Undertaking habitat enhancement projects is a key to conserving native flora, fauna and ecological processes. In Stanley Park, SPES’s habitat enhancement projects aim to improve habitat for species of significance, and involve collaboration with the Vancouver Park Board, other professionals, and volunteers.
SPES’s ongoing enhancement projects include the installation and maintenance of swallow and wood duck nest boxes, bat boxes and bee condos, as well as beaver tree wrapping, and the construction of predator guards where herons nest.
Swallow and Wood Duck Nest Box Project
In North America there have been significant changes to wildlife habitat over the past 100 years. For species such as swallows and wood ducks (Aix sponsa), this change has resulted in a loss of their shelter, food and tree cavity nesting sites.
In 2009, SPES implemented the nest box project with the goal of conserving and enhancing vulnerable cavity nesting species in Stanley Park. This project has three main objectives:
- Construct, install, monitor and maintain nest boxes for tree swallows (Tachycineta bicolor), violet-green swallows (Tachycineta thalassina) and wood ducks
- Involve volunteers in all phases of the project
- Provide ongoing environmental education about the project and the importance of conserving these cavity nesting species
Mason Bee Nest Box Project
Pollinators, such as bees, are considered keystone species, whose presence influences a larger number of other species that depend on them. Bees and other insects are critical in the production of human food, pollinating over 1/3 of agricultural species. In recent years there has been a rapid decline in native bee populations across North America with the main cause being human activity – the loss, fragmentation, and degradation of habitat, along with pesticide use.
In 2009, SPES implemented the mason bee nest box project with the goal of conserving and enhancing populations of the native blue orchard mason bee (Osmia lignaria) in Stanley Park. This project has two main objectives:
- To educate community members on the importance of bees and other pollinating species to our health our environment
- Enhance the role and contribution bees play in the ecology of Stanley Park through the installation and monitoring of nest boxes
Beaver Tree Wrapping Project
North American beavers (Castor canadensis) play an important role in the healthy functioning of aquatic ecosystems in Stanley Park, including Lost Lagoon and Beaver Lake. They create wetland habitat through their damming of waterways and alter their habitat by coppicing (cutimg down trees in order to allow stumps to regenerate) streamside vegetation and dredging plant material and sediments. Beavers are also capable of altering other important wildlife values in these sensitive habitats, and without careful management in Stanley Park, they have the potential to negatively impact some wildlife species.
In 2009, SPES implemented the Stanley Park beaver tree wrapping project with the goal of maintaining a balance between current and future beaver activities, public safety, and the ecological integrity of native species, habitats, and processes in Stanley Park’s riparian areas (those bordering bodies of water). The main objectives of this project are to:
- Assess the current status of beavers and monitor their habitat around Lost Lagoon and Beaver Lake
- Slow the rate of mature tree loss in the riparian areas of Beaver Lake and Lost Lagoon
- Prioritize the planting of native species to replace lost habitat
- Minimize potential risks to public safety and park structures