The Department of Fisheries and Oceans is currently working on a habitat restoration project in Steveston Harbour near the Atagi bank. Here is a brief project description in the words of the project manager:
“The Fraser River Estuary is the largest estuary on the Pacific Coast of North America, and an ecosystem of global significance. From brackish marshes to riverine channels, the estuary supports the stocks of the largest salmon-producing river on the west coast by providing critical juvenile rearing grounds and essential staging areas for returning adults. It also provides a crucial rest stop for migrating birds along the Pacific Flyway and is a major wintering area for the largest concentrations of waterfowl and raptors in Canada. Steveston Harbour occupies a unique niche in the estuary, straddling important wildlife habitat with a diverse metropolitan area. As the largest DFO commercial fishing harbour, Steveston is an important hub for many types of marine transportation, complete with amenities for recreational boaters to deep sea vessels.
As part of our Environmental Stewardship goals, and along with ongoing improvements to our facilities, we are participating in a number of habitat enhancement projects to help maintain a balance between the environment and operational development. At the Harbour’s main industrial site, Paramount, we are building a marshland. Phase one of this project is already complete: an anchored sheet pile wall has been installed to encompass about 3000 m2 of designated habitat (that’s 2/3 the size of a football field!). Phase two is scheduled for later this summer, when dredge material will be used to fill the area and planted with native vegetation. When complete, the marsh will not only provide essential food, refuge or nursery habitat for many fish and bird species, but also will serve to slow and absorb rainwater and protect water quality by filtering runoff, trapping sediments and metabolizing excess organic inputs.”