Habitat enhancement work on the Salt Marsh Restoration at Roberts Bank and Boundary Bay was completed in late 2013 and early 2014. To ensure that the habitat meets its biophysical objectives, the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority will continue to monitor the productivity and effectiveness of the enhanced habitat.
About the project
The Salt Marsh Restoration at Roberts Bank and Boundary Bay involved the restoration of salt marsh at five sites in Delta and on Tsawwassen First Nation lands.
Prior to restoration works, the sites were characterized by dense accumulations of historically deposited woody debris, mostly composed of saw-cut logs from the forestry sector. Based on aerial photo reviews, the vast majority of the woody debris had been present for 25 to 70 years before the restoration works were undertaken. The debris was observed to be smothering underlying salt marsh vegetation and had compacted the sediments preventing the associated salt marsh from achieving its full productive capacity.
Restoration works involved the careful removal and proper disposal of excessive woody debris and litter. Wildlife snags were installed to provide perching and roosting habitat for raptors.
The target vegetation species for recolonization includes saltgrass, pickleweed, dunegrass, other halophytic grasses, orache and various salt tolerant herbaceous species (such as silver burweed, gumweed, aster and dock). These salt marsh species provide an important source of primary production, nutrients and organic matter supporting a detritus-based food web utilized by a diverse assemblage of marine and estuarine species. The restored salt marsh will also provide a number of other ecological functions such as wave dampening, carbon sequestration, photosynthesis and oxygen production. Based on similar projects, it is predicted that the salt marsh will be fully functioning within 3 to 5 years.