Collaboration between the Port Mann/Highway 1 Improvement Project, Metro Vancouver and the Kwikwetlem First Nation to enhance habitat in Colony Farm Regional Park has resulted in young salmon returning to the area for the first time in 100 years.
The newly enhanced habitat is a rearing area for young fish to help improve their chances of survival. During fish sampling in April 2012, biologists found four species of Pacific salmon there: Chinook, chum, Coho, and pink. Since salmon play an important role in the overall ecosystem, this project will also help increase species diversity in the park.
With the habitat enhancement work substantially complete, the Wilson Farm area of the park once again has accessible habitat for juvenile salmon, and better connections to the Coquitlam River and lower Fraser River ecosystems.
Habitat enhancement features created include widened and deepened channels, new channels and ponds, and self-regulating tide gates. The gates allow water to flow in and out of Wilson Farm and create a nursery-like setting similar to those found in natural, freshwater estuaries. Work is underway to develop an interpretive sign along the popular walking path to explain how the new tidal gates function.
The habitat enhancement at Colony Farm Regional Park is just one of a number of environmental enhancements that are part of the Port Mann/Highway 1 Improvement Project.
In addition to the work at Colony Farm, environmental enhancements are taking place or have been completed in Burnaby at Still Creek near the Willingdon Interchange, near the Kensington Interchange, at Buena Vista Creek near the Gaglardi Interchange, several Burnaby Lake tributaries, and along the Brunette River; in Coquitlam at Como Creek and Mundy Creek; in Surrey at Hjorth Creek; and in the Township of Langley at Brae Slough. The project is also working to create better habitat connections for fish and wildlife passage under Highway 1 at many stream crossings.
The Port Mann/Highway 1 Improvement Project, the largest transportation infrastructure project in B.C. history, will be complete and open to traffic in phases. The first and largest phase, which includes opening eight lanes on the new bridge, widening the highway and rebuilding three interchanges between 160 Street in Surrey and the Cape Horn Interchange in Coquitlam, is expected to be complete by this December.
Minister of Environment Terry Lake -
"We've returned the Colony Farm ecosystem to a valuable, salmon-rearing environment, thanks to this successful partnership between the Kwikwetlem First Nation, the Port Mann/Highway 1 Improvement Project and Metro Vancouver. The return of salmon will contribute to the health and vibrancy of Colony Farm Regional Park and make for an even more enjoyable experience for the many families who visit the park."
Kwikwetlem First Nation Chief Ron Giesbrecht -
"In the Halqu'eméylem language, Kwikwetlem means red fish up the river, and it is our people's enduring stewardship and responsibility to ensure spawning habitat in the Coquitlam River. Therefore, we choose to take a leadership role in the Wilson Farm project as it is a substantial improvement in the habitat for many species of wildlife within our core territory."
Follow the Port Mann Highway 1 project online at: www.portmannbridge.ca
Learn more about the work of the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure online at: www.tranbc.ca
Learn more about the work of the Ministry of Environment online at: www.gov.bc.ca/env/
Port Mann/Highway 1 Project
Transportation Investment Corporation
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Ministry of Environment
Government Communications and Public Engagement
Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure