.
Spanish Banks Creek Restoration Project
Spanish Banks Creek is located in the most western part of the City of Vancouver. It flows through Pacific Spirit Regional Park, under Marine Drive, and into English Bay at Spanish Banks beach. The creek was salmon-bearing prior to urban development.
Salmon are able to return to Spanish Banks Creek for the first time in over fifty years thanks to a community-inspired project that brought citizens and government agencies together to restore fish access and fish habitat to the creek’s lower reaches.
Sections of the creek were daylighted and an old culvert was removed that prevented adult fish passage. A natural stream was recreated, including pools and riffles, spawning gravel, and woody debris to provide cover for young fish. Banks were armored with large boulders to provide stability.
The banks were replanted with native vegetation, and the foreshore on the beach side of the trail was planted with dunegrass to stabilize the area. The most visible part of the creek is near Spanish Banks beach where the creek now flows under a pedestrian trail, formerly a parking lot. The creek is cared for by volunteer Spanish Bank Streamkeepers who are also responsible for ongoing community stewardship activities.
To Learn More:
To view a short documentary about the project, click on this link: http://vimeo.com/24955762. Zo Ann Morten elaborates on the Spanish Banks Creek Restoration Project.
For more information about Spanish Banks, click on this link: urbanstreams.org/creek_spanishbanks.html
Posted June 2011