Oceanfront wetland clearing

Several people contacted us last weekend, concerned about tree and brush clearing adjacent to the wetland on the Oceanfront lands. Concerns included impacts to the wetland ecology and one person reported nesting great blue herons.

We contacted the District, who provided this information:

‘A Site Alteration Permit was issued last Friday (March 11) by our General Manager of Development Services, Gary Buxton.  Works include tree and shrub removal as per attached map.  The works were completed yesterday (March 15). No earthworks were approved. No changes to the wetland were approved. The cut materials are being stockpiled on site to be processed later.  Newport Beach Development’s QEP (Ambleside Environmental) walked the site last week before any site activities commenced, and recommended that the work be completed before nesting season began. No herons, or herons nests were observed at the time of the site visit by the QEP.’

SES also contacted knowledgeable local birders who regularly visit the area. They are unaware of any active or inactive great blue heron nests near the wetland.

The Oceanfront plan calls for protection of the wetland (Section The wetland will be a protected area and the focus of environmental education, and wildlife viewing and similar activities;). Short and long-term changes to the surrounding vegetation are a potential concern.

Mr Buxton explained that, 

‘The design of the landscape around the wetland area has not yet been completed, so the design and appearance of the buffers are not yet determined. Please keep in mind that the entire area will be redeveloped in the coming year, and the wetland is designed to be protected as an integral part of the storm water system. There will however, be significant changes to the area around the wetland as a result, and the end result will be significantly different from what is there at present. As the details of site design proceed, the buffers will then be established and protected accordingly. Boardwalks, trails, bridges and the Oceanfront walkway will all be designed at that time.’ He added that the wetland buffers ‘certainly could and should be designed to mimic natural landscaping.’

Thank-you to those who contacted us! And to the community for caring about this vibrant wetland and the plant and animal communities that it supports. 

We encourage you to send any concerns or comments to Gary Buxton, General Manager of Development Services, so that he is aware of them. GBuxton(at)squamish.ca