Category Archives: Local Health

Stanley Park’s aquatic life on ‘red alert’: ecology report

Conservation projects manager Ariane Comeau in front of Lost Lagoon, where more invasive species of fish like carp and three-spined stickleback have been able to survive in warmer water.

Stanley Park’s tree cover is growing, but aquatic life in Beaver Lake isn’t doing very well at all, according to a new report on the park’s ecological health.

The report by the Stanley Park Ecology Society found that the park has 1,031 native species that include 239 birds, 27 mammals and two reptiles. The biggest group are invertebrates and zooplankton at 325.

The 46 native species at risk include western grebe, double crested cormorant and little brown (myotis) bats.

Ariane Comeau, conservation projects manager, said that between 2013 and 2015 the park’s tree cover increased by eight per cent because 15,000 trees and shrubs were replanted to replace more than 10,000 trees lost during the windstorm of 2006.

“It’s really great to see,” Comeau said in an interview. “The tree cover has significantly increased in the blow-down areas.”

The report, however, issued a “red alert” for fresh water ecosystems such as Beaver Lake and Lost Lagoon.

“Water temperatures are high in Beaver Lake and Lost Lagoon and oxygen levels are exceptionally low in Beaver Lake to the point they are reaching lethal levels for salmonids and amphibians,” the report summary says.

“Without proper intervention, the situation is expected to worsen.”

Comeau said what the SPES is seeing are more hardy species such as three-spined stickleback and invasive species such as carp.

“Both are known at being able to survive in harsh conditions,” she said.

“The fact that these are the only ones we’re seeing recently is quite alarming.”

One of the native species that hasn’t been seen in fresh-water areas for decades is the northern red-legged frog.

Conditions are changing rapidly at Beaver Lake because of pink and white water lilies that were introduced in 1938 to celebrate the 40th anniversary jubilee of Dutch Queen Wilhelmina.

By summer, water lilies cover almost all of the water’s surface. Whey they die, they produce so much biomass they’re filling up the lake and making the water shallower. When that happens, the water can warm dramatically, especially during summer months.

In 1938, Beaver Lake was 6.7 hectares in size; today, it’s less than 3.9 ha.

Each spring, classes of students release salmonids into Beaver Lake as part of a Department of Fisheries and Oceans initiative. But warming conditions mean it’s not safe for the salmonids to survive.

 ‘It’s really great to see,’ Ariane Comeau says of the increased tree cover in Stanley Park in the last decade-plus since the devastating 2006 windstorm. ‘The tree cover has significantly increased in the blow-down areas.’

After the last report on the ecological health of the park in 2010, the park board developed an ecological action plan for Stanley Park that included dredging parts of Beaver Lake to create deeper, cooler areas. But as yet no dredging has taken place.

Comeau is releasing the full State of the Park Report for the Ecological Integrity of Stanley Park 2020 on Wednesday prior to the ecology society ’s virtual annual general meeting at 8 pm.

While the park’s seawall is a major tourist attraction, it also affects the park’s ecosystem by limiting nutrient exchange between the intertidal areas and the land.

The report says that the the future, the seawall will amplify negative affects of climate change by contributing to coastal squeeze: as ocean levels rise, the size of intertidal area will be reduced which will in turn lead to a reduction in food sources for mammals and birds.

Some of the park’s ecological restoration and habitat enhancement initiatives since 2010 have included building a boardwalk in Cathedral Trail, installing 23 nest boxes for swallows and wood ducks in Lost Lagoon and Beaver Lake, and removing more than 800 cubic metres of invasive plants.

“The main goal is really to have a better idea of what exists, how things are doing, how things are changing ecologically,” Comeau said about the report.

“Having this information helps stewardship or management plans to better protect ecosystems and species in the park.”

When the next report is released in 2030, the ecology society hopes to include traditional ecological knowledge of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh nations. The new report says that “knowledge” would encompass “a more holistic picture of the park’s ecological integrity,” which would take into account the use of the land in pre-park times.

kevingriffin@postmedia.com

Related

CLICK HERE to report a typo.

Is there more to this story? We’d like to hear from you about this or any other stories you think we should know about. Email vantips@postmedia.com.

Vancouver Farmers Market offers online ordering and delivery for local produce

Seasonal worker Grace Wampold is at the Tsawwassen First Nation Farm School stand selling vegetables at the Main Street Station Farmers Market in Vancouver on Sept. 23.

