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Helping the Burrard Inlet ecosystem: salt marsh in New Brighton Park already attracting juvenile salmon and rich marine life

September 21 2017

“Vancouver residents cherish healthy ecosystems and biodiversity and the Park Board continues to look for more ways to enhance it.”

New Brighton Park Shoreline Habitat Restoration Project

A new tidal wetland in New Brighton Park in east Vancouver has been created to improve access to nature for park visitors, and provide habitat for fish, birds and other wildlife.

The Vancouver Park Board and Port of Vancouver, in consultation with Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Nations, have worked together on this unique project to improve the health of Burrard Inlet.

The project is a significant opportunity to enhance coastal wetland habitat on the south shore of Burrard Inlet. Loss of tidal wetlands from Coal Harbour to Second Narrows has impaired the area’s ability to support fish and wildlife.

The creation of a salt marsh is also part of the restoration of Hastings Creek through Hastings Park.

Learn more about the project

“The intertidal zone in New Brighton Park was filled in during the rapid growth of Vancouver in the 1960s. This project removed some of this fill and created a wetland that is critical for migrating fish and birds. It’s an exciting project and we’ve already seen chum and chinook salmon fry using the wetland this spring,” said Park Board Chair Michael Wiebe. 

“Vancouver residents cherish healthy ecosystems and biodiversity and the Park Board continues to look for more ways to enhance it.” 

About salt marshes

Salt marshes are tidal wetlands that serve as the transition from the ocean to the land. They are among the world’s most productive and vulnerable ecosystems.

Salt marsh plants are salt tolerant and adapted to changing water levels. In addition to preventing coastal erosion and reducing flooding, they also act as nurseries and refuges for many species of marine animals, and protect water quality by filtering runoff.

Native plants, including 25,000 salt marsh plugs, over 800 trees, and 3,500 coastal shrubs have been planted in the newly constructed wetland. Many of these plants will benefit a broad range of species such as songbirds, raptors, and native bees.

Opportunities for visitors to experience nature and view wildlife

The $3.5 million project, of which the Park Board contributed $400,000, also creates new opportunities for park visitors to experience nature and view wildlife.

New picnic tables, viewing decks, gravel pathways, and interpretive signs will enhance the visitor experience. The First Nations contributed information on their rich cultural connection to Burrard Inlet.

In order to create the salt marsh the Park Board removed old tennis courts and re-located a portion of dog off-leash area to the west side of the park.

Park Board’s Biodiversity Strategy

The Park Board is working on similar biodiversity projects elsewhere such as restoring a historical stream through Volunteer and Tatlow parks on the city’s west side. Construction is expected to begin next summer. 

These initiatives support the Park Board’s Biodiversity Strategy to improve ecosystems throughout the city. 

Read the Park Board’s Biodiversity Strategy  (8 MB)