Bringing Back a Creek

SPES is working on a major project under partial funding support by Environment Canada to restore the landscape around Beaver Creek.  Beaver Creek is one of only four salmon-bearing streams in the city of Vancouver as well as the only outflow for Beaver Lake. The stream is also used by elementary schools for salmon release programs so it has an important educational function.

WHY IS THIS WORK IMPORTANT?

Freshwater is crucial to maintaining the biodiversity in Stanley Park, but it is threatened. The work at Beaver Creek goes alongside a project in the planning to restore Beaver Lake. These two projects will help us retain and support a larger variety of wildlife and native vegetation, including coastal cutthroat trout, a species of special concern in BC. Restoration of the lake may also allow for the reintroduction of extirpated wildlife like the western painted turtle and Pacific tree frog.

trout


A beautiful coastal cutthroat trout caught during fish sampling at Beaver Creek

 

HOW DO YOU RESTORE A CREEK?

There are many pieces of work that make up the Beaver Creek project and SPES has been busy with a wide range of activities.

  • Planting areas close to the creek side. This shades and cools the water as well as prevents erosion and sedimentation, all of which benefit the coho salmon, released by school children each spring, and endangered coastal cutthroat trout which have maintained a small population  in the creek. These planting sites also provide habitat and food for native birds and small mammals.
  • In total, 322 plants have been planted in these areas and they are showing an average 90% survival rate.
  • Studies of the creek have been completed including water quality, fish and invertebrate sampling and vegetation stratification. We even enlisted the expert assistance from the UBC Entomology Department for the studies of insects.
  • We have been running public walks to educate people about why this freshwater resource is such an important part of the local ecosystem. These also offer participants a great chance to see the diversity of animals that live here thanks to the access to fresh water. These walks have been attended by a total of 112 participants.
  • A total of 160 volunteers have contributed  450 hours to the project conducting restoration work and baseline data collection.

 SPES Executive Director Patricia Thomson says. “We’re extremely grateful to Environment Canada for their generous support. This important project could not happen without that. Beaver Creek is one of the jewels of Stanley Park and something we should all want to see preserved for the future.”

girl and trap

A volunteer checks fish traps in Beaver Creek during a fish monitoring session


fish trap

A fish trap in Beaver Creek helps SPES monitor fish in the creek.

 

This project was undertaken with the financial support of the Government of Canada through the Federal Department of the Environment.

Ce projet a été réalisé avec l’appui financier du Gouvernement du Canada agissant par l’entremise du ministére fédéral de l’Environnement