Vanier Park

The New Commons: How Citizen Science can Support Naturally Managed Areas

Jordan Gray, Matt Koyanagi, Liam Cormack, Luc Couture, and Pritpal Dhillion

Objectives

1. Develop a methodology for determining the ecological health of Naturally Managed Areas (NMA) in Vancouver

2. Apply our methodology for determining ecological health to the NMA in Vanier Park

Recommendations

From our analysis, we identified several possible improvements which could be made. Developing a stewardship program that tasks volunteers with removing litter and addressing vandalism would be a relatively low effort solution which would offer quickly visible improvement to the NMA. We believe that once the NMA has been cleaned up, visitors would be more likely
to refrain from littering or vandalism. To support this goal, signs could be placed throughout the park which aim to educate the public on the ecological restoration efforts being performed. In addition to engaging the public on efforts underway, these signs could also discuss how the average visitor to the park can support these efforts by being respectful of the area by not littering, vandalizing the area, or venturing from the main trail. Furthermore, to reduce habitat disruption, the main trails should be emphasized visually while the non-essential trails should be, temporarily, blocked off while they are restored. Additionally, the removal of invasive species has already been highlighted as an intended course of action for Vanier Park’s NMA by the City
of Vancouver (2019). We agree that this is the best course of action to repopulate the area with native species and further believe that this could also fall under the responsibility of the same stewardship program discussed above.

The adjustments in the previous section are fairly immediate fixes which could be implemented quickly. Unfortunately, topics such as turbidity, drainage, and soil pH lack immediate fixes and would, instead, require persistent effort over a longer period of time. Turbidity and drainage are interrelated as standing water bodies are the result of flooding. Because of this, improving the drainage of the area to eliminate seasonal flooding would improve both drainage and turbidity. Implementing a more effective drainage system into the NMA would likely resolve these issues. There are a number of currently integrated pipes meant
to direct excess surface water into sinks. These sinks, however, occur at various points in the NMA. If flooding can not be entirely eliminated, we would propose developing a manmade pond in the centre of the NMA which excess water could be directed too. This could be used to create an aquatic habitat which could be home to select aquatic species. Additionally, this would create a riparian area in the park which would provide a reliable indicator for ecosystem health. The final category to improve is soil pH. This is a difficult trait to remedy on the scale of an NMA, admittedly. One potential method for increasing soil acidity is to treat soil in the NMA with ammonium (Weil & Brady, 2016).

Research Poster

Final Report