The State of the Marine Foreshore Habitat of The Wild Mile

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We conducted a biodiversity survey on a section of The Wild Mile beach between Royal Vancouver Yacht Club and Kitsilano Yacht Club. We did an inventory assessment followed by a Simpson’s Biodiversity Index calculation. We also marked the location of natural and artificial retaining walls, as well as artificial objects that may disrupt organisms on the beach.

School:

SFU

Department:

Environmental Science

Course:

EVSC400

Instructors:

  • Anna Hippmann

City of Vancouver:

  • Bonny Brokenshire
  • Angela Crampton

Student Team:

  • Harrison Tadey
  • Strike Zhan
  • Ruedi Mani
  • Andrew Chiu

Term:

Spring 2024

Summary

Our project was divided into three parts. The first part was a field survey to study the present biodiversity status of the beach using transect and quadrat sampling. With the data collected, we calculate the Simpson’s Biodiversity Index of the section. We also measured the slope of each transect, since it changes the effects of erosion. In addition, we went through the section to look for disruptive artificial features and recorded their locations.

The second part was a literature review intended to find studies on potential threats to biodiversity in urban intertidal zones, together with current City of Vancouver strategies and policies that could affect this area. We identified the impact of various threats, including oil spills, sea level rise, erosion, trampling from visitors, and so on. Meanwhile, our project’s goals to study the biodiversity of this intertidal zone, as well as to determine and tackle threats to biodiversity, are closely related to the City’s Biodiversity Strategy, Rain Gardens, and Burrard Inlet Action Plan of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation. The third part was geodata processing, in which we compiled the location of our transects, type of retaining walls, and disruptive artificial features into an online interactive map.


We found that the section of the beach assigned to us had a Simpson’s Biodiversity Index of 0.246. This number looks good so far, but this does not mean that existing and future threats to biodiversity can be ignored. We thus recommend the city to conduct quarterly biodiversity surveys on the beach to keep an updated record in case of major disasters like the heat dome in 2021. Additionally, we suggest the city test the drainage and runoffs to the beach from coastal properties, conducting monitoring on erosion and accretion, especially on areas with steeper slopes, as well as monitoring the effects of trampling in areas with more visitors.

 

To nominate our project for HUBBUB 22 People’s Choice Awards, between July 4th and July 10th, go to HUBBUB 22 People’ Choice Voting. 
Winners will be announced on July 11th, 2024 during the CityStudio Youth Summer event Civic Matters: Youth Voices and Your City Hall Campus. 

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