Wetland Project

Led by Strathcona Community Garden (SCG) & the Environmental Youth Alliance (EYA), leaders in community-run ecological stewardship, with support from partners and collaborators, including the Vancouver Parks Board and BC Wildlife Federation. Aligned with the 2021-2030 United Nations Decade of Ecosystem Restoration – Preventing, Halting and Reversing the Degradation of Ecosystems Worldwide. This project will involve a series of rain gardens and swales to connect to a retention pond and wetland habitat, greatly enhancing this unique and much valued inner-city community greenspace.

Background

Bounded by Prior Street, Hawks and Malkin Avenues, Strathcona Community Garden is located within the traditional territories of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Coast Salish people.

The southern part of the garden along what is now Malkin Avenue was originally marshy, tidal basin and mudflats – part of ‘Upper’ False Creek (between what is now Main Street and Clark Drive). These waters were badly polluted by the time they were filled in at the end of WW I, and the filled lands upon which the SCG are now located served as a garbage dump for a number of years. In 1985, local residents took action to transform this 3.34 acres of vacant city land into the Strathcona Community Garden, which continues to be completely volunteer-run by over 200 gardeners. The relationship with the city was subsequently formalized by a long-term lease with the Vancouver Parks Board. Approximately one-third of the garden, in the southeast quadrant, has always been dedicated as a wildlife habitat area, including a large pond/wetland area. Over time, however, this has been impacted by illegal dumping and the wetland has lost its ability to hold water and is now only a seasonal winter pond, while as recently as 20 years ago, it was able to sustain a year-round population of frogs.

Vision

A year-round aquatic habitat to increase biodiversity and re-establish typical wetlands and plant communities of the historic False Creek Flats along with a series of ephemeral rain gardens. The SCG and EYA started ‘rewilding’ this portion of the garden in 2016, by removing invasive and re-introducing native species, and they are now proceeding in 2022 with the long-planned implementation of measures to restore the year-round functionality of the pond in the wild area.

Goals

Enhancing wildlife habitat, providing a safe urban oasis for public enjoyment, improving community access to nature, supporting child and youth teaching opportunities, and improving storm water management within the garden.

Process

The SCG and EYA are leads on this initiative, which has to date involved engagement with the Vancouver Parks Board, the BC Wildlife Federation, Simon Fraser University Ecological Restoration and British Columbia Institute of Technology Ecological Restoration programs, among others.

To stay informed, or to get involved, please monitor this and the SCG events webpages.  

Acknowledgements

Financial support from Environment and Climate Change Canada’s EcoAction Community Funding Program, Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation, City of Vancouver Greenest City fund, Telus Friendly Future Foundation and the VanCity Community Foundation is gratefully acknowledged. Also brought to you by the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority, proudly representing the Port of Vancouver.

How to get involved

Meet at the concrete compost pad off of Malkin. We’ll be removing invasives, transplanting, and testing water levels. Learn more about this awesome project we’re doing in collaboration with EYA.

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