Mon, 24 Aug 2015

Rewilding Burrard Inlet

HCTF’s Burrard Inlet Restoration Pilot Program was recently featured in the Vancouver Sun and CBC News as a great example of rewilding, the concept of supporting the re-establishment of key species in areas where human actions have caused them to disappear.

Though the term “rewilding” has been around since the mid-nineties, the idea has received increased media attention in BC with the publication of Vancouverite J.B. McKinnon’s Once and Future World. Increasingly, biologists, NGOs, corporations and governments are considering the potential of restoring fish and wildlife habitat in even the most urban areas, re-connecting a city with its not-so-distant, wilder past. For example, Vancouver was once home to over 50 salmon streams, most of which have been eliminated through residential and industrial development. Those that have survived are often heavily degraded, especially their estuarine habitats where freshwater meets sea. These estuaries are critically important for juvenile salmonids that are transitioning to salt water, and these have been the focus for restoration work under the Burrard Inlet Restoration Pilot Program.

HCTF created the Burrard program in 2012 as a way of maximizing the benefits that could be achieved using creative sentencing money from the 2007 Burnaby oil spill. Projects rehabilitating historical fish habitat at MacKay Creek and Seymour River estuary have already resulted in increased numbers of fish making it up the waterways to spawn. Work is currently underway at Lynn Creek estuary and pending at Mosquito Creek estuary, with hopes that salmon and cutthroat trout populations can also be restored to these systems.

You can listen to HCTF Board member and Director of the Rivers Institute Dr. Ken Ashley talk about rewilding efforts in Burrard Inlet and across BC on CBCโ€™s BC Almanac this Friday, August 28th at 12:30pm (rescheduled from Wednesday, Aug 26th).