Local farmers don’t only need to know how to grow healthy produce, they also need to know how to best get those vegetables onto locals’ dinner plates.

“It’s a real challenge for farmers who do small-scale, sustainable farming to do everything,” said Sarah Clements, manager of the Tsawwassen First Nation Farm School, an urban farming collaboration between the First Nation and the Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s agriculture department. “They have to be business people and growers and have plant knowledge and soil-management skills, and know how to market and sell their produce.”

The farm school sells what it grows at two of the Vancouver Farmers Market’s (VFM) outlets, at the Main Street Station and the one in Mount Pleasant, as well as through boxes of vegetables that it puts together for its regular 150 customers who have pre-paid to pick them up each week between June and October.

A retail element that was missing from its business model was an online and delivery option because it would take more expertise, time and resources than the school has.

“An online market is super-important,” said Clements. That has become more evident during COVID-19 as restrictions and infection fears keep customers from their usual shopping routines.

So the farm school signed up with B.C. Local Root, which offers to sell and deliver goods for the dozens of vendors who normally sell their produce and products at one of six Vancouver summer markets.

Vancouver Farmers Market entered into the partnership with B.C. Local Root to give shoppers a third option to shop at the six summer and two winter markets, said Laura Smit, VFM’s interim executive director.

She said COVID-19 restrictions have cut in-person traffic to the markets by 50 per cent at some of the locations and online ordering was left up to individual vendors, who may or may not offer delivery. B.C. Local Root offers a centralized online system that would allow shoppers to choose items from different vendors in one order.

“It’s the convenience factor, and they’ll deliver it to your door,” she said.

Smit said the service is unique because it allows shoppers to buy exclusively from B.C. producers. There is a delivery fee for orders under $50 for the new service, which started at the start of September. And vendors need to sign up, and so far there are fewer than two dozen vendors from Vancouver markets offering mostly prepared items, such as hummus and jams, said Smit.

BClocalroot.ca also offers more than 400 B.C.-grown-and-made products from 65-plus brands from nine regions in the province, it said in a news release.

Clements said the farm school is hoping B.C. Local Root will be a place to sell winter squash, potatoes and onions during the off-season, and is willing to remain with the platform next season. The farm school appreciates the marketing and sales support it provides for small-scale farmers, and Clements calls it a “great initiative.”

But B.C. Local Root charges producers and processors 30 per cent.

“If we could, we would rather sell the produce ourselves and capture the whole dollar amount,” Clements said.

She said as a non-profit group (any money it makes goes back to the school), the farm school doesn’t have to worry about making certain profit margins, as for-profit groups would have to.

“We’re just kind of experimenting,” Clements said. “That would be great if it grows and takes off. We’re hoping it keeps going.”

Vancouver Farmers Market offers online ordering and delivery for local produce

Seasonal worker Grace Wampold is at the Tsawwassen First Nation Farm School stand selling vegetables at the Main Street Station Farmers Market in Vancouver on Sept. 23.

Local farmers don’t only need to know how to grow healthy produce, they also need to know how to best get those vegetables onto locals’ dinner plates.

“It’s a real challenge for farmers who do small-scale, sustainable farming to do everything,” said Sarah Clements, manager of the Tsawwassen First Nation Farm School, an urban farming collaboration between the First Nation and the Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s agriculture department. “They have to be business people and growers and have plant knowledge and soil-management skills, and know how to market and sell their produce.”

The farm school sells what it grows at two of the Vancouver Farmers Market’s (VFM) outlets, at the Main Street Station and the one in Mount Pleasant, as well as through boxes of vegetables that it puts together for its regular 150 customers who have pre-paid to pick them up each week between June and October.

A retail element that was missing from its business model was an online and delivery option because it would take more expertise, time and resources than the school has.

“An online market is super-important,” said Clements. That has become more evident during COVID-19 as restrictions and infection fears keep customers from their usual shopping routines.

So the farm school signed up with B.C. Local Root, which offers to sell and deliver goods for the dozens of vendors who normally sell their produce and products at one of six Vancouver summer markets.

Vancouver Farmers Market entered into the partnership with B.C. Local Root to give shoppers a third option to shop at the six summer and two winter markets, said Laura Smit, VFM’s interim executive director.

She said COVID-19 restrictions have cut in-person traffic to the markets by 50 per cent at some of the locations and online ordering was left up to individual vendors, who may or may not offer delivery. B.C. Local Root offers a centralized online system that would allow shoppers to choose items from different vendors in one order.

