About the project
The Maplewood Marine Restoration Project is located on the north shore of Burrard Inlet, approximately two kilometres east of the Ironworkers Memorial Bridge, in a marine site that was identified as a restoration priority by the Tsleil-Waututh Nation. The site lies within a large marine tidal area immediately south of a wildlife conservation area. The upland Maplewood Flats Conservation Area is managed and administered by Environment Canada and operated by the Wild Bird Trust of British Columbia.
Aerial photo of the Maplewood Marine Restoration Project post-restoration
The project site is located within a deep waterlot basin – up to 9 metres deep – that was dredged in the 1940s to support a gravel extraction business and was later used as a log storage area. The project has restored approximately 4.5 hectares of low-diversity marine habitat into higher-diversity marine habitat for fish, birds and other wildlife.
The project was delivered by the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority’s Habitat Enhancement Program, which focuses on creating, restoring and enhancing fish and wildlife habitat to help maintain a balance between a healthy environment and future infrastructure development that may be required for port operations. A portion of the marine habitat created at the project site is being used to fulfil the fisheries habitat offsetting requirements for the Centerm Expansion Project, as determined by Fisheries and Oceans Canada.
In 2022, the project received the Innovation in Sustainability Award from Engineers and Geoscientists of BC. This award celebrates ethics, imagination, and innovation and recognizes the leadership roles engineers and geoscientists play in environmental protection and environmental enhancements. The project also received the Natural Resource & Habitat Award for Engineering Excellence at the Association of Consulting Engineering Companies-British Columbia Awards.
In 2021, the project was given the Environmental Managers Association of BC award for remediation and restoration, which recognizes outstanding work in the investigation and remediation or restoration for the environmental improvement of a site under federal or provincial jurisdiction.
A significant component of the project involved transplanting eelgrass from donor sites into the Maplewood basin. The final project activity, eelgrass transplanting wrapped up in August 2021. Crews transplanted ~125,000 eelgrass shoots to create a 1.5-hectare eelgrass bed, the largest eelgrass transplant ever performed in Burrard Inlet. The port authority worked with Indigenous nations on the planning and implementation of this transplanting work, which will increase the overall understanding of future restoration and offsetting opportunities. Watch a short video on the transplanting process used on this project.
The port authority thanks Tsleil-Waututh Nation for their collaboration on this project, 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 understanding and patience during construction, and for their participation in the design, permitting and construction of this project.
Our approach to public and stakeholder engagement is based on two-way communication and open dialogue, working together to ensure the community, the environment and the economy are all considered during project planning.
The location of this habitat enhancement project was chosen based on input from stakeholders and Indigenous groups.
During engagement, we asked you to provide feedback on the Project team’s proposed notification methods for construction and project updates, and a proposed ecological or cultural feature. We held an open house on October 2, 2018.