Public and private development within northeast Port Coquitlam required the infill of drainage ditches. These ditches comprised an open drainage system that drained to the Pitt River through pump stations. The ditches were considered fish habitat by Fisheries and Oceans Canada.
The City of Port Coquitlam, in partnership with private developers, developed a comprehensive compensation plan to offset impacts in accordance with Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s ‘no net loss’ habitat policy. Rather than create like-for-like habitat, where new ditches would be created as part of the compensation for project-related impacts, highly productive fish habitats were consolidated into a single large-scale landscape feature, specifically a 6.5-hectare intertidal wetland complex.
The existing dyke was relocated inland, restoring historical floodplain, to create off-channel habitat unencumbered by the maintenance and operation of the drainage system. The biophysical character of the wetland complex is borrowed from natural wetlands that occur upstream within the Pitt River system. The ecological value of the features sustained by the wetland complex is far greater than that of the drainage ditches impacted by development.
Envirowest developed the compensation plan on behalf of the City of Port Coquitlam. 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 wetland and provided technical support to the administration of the contract for construction. We are currently monitoring the efficacy of compensation habitats in satisfying the performance requirements of the Authorization.