Tsawwassen Eelgrass Project

August 12, 2015

Project status

Permit issued

On February 26, 2018, a project permit was issued to the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority’s Habitat Enhancement Program to develop the Tsawwassen Eelgrass Project which consists of two sites located southeast of the Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal near Delta, British Columbia. The majority of these two sites are on federal waters managed by the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority. The project permit only authorizes works and activities to be undertaken on lands administered by the port authority and the permit holder is responsible for obtaining any additional approvals for activities on lands outside of these.

The project was approved subject to 37 permit conditions the port authority’s Habitat Enhancement Program project team must meet to ensure the project does not result in significant adverse environmental effects.

For more information about the project and construction activities, please go to the project website. Construction may take up to six months and may involve night work.

About the project

The Vancouver Fraser Port Authority’s Habitat Enhancement Program proposes to raise the elevation of two subtidal depressions and create eelgrass beds on Roberts Bank near Delta. The proposed project would convert two depressions, which were likely generated by historic dredging activities, into more productive fish habitat by creating two beds of suitable elevation and substrate for the establishment and persistence of eelgrass. The sites are bordered to the north by a recreational boating channel and are surrounded by eelgrass meadows to the south and east.

The proposed project would result in the conversion of approximately 4.26 hectares of lower-value subtidal areas into higher value eelgrass habitat. Creation of these eelgrass beds would be accomplished by constructing rock containment berms followed by the placement of suitable substrate and the transplanting of eelgrass.

Project activities and components include:

Berm Construction and Placement of Fill

  • Two separate perimeter berms would be constructed adjacent to the southern edge of the recreational boating channel, followed by the placement of suitable fill material within the berms.
  • The two sites would be approximately 43,000 m2 in total area, consisting of 26,000 m2 at site 1 and 17,000 m2 at site 2.
  • The perimeter berms would extend approximately 3 m above the existing seabed, with 4:1 side slopes to be constructed of suitable quarry run rock (along the outside of the berm) and quarry screenings (along the inside of the berm).
  • A total of approximately 23,000 m3 of quarried rock materials is expected to be required for berm construction.
  • Two navigational markers would be installed on the north side of the sites at both ends of each containment berm (four total).
  • The existing elevations of the depressions (approximately -5.0 m to -6.0 m chart datum (CD) would be raised to approximately -2.25 m CD at site 1 and -1.4 m CD at site 2.)
  • Approximately 135,000 m3 of sand fill is expected to be required for the project. The sides of the resultant beds would be blended to match adjacent eelgrass beds.
  • Fill would be clean dredged sand fill, sourced from the lower reaches of the South Arm of the Fraser River.
  • Specific material placement methods would be determined following contractor selection and is dependent upon appropriate dredging equipment and vessel/barge draft requirements.
  • A survey would be conducted to confirm the proper establishment of the beds and that design elevations have been achieved.

Eelgrass Transplanting

  • Following construction, stabilization, and final survey of the eelgrass beds, eelgrass from donor stock would be transplanted.
  • Eelgrass donor material would be sourced from suitable adjacent eelgrass beds using divers utilizing self-contained underwater breathing apparatus (SCUBA).

Resources

February 2018 – Approved Project Permit (PP15-167): VFPA HEP Tsawwassen Eelgrass Project [PDF]
February 2018 – Project and Environmental Review Report: VFPA HEP Tsawwassen Eelgrass Project [PDF]
May 2017 – Consideration Report: VFPA HEP Tsawwassen Eelgrass Project [PDF]
May 2017 – Consultation Summary Report: VFPA HEP Tsawwassen Eelgrass Project [PDF]
January 2017 – Project Permit Application Form: VFPA HEP Tsawwassen Eelgrass Project [PDF]
January 2017 – Project Permit Application Project Description: VFPA HEP Tsawwassen Eelgrass Project [PDF]
January 2017 – Project Permit Application Design Drawings: VFPA HEP Tsawwassen Eelgrass Project [PDF]
January 2017 – Project Permit  Application Key Milestones: VFPA HEP Tsawwassen Eelgrass Project [PDF]
January 2017 – Project Permit Application Property Drawing: VFPA HEP Tsawwassen Eelgrass Project [PDF]
January 2017 – Project Permit Application Scuba Survey Results: VFPA HEP Tsawwassen Eelgrass Project [PDF]
January 2017 – Project Permit Application Listed Species: VFPA HEP Tsawwassen Eelgrass Project [PDF]
January 2017 – Project Permit Application Source Sediment Characterization: VFPA HEP Tsawwassen Eelgrass Project [PDF]
January 2017 – Project Permit Application Assessment of Serious Harm: VFPA HEP Tsawwassen Eelgrass Project [PDF]
February 2017 – Project Permit Application Noise Assessment Screening: VFPA HEP Tsawwassen Eelgrass Project [PDF]

Contact information

For more information about the Habitat Enhancement Program’s proposed project, please go to the project website or contact Charlotte Olson by email or phone at 604.665.9071.

For questions regarding the Project and Environmental Review process, please contact us by email or phone at 604.655.9047.