Gordon’s Brook

The Gordon’s Brook Wetland project is the largest wetland restoration project that we have taken on for Oregon Spotted Frogs and many other species. It is a pilot project in the Lower Mainland that allows us to test ideas and teach restoration while recovering an ecosystem type that has disappeared from the local landscape.

On our Restoration Resources page you’ll find a series of documents that show the progression from concept to design, construction plans, restoration reports, project summaries, and monitoring programs and reports. We have also included links to documents that have strongly influence the design and management of our restoration programs.

We first conceived of this project in 2012, when the Vancouver Aquarium and Earth Rangers teamed up to Save the Oregon Spotted Frog. The Vancouver Aquarium called us about finding a restoration site that may become a translocation (introduction) site for Oregon Spotted Frogs being bred and reared at the Aquarium. Simultaneously, our radio-telemetry work suggested that, in our research area, Oregon Spotted Frogs selected strongly for shallow areas under 30 cm deep, while the invasive and aggressive American Bullfrogs selected strongly for areas with more than 40 cm of water.

Aldergrove Regional Park was just the spot to test our ideas. Metro Vancouver, the stewards of this park, was just completing a Park Management Plan that set aside the lower lands as a Conservation zone for restoration and education. In addition, public consultation garnered strong support for Species-at-Risk targets in the park, including re-introducing species that had been extirpated from the area. Mike Pearson, a colleague who specializes in freshwater fish species at risk, had restored over 15 Ha of stream, pond and riparian ecosystem in the park from 2000 – 2010, and we knew the area well. Of course, the area was suitable for restoration because it had previously been a wetland! The soils and dense drainage features were obvious clues that the fallow agricultural fields were historically much wetter.

We built Phase I in 2013, with significant funding from Earth Rangers, the BC Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, and from Environment Canada’s Habitat Stewardship Program. This is a shallow wetland with marsh, shallow pond and channel. We also developed a detailed monitoring and adaptive monitoring program. Biological monitoring of the marsh has identified 100 bird species, 6 amphibian species, 6 fish species and 20 odonate (dragonfly/damselfly) species since we began detailed monitoring in 2015! Eleven of these species are listed as endangered.

In 2015, we received funds from Environment and Climate Change Canada’s National Conservation Wetland Fund to monitor Phase I, and to perform detailed site investigations, preliminary site preparation, and develop detailed designs for Phases II and III in the fields adjacent to Phase I.

In 2016, we received a three-year grant from Environment and Climate Change Canada’s National Conservation Wetland Fund to implement our designs and continue monitoring Phase I! We built Phase II in September 2016, and are excited to move ahead with Phase III in 2017. We’ve learned a lot from Phase I, and we are delighted to have the opportunity to learn from our experience. We have also been learning from others, and have adapted our methods as new information is released from restoration programs across Canada and the US.

If you have any questions, or need access to full documents that have not been included here, please email natashaw@fraservalleyconservancy.ca

Earth Rangers, by the way, is pretty cool! They’re a kids conservation organization that empowers kids to protect animals and the planet. They educate, raise awareness and raise money that helps organizations like ours implement recovery actions. Local Earth Rangers have been involved in planting the constructed wetland! Check them out online, and get involved!

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The Vancouver Aquarium raises Oregon Spotted Frogs in captivity as a part of the global Amphibian Ark program. If you look hard enough, you may see a precious frog or two in their display case in the Frogs exhibit downstairs…