It’s the Small Things That Count

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Our project is based around Still Creek along the 3400 block of Cornett Road and focuses on increasing native biodiversity and managing invasive species. This creates better food and habitat for key species of fungi and pollinators. Species like these help the ecosystem be resilient to climate change, filter stormwater, and create a healthier environment for plants, wildlife, and humans.

School:

SFU

Department:

Environmental Sciences

Course:

Environmental Science Capstone (EVSC 400)

Instructors:

  • Anna Hippmann

City of Vancouver:

  • Julie McManus
  • Cassandra Humes

Student Team:

  • Paige Ripley
  • Grace Sabo
  • Finnagh Hanrahan

Term:

Fall 2023

Summary

 

Still Creek is one of only two remaining daylit streams in Vancouver. With progressing climate change, invasive species, industrial pollution, and human use, the site is in need of some support. We were tasked to create a climate change-resilient and biodiverse restoration plan that prioritizes local keystone and indicator species. We chose to focus on fungi, pollinators, and native plants due to their collaborative ability to create a climate-resilient habitat.

Native plants provide the backbone of our restoration plan, as they create important habitat for pollinators like bees and butterflies, and promote healthy fungal networks within the soil. Pollinators are great bioindicators, meaning that their presence in an ecosystem is closely linked to its overall health. Fungi act as keystone species, making a big impact on ecosystem functions relative to its small and subtle nature. Plants, but mostly fungi, are able to filter water that enters the creek from the road, absorbing pollutants and improving water quality.

Biodiversity is linked to resilience, as the more species present in an ecosystem, the more likely at least some of them are able to survive disturbances. Since the basis of our project is to increase the overall biodiversity of Still Creek, the ecosystem will become more resilient and will be able to better store water, exchange nutrients, and recover during climate change-related events.

Additionally, we realize that human and industrial interaction with the stream is common. Our recommendations for minimizing public interaction with the ecosystem include providing a drinking water tap, adding garbage bins to decrease litter, and creating informative signage.

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