Latest News

Eelgrass transplanting work underway at Maplewood Marine Restoration Project

August 12, 2021

Vancouver, B.C.:  This summer, the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority’s, Habitat Enhancement Program and Tsleil-Waututh Nation (TWN) are advancing the final phases of work on the Maplewood Marine Restoration Project. This includes transplanting approximately 125,000 eelgrass shoots by hand from locally sourced beds, which will create a 1.5-hectare eelgrass bed—the largest eelgrass transplant ever performed in Burrard Inlet.

Eelgrass, a type of seagrass, forms part of the most diverse and productive ecosystems in the world. These habitats serve many functions for a variety of salmonids, marine and shore bird species, and play a vital role in capturing carbon, which helps mitigate climate change impacts. Eelgrass provides food, shelter and protection from predators for many juvenile fish and shellfish of ecological, cultural, and recreational importance.

This transplanting work is the final phase of the Maplewood Marine Restoration Project, which last year placed 235,000 cubic metres of beneficially reused Fraser River sand and over 13,000 tonnes of rock in the Maplewood basin. When finalized, the project is expected to contribute to an increase in the diversity of fish and wildlife.

“This work supports our on-going efforts to create, restore, and enhance fish habitat in Burrard Inlet, and is done in alignment with our vision for the Port of Vancouver to be the world’s most sustainable port,” said Charlotte Olson, manager of infrastructure habitat development for the port authority.

The project is located on the north shore of Burrard Inlet, in the core territory of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation. Burrard Inlet is an ecosystem in recovery, and Maplewood Flats was identified as a key priority among many important cultural sites and restoration initiatives identified in the TWN Burrard Inlet Action Plan.

“As the stewards of the lands and waters in our territory, restoring the Maplewood flats has great significance for TWN. Set as a priority in the Burrard Inlet Action Plan, restoring the Flats will have a positive impact on our efforts to help restore the health of the inlet and return to our traditional harvests that have and continue to provide the sustenance and connection to the land and water that is needed to have TWN culture flourish once again,” said Hillary Hyland, Nation member and environmental specialist with the Treaty Lands and Resource department.

Through an agreement between the port authority and TWN, the project is being delivered by the port authority’s Habitat Enhancement Program, which focuses on creating, restoring and enhancing fish and wildlife habitat to work towards re-establishing a balance between a healthy environment and future infrastructure development that may be required for port operations. A large portion of the marine habitat created at the project site will be used to fulfil the fisheries habitat offsetting requirements for the Centerm Expansion Project, as determined by Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

“We are grateful for the project contributions from Tsleil-Waututh Nation and we have awarded Inlailawatash LP as our contractor to manage the shore crew component of the eelgrass transplant work with Indigenous community members,” continued Olson.

The project team extends thanks to Tsleil-Waututh Nation, to Musqueam and Squamish Nations for their involvement, and to local residents, the staff at Environment Canada’s Pacific Environmental Science Centre, members of the Wild Bird Trust, and the District of North Vancouver for their participation in the design, permitting and construction of this project. Further thanks is extended to CanPac Marine Services for the specialized dive services provided for the eelgrass transplant work, in addition to Island Tug and Barge for providing their facility to support the project.

Media contact
Matti Polychronis
Media relations advisor
[email protected]

About the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority and the Port of Vancouver

The Vancouver Fraser Port Authority is the federal agency responsible for the stewardship of the Port of Vancouver. Like all Canada Port Authorities, we are accountable to the federal minister of transport, and operate pursuant to the Canada Marine Act with a mandate to enable Canada’s trade through the Port of Vancouver, while protecting the environment and considering local communities. The port authority is structured as a non-share corporation, is financially self-sufficient and does not rely on tax dollars for operations. Our revenues come from port terminals and tenants who lease port lands, and from port users who pay various fees such as harbour dues. Profits are reinvested in port infrastructure. The port authority has control over the use of port land and water, which includes more than 16,000 hectares of water, over 1,500 hectares of land, and approximately 350 kilometres of shoreline. Located on the southwest coast of British Columbia in Canada, the Port of Vancouver extends from Roberts Bank and the Fraser River up to and including Burrard Inlet, bordering 16 municipalities and intersecting the traditional territories and treaty lands of several Coast Salish First Nations. The Port of Vancouver is Canada’s largest port, and the third largest in North America by tonnes of cargo. Enabling the trade of approximately $240 billion in goods with more than 170 world economies, port activities sustain 115,300 jobs, $7 billion in wages, and $11.9 billion in GDP across Canada.

Media contact
Vanessa Gonzalez
[email protected]

About Tsleil-Waututh Nation

Tsleil-Waututh Nation is one of many groups of Coast Salish peoples living in the Pacific Northwest. Oral history tells of up to 10,000 Tsleil-Waututh members living in the traditional territory, before contact with Europeans. Tsleil-Waututh ancestors’ survival depended on cycles of hunting, harvesting and preserving foods, and on trade with neighbours. Tsleil-Waututh have a Sacred Trust, a responsibility, to care for and restore traditional territory to its former state. Today, Tsleil-Waututh is more than 600 people strong and growing. The community draws on knowledge from ancestors to remedy past wrongs, reclaim territory and traditions, and advance into a bright future.

See All News

Share this story: