The Vancouver Fraser Port Authority has completed a project to improve safety and protect native flora and fauna by removing derelict boats and structures along the Fraser River. A total of 151 sites with derelict boats and structures were addressed over five years as part of the $2-million Fraser River Improvement Initiative. The project has cleared municipal waterways and shipping channels.
A risk assessment of all the derelict sites prioritized the work based on the likelihood and possible severity of potential impacts on the environment, communities and navigation. Work on the sites began with attempts to contact owners and, where possible, work with them to ensure the safe removal of structures or boats.
The wetland habitat along the Fraser River is critical to a wide variety of wildlife and plants. The abandoned boats and derelict structures such as old docks posed a risk to the environment and public safety. They can harm surrounding wildlife and habitat by leaching out toxic chemicals such as fuel, oil and paint, or smother and destroy environmentally sensitive habitats, as well as diminish the quality of life for residents of the surrounding communities.