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Eelgrass transplants under way at the Port of Vancouver

August 18, 2021

As part of its Habitat Enhancement Program, the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority is working with the Tsleil-Waututh Nation on the final stages of the Maplewood Marine Restoration Project. Approximately 125,000 locally sourced eelgrass shoots are being transplanted by hand to establish a new 1.5-hectare (3.7-acre) eelgrass bed — the largest eelgrass transplant ever carried out in Burrard Inlet.

Eelgrass forms part of the world’s most diverse and productive ecosystems. This type of seagrass is a multifunctional habitat for marine and shore birds, and a variety of salmonids. The eelgrass also provides food, shelter and protection for many juvenile fish and shellfish of ecological, cultural, and recreational importance.

The project on Burrard Inlet’s north shore is within the Tsleil-Waututh Nation’s core territory. A large portion of the new marine habitat will fulfill the Centerm Expansion Project fisheries habitat offsetting requirements that were determined by Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

Last year’s work on the project included placing 235,000 cubic metres (307,368 cubic yards) of beneficially reused Fraser River sand and more than 13,000 tonnes (14,330 U.S. tons) of rock in the Maplewood basin. The restructuring is expected to increase fish diversity and populations.

Image from VFPA website