South Causeway Eelgrass Project

About the project

Eelgrass meadows at Roberts Bank near Delta, British Columbia.

The Vancouver Fraser Port Authority is advancing the proposed South Causeway Eelgrass Project (formerly the Tsawwassen Eelgrass Project) as a proposed fish habitat offsetting project for the Roberts Bank Terminal 2 (RBT2) Project. The project covers approximately four hectres and consists of two sites located in a water lot managed by BC Ferries on Roberts Bank, south of the BC Ferries Tsawwassen terminal and causeway near Delta, B.C.

The below water (subtidal) sites are bordered to the north by a recreational boating channel and are surrounded by eelgrass meadows to the south and east. The sites currently consist of subtidal depressions which were likely created as a result of historic dredging activities. Currently, these depressions are too deep to be naturally colonized by eelgrass.

The construction of the proposed South Causeway Eelgrass Project would fill these deep depressions using a sand fill, and as a result create a suitable elevation that will support the transplanting of eelgrass into these areas. Eelgrass beds are highly productive habitats in the Roberts Bank ecosystem, providing numerous ecological functions, such as shelter, spawning, and rearing habitat for many species.

Project status

The proposed South Causeway Eelgrass Project is currently in the permitting and approvals stage.

In 2016, the BC Environmental Assessment Office granted the port authority an exemption from requiring a provincial environmental assessment certificate for the proposed project. Projects can be exempted from provincial environmental assessment if they are unlikely to result in significant adverse environmental, social, economic health or heritage effects. Further information is available on the BC Environmental Assessment Office webpage.

The South Causeway Eelgrass Project team is engaging Indigenous groups, stakeholders and regulators, and will notify the public of project updates.

The offsetting project would be subject to approval from Fisheries and Oceans Canada as offsetting for the RBT2 Project through the Fisheries Act Authorization process. An amended project and environmental review permit was issued by the port authority in 2022.