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Ecological Network

Bath Slough Revitalization Initiative

Bath Slough forms part of a historical watercourse complex that stretched across Lulu Island. The Bath Slough catchment area spans over 750 hectares of industrial and residential land in the Bridgeport area, stretching from the Fraser River in the north to Highway 91 in the south, and from Shell Road to past No.6 Rd. in the east.

Beginnings of Bath Slough
Bath SloughWith development accelerating in Richmond, a significant recommendation was made in a 1973 drainage study not to bury / culvert Bath Slough and to retain some of the natural form and character of the waterway. Related enhancement and restoration activities started as early as 1980 with the objective to preserve natural features while “preserving the slough’s function as a drainage canal and providing both a recreation corridor and an aesthetic buffer between land uses”. Volunteer planting efforts in the mid-1980s were the earliest community driven enhancement projects and were successful, if modest in scope. Limited community engagement since then has led to degradation of the corridor through illegal dumping, poor water quality, vandalism and infestations of invasive plant species.

Bath Slough Revitalization
for today and future generations
Bath Slough, as one of the few remaining natural watercourses in Richmond is today a key part of the City's Ecological Network. The slough is an ecological corridor linking the Fraser River and the interior of the island, and it provides ecosystem services such as wildlife habitat and storage and conveyance of rain water. In addition to its ecological benefits, Bath Slough is well-situated as a greenway for recreation and transportation, as it connects the Cambie Community Centre and surrounding neighbourhoods with the bustling Bridgeport retail and industrial operations, and the Fraser River.

In April 2014, Richmond City Council adopted the Bath Slough Revitalization Initiative, to create a unique urban enhancement and stewardship program to revitalize the community amenity and further the goals of the Ecological Network. The Bath Slough Revitalization Initiative will create a revitalized and activated corridor, with improved access for the community. This initiative is envisioned to consist of several inter-related elements designed to target different user groups and constituents, such as community mapping, ongoing capital and operational projects, resident stewardship, industrial stewardship & outreach, and special events.

Activities to support this initiative have included community workshops in Summer 2014 (at the Cambie Community Centre) to identify issues and opportunities for improving Bath Slough. Tree and shrub planting in Bath Slough took place in Fall 2014 as part of TD Tree Days. Further, a pollinator pasture has been established in Bridgeport Industrial Park, as part of the efforts to revitalize Bath Slough (see below for more details).

Bridgeport Industrial Park Pollinator Pasture
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The City is currently undertaking ecological enhancements to Bridgeport Industrial Park, as part of the Bath Slough Revitalization Initiative. This project involves the establishment of a 'pollinator pasture' (wildflower meadow) within the park, which is adjacent to Bath Slough. The pollinator pasture, a collaborative project with Emily Carr University of Art and Design, benefits a multitude of essential pollinators, including native bees and butterflies, and  strengthens ecological links between Bridgeport Industrial Park and Bath Slough. The timeline of the pollinator pasture is described below: 

Summer 2015: A cover crop was planted and bloomed in June and July, helping to stabilize the soil and prevent weed growth. The cover crop included a pollinator-friendly blend of yellow mustard, sweet alyssum, crimson clover, and phacelia.

May 2015: Cambie Secondary School Ecosaders team planted a sunflower wall in the northwest area of the park, with seedlings grown in their classroom. 

July 2015:  The seeds of the yellow mustard plants were harvested by students from Kwantlen Polytechnic University Farm School, as an educational exercise in harvesting and mustard production. 

Fall 2015: Installation of log seating at either end of the park, as well as two apiaries (insect hotels) featuring educational panels on pollinators.

Spring 2016: A new pasture design was planted, anticipated to bloom in Spring/Summer 2016. The 2016 pasture includes native wildflowers planted along the length of the park in the pattern of the lower wings of the native Western Bumblebee.

Summer 2016:  A number of activities are being delivered to program the park and spread awareness about the importance of pollinators and stewardship of Bath Slough. 

beforeaft

 

For information on any of the Pollinator Pasture events or Bath Slough Revitalization Initiative, call the City's Environmental Sustainability Section at 604-247-4661.