British Columbia

Stanley Park's watershed is getting a cleanup

HSBC Bank Canada has committed $50,000 to support the Stanley Park Ecology Society with their aquatic stewardship initiatives, which help preserve the park’s aquatic ecosystems and wildlife habitats.

HSBC committing $50K for the restoration of Stanley Park’s aquatic ecosystems and wildlife habitats

Volunteers remove yellow flag iris from Lost Lagoon in Stanley Park. (Cory Correia/CBC News)

The Stanley Park Ecology Society and HSBC Bank Canada are partnering to restore the health of Stanley Park's watershed.

HSBC has committed $50,000 to support the society with their aquatic stewardship initiatives, which help preserve the aquatic ecosystems and wildlife habitats of at-risk wildlife species like wood ducks and swallows.

This is the fifth year of the HSBC Freshwater Initiatives in Stanley Park program.

To mark the occasion, HSBC employees and the society's volunteers were waist deep in Lost Lagoon on Thursday, removing invasive plants like yellow flag iris.

Stanley Park's watershed includes Lost Lagoon, Beaver Lake, and several creeks, all of which host diverse wildlife, including 240 species of birds. But its health was failing some years ago.

The watershed is at the base of a healthy, functioning ecosystem.- Maria Egerton

A 2010 report on the state of the park revealed the declining size and quality of its aquatic ecosystems, revealing a bleak future and the need to establish short and long-term plans to return the park to a healthier state. 

The Stanley Park Ecology Society's conservation projects manager, Maria Egerton, says the aquatic ecosystems were suffering from pollution, invasive species, and erosion issues. 

Maria Egerton is the Conservation Projects Manager for the Stanley Park Ecological Society. (Cory Correia/CBC News)

"It's important to protect the watershed here, because the watershed is at the base of a healthy, functioning ecosystem, and if the watershed becomes unhealthy and overgrown with invasive species we'll likely see a drop in biodiversity," said Egerton. 

"We're constantly working on removing and managing invasive species, repairing riparian areas, monitoring water quality, and restoring habitat wherever it's needed."

A swan glides past a goose on the waters of Lost Lagoon. (Cory Correia/CBC News)

The Freshwater Initiatives program will also support Stanley Park's aquatic ecosystems by restoring habitats besieged by invasive species, enhancing shoreline vegetation, protecting trees from beaver damage, and installing nest boxes for at-risk riparian bird species, among other measures.