“It’s the convenience factor, and they’ll deliver it to your door,” she said.

Smit said the service is unique because it allows shoppers to buy exclusively from B.C. producers. There is a delivery fee for orders under $50 for the new service, which started at the start of September. And vendors need to sign up, and so far there are fewer than two dozen vendors from Vancouver markets offering mostly prepared items, such as hummus and jams, said Smit.

BClocalroot.ca also offers more than 400 B.C.-grown-and-made products from 65-plus brands from nine regions in the province, it said in a news release.

Clements said the farm school is hoping B.C. Local Root will be a place to sell winter squash, potatoes and onions during the off-season, and is willing to remain with the platform next season. The farm school appreciates the marketing and sales support it provides for small-scale farmers, and Clements calls it a “great initiative.”

But B.C. Local Root charges producers and processors 30 per cent.

“If we could, we would rather sell the produce ourselves and capture the whole dollar amount,” Clements said.

She said as a non-profit group (any money it makes goes back to the school), the farm school doesn’t have to worry about making certain profit margins, as for-profit groups would have to.

“We’re just kind of experimenting,” Clements said. “That would be great if it grows and takes off. We’re hoping it keeps going.”

Vancouver Farmers Market offers online ordering and delivery for local produce

Seasonal worker Grace Wampold is at the Tsawwassen First Nation Farm School stand selling vegetables at the Main Street Station Farmers Market in Vancouver on Sept. 23.

Local farmers don’t only need to know how to grow healthy produce, they also need to know how to get those vegetables onto locals’ dinner plates.

“It’s a real challenge for farmers who do small-scale, sustainable farming to do everything,” said Sarah Clements, manager of the Tsawwassen First Nation Farm School, an urban farming collaboration between the First Nation and the Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s agriculture department.

“They have to be business people and growers and have plant knowledge and soil-management skills, and know how to market and sell their produce.”

The farm school sells what it grows at two of the Vancouver Farmers Market’s (VFM) outlets, at the Main Street station and the one in Mount Pleasant, as well as through boxes of vegetables that it puts together for its regular 150 customers who have pre-paid to pick them up each week between June and October.

A retail element that was missing from its business model was an online and delivery option because it would take more expertise, time and resources than the school has.

“An online market is super important,” said Clements. That has become more evident during COVID-19 as restrictions and infection fears keep customers from their usual shopping routines.

So the farm school signed up with BCLocalRoot.ca, which offers to sell and deliver goods for the dozens of vendors who normally sell their produce and products at one of six Vancouver summer markets.

Vancouver Farmers Market entered into the partnership with BCLocalRoot.ca to give shoppers a third option to shop at the six summer and two winter markets, said Laura Smit, VFM’s interim executive director.

She said COVID-19 restrictions have cut in-person traffic to the markets by 50 per cent at some of the locations and online ordering was left up to individual vendors, who may or may not offer delivery. BCLocalRoot.ca offers a centralized online system that would allow shoppers to choose items from different vendors in one order.

“It’s the convenience factor, and they’ll deliver it to your door,” she said.

Smit said the service is unique because it allows shoppers to buy exclusively from B.C. producers. There is a delivery fee for orders under $50 for the new service, which started at the start of September. And vendors need to sign up, and so far there are fewer than two dozen vendors from Vancouver markets offering mostly prepared items, such as hummus and jams, said Smit.

BCLocalRoot.ca also offers more than 400 B.C. grown and made products from 65-plus brands from nine regions in the province, it said in a news release.

Clements said the farm school is hoping BCLocalRoot.ca will be a place to sell winter squash, potatoes and onions during the off-season, and is willing to remain with the platform next season. The farm school appreciates the marketing and sales support it provides for small-scale farmers, and Clements calls it a “great initiative.”

But BCLocalRoot.ca charges producers and processors for the service, a percentage it didn’t want to disclose because it’s proprietary, said spokeswoman Andrea Gray-Grant in an email.

“If we could, we would rather sell the produce ourselves and capture the whole dollar amount,” Clements said.

She said as a non-profit group (any money it makes goes back to the school), the farm school doesn’t have to worry about making certain profit margins, as for-profit groups would have to.

“We’re just kind of experimenting,” Clements said. “That would be great if it grows and takes off. We’re hoping it keeps going.”