Renfrew Ravine Park

A Framework for Assessing Ecological Health in Vancouver’s Naturally Managed Areas: With a Case Study in Renfrew Ravine Park

Amanda Wik, Christopher Chang, Gabi Trainor, Grant MacRobbie & Hyeju Lee

Objectives

1. Develop a generalized framework that can be used to assess the ecological condition of NMAs in Vancouver, and evaluate which are in Poor, Fair or Healthy condition.

2. Apply the methodology to assess Renfrew Ravine Park as a case study of the framework and recommend potential management actions based on the determined ecological health and condition of the park.

Recommendations

This methodology and grading system are designed in such a way that the factors which contribute to the failure to achieve a Healthy rating for a section can be identified by the result. This allows for easily identifiable management. For example, if the vegetation section scores a Poor or Fair, and the percentage of invasive species is high, invasive species removal as a part of the restoration actions for that area is clearly needed. Some familiarity with the evaluated NMA will be required to create a precise action plan, but tracing the cause of a depressed rating to its source is simple.

Based on our results and experiences in Renfrew Ravine Park, the recommended actions are as follows: cleaning up litter, installing litter bins, posting warning signs against dumping, invasive species removal, native species planting, upgrading fencing, establishing easily-walkable trails, and constructing a boardwalk similar to the one found in the North section of the park. Each of these actions are highly dependent on the others. Cleaning the area of trash is fruitless if active littering continues. Installing bins and warning signs support this action, and vice versa. Likewise, removing invasive species to plant native species is bound for failure if trails are not established and a high level of trampling continues.

These actions will require regular maintenance to ensure success. If long-term maintenance is not feasible at this time, creating a “no-go” zone of the South section is a possibility following an initial clean-up. Although, creating “no-go” zones is not a preferable action as it reduces the benefit of an NMA to the surrounding community. As an urban park, these NMAs provide considerable benefit to local residents, and all possible action should be taken to preserve that benefit before access is restricted.

Research Poster

Final Report