Private industrial park development within southeast Burnaby required the infill of part of a small creek and drainage ditches. The affected creek and ditches formed part of an open drainage system that drained to the Fraser River through a pump station. The affected creek and ditches were considered fish habitat by Fisheries and Oceans Canada.
Canadian National Railway Properties Inc. commissioned a comprehensive compensation plan to offset impacts in accordance with Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s ‘no net loss’ habitat policy. Rather than create only like-for-like habitat, where a new creek and ditches would be created as compensation for project-related impacts, an integrated approach was applied to the development of the compensation plan. A new creek was created to offset impacts to creek fish habitat. A highly productive fish habitat was created within a single landscape feature, specifically a 1.6 hectare intertidal marsh-riparian woodland complex, to offset impacts to fish habitat attributable to the infilling of ditches.
A new dyke was constructed along the upland margin of the marsh-woodland complex. Two distinct marsh basins were created, each surrounded by constructed riparian woodland. The ecological value of the features sustained by the complex is far greater than that of the drainage ditches impacted by development.
Envirowest developed the compensation plan on behalf of Canadian National Railway Properties Inc. We obtained the Section 35(2) Fisheries Act Authorization for the project. We facilitated permitting under the auspices of the Fraser River Estuary Management Program. Envirowest conducted the design of the habitat complex, administered the physical construction of the project, and provided construction services for the planting of habitats. We implemented a phased planting program for the woodland, where groundcover, shrub and tree species were planted incrementally over 3 years. This adaptive approach greatly facilitated the successful establishment of a natural assemblage of native plant species of high habitat value to both fish and wildlife.