Keeping the Fraser mighty

October 30, 2016

The mighty Fraser River winds its way through our Lower Mainland communities, and is an important part of our history as British Columbians. It provides jobs, supports our economy, and is popular for recreation. It’s also a vital habitat for fish, birds and wildlife.

That’s why the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority is cleaning up more than 150 sites on the river that may affect natural habitat or communities nearby. It’s just one of the ways we are helping to protect the place we all live. Because we want to keep the Fraser mighty for generations to come.

We have a number of programs and initiatives focused on supporting a healthy environment, growing trade, and thriving communities along the Fraser River:

Fraser River Improvement Initiative

The Fraser River Improvement Initiative is a five-year program, initiated in 2013, to clean up municipal waterways and shipping channels on the Fraser River. The initiative targets neglected vessels and structures that pose risk to wildlife or natural habitats, or impede navigational safety on the Fraser River.

Identified sites can be an environmental or navigational hazard on the river, and can lessen the quality of life in local communities. We have committed approximately $2 million, over five years, to the program.

We start by trying to contact owners and, where possible, work with them to ensure safe removal. Recent sites that have been addressed under the program include several vessels on the shores of the Annacis Channel in New Westminster, and the removal of piles in Gunderson Slough in Delta, ultimately benefitting the intertidal marsh habitat in the area, navigation and public safety.

Listen how the initiative is helping to protect the place we all live:

Watch our PortTV episode for a firsthand look at the work that’s being done:


Learn more about the Fraser River Improvement Initiative

Partners in education

Working River Project

We are working together with industry and government partners to support the Fraser River Discovery Centre’s Working River Project.

Set to open in 2017, the project will tell the economic story of the living, working Fraser River. It will be a $2.25 million world-class educational exhibit that personalizes the Fraser for everyone. Through interactive technology – and dialogue on key topics – visitors will discover how the lower reaches of the Fraser River touch their daily lives through a complex web of social, environmental and economic considerations.

Habitat enhancement

Fraser River habitat benchOur Habitat Enhancement Program creates, restores and enhances fish and wildlife habitat to help maintain a balance between a healthy environment and future development that may be required for port operations.

On the Fraser River, we undertook the Glenrose Tidal Marsh Project to improve the overall productivity of the river between the Alex Fraser Bridge and Gunderson Slough, by providing high quality habitat for juvenile salmon rearing. The project was also undertaken in response to requests from local First Nations to protect archeological values as some of the sites had been subject to degradation from erosion and the illegal collection of artifacts and archeological material.

Community investment – dredging

Dredging is an essential part of the port authority’s long-term strategy to ensure the Fraser River can continue to support trade and meet Transport Canada’s safe navigation requirements. It involves the careful removal and disposal of sediment from clogged navigation channels to ensure vessels can safely transit to their destination.

We launched the Local Channel Dredging Contribution Program in November 2009, the first port authority in Canada to provide funding contributions for local communities with waterways falling outside of the main domestic and international shipping channels.

Last year, we completed a $10-million collaboration to dredge the lower Fraser River in Ladner Harbour, Deas Slough, Sea Reach and Cannery Channel.