Waterfowl winter refuge Fraser River Delta risks being lost forever
Sign the petition to assist defend Fraser River Delta
The worth of a tract of land can look very completely different relying on what your priorities are. If you’re a enterprise mogul, you’ll know the Fraser River Delta as Canada’s ‘Gateway to Asia’ – a serious transport and buying and selling hub serviced by industrial delivery, rail and street networks. But for hundreds of thousands of migratory birds, this fertile estuary has a much more essential position because the gateway to their breeding grounds on the arctic tundra.
Every yr, hundreds of waterfowl and waders cease to relaxation and refuel on their spring migration, feasting on crustaceans, molluscs and ‘biofilm’ – slimy sheets of microbes which can be discovered on the huge mudflats of the Fraser River Delta. Most of the worldwide inhabitants of Western Sandpipers Calidris mauri cease right here throughout spring migration. The fatty acids present in biofilm are a significant nutrient supply for this tiny wader, giving it the power to journey one other 3,000 kilometres and begin breeding. It’s protected to say that with out the Fraser River Delta, the complete species might be in danger.
During late summer season and early autumn, the delta turns into an essential hideaway for moulting grebes and sea geese, at their most susceptible (and least glamorous) time of yr. Then in winter, the banks of the estuary develop into carpeted with the plump, downy outlines of swans, geese and geese huddled towards the chilly. Two % of the world’s American Wigeon Mareca americana inhabitants overwinter at Fraser River Delta – this small, compact duck upends itself in the hunt for aquatic vegetation or grazes on marshland and farm fields. Although acquainted and widespread, its inhabitants dropped by 65% between 1966 and 2015 – with lack of habitat a significant component.
But these wetlands don’t simply provide year-round hospitality to migratory birds – in addition they acts as a gateway inland to Canada’s largest migration of untamed salmon. And as effectively welcoming grownup salmon heading upstream, the delta can also be an essential salmon “nursery”, the place juvenile Chinook Salmon Oncorhynchus tshawytscha feed and develop earlier than setting off on their first journey to the Pacific Ocean. This has knock-on advantages: grownup Chinook Salmon are the first meals supply for the extremely threatened southern resident Killer Whale Orcinus orca inhabitants, now all the way down to round 75 people.
And that’s to not point out the gateway to happiness and wellbeing it has offered to people, inspiring numerous Canadian residents to like and respect the pure world.
Given this data, you could be shocked to be taught that this space of uncommon ecological significance has already misplaced 80% of its pure habitat. Now, the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority is proposing a mega-expansion of a delivery terminal at Roberts Bank: a proposal which has been criticised by a federal evaluate panel as having vital opposed results on the delta’s species. BirdLife Partners Nature Canada and Birds Canada, together with native NGO BC Nature, are campaigning for these in energy to place in place a Fraser Estuary Management Plan earlier than any extra growth can happen, and are calling for public help. It’s as much as us to determine what sort of gateway we’d like Fraser River Delta to be.
Visit the Birds Canada web site to make your voice heard.