Collecting baseline ecological data to inform future restoration at Minnekhada Farm within Minnekhada Regional Park, Coquitlam, BC ER
Minnekhada Regional Park is an ecologically-diverse conservation area managed by Metro Vancouver in northeast Coquitlam, British Columbia. Minnekhada Regional Park boasts habitat features such as coastal forests, wetlands, rocky outcrops, and historical farmland. Approximately 22% (115 acres) of Minnekhada Regional Park is comprised by the historical Minnekhada Farm (the Farm), and area presently restricted to public access and managed by Metro Vancouver in a limited capacity. The Farm largely exhibits former grazing and equestrian fields and is still
occupied by structures such as farmhouses, barns, and sheds. This ecological research project has sought to collect baseline ecological data from a 0.4 km2 portion of the Farm (the Site) in the hopes that this data will inform future restoration projects to enhance the ecological value of the Farm. This research was conducted with permission from Metro Vancouver under an authorized research permit. Over the course of six months and more than 35 fieldwork hours, data collection at the Site was completed with the assistance of 12 volunteers. Ecological Site data findings showed that the Site exhibits sixteen vegetation polygons vegetation is comprised largely of three species: reed canarygrass (Phalaris arundinacea) (64%), hardhack
(Spiraea douglasii) (22%), and cutleaf blackberry (Rubus laciniatus) (13%). Soil test pits revealed mottling and a shallow clay layer (under dense reed canarygrass and cutleaf blackberry root systems) at depths ranging from 5 cm to 50 cm. The Site demonstrated varying water retention functions during periods of saturation following rainfall, resulting in flooding and drainage ditches exceeding capacity and overflowing. Existing on-site habitat features include fruit-bearing trees, dense shrubs and open space for wildlife as a corridor or resting area. No coarse woody debris (CWD) nor large boulders or rocks were identified present at the Site, which may contribute to low amphibian, reptile, and small mammal presence. Western toad (Anaxyrus boreas), American bullfrog (Lithobates catesbeianus), and green frog (Rana clamitans) were all observed on-site. While thirty-three (33) birds were identified at or near the Site, only four (4) species were observed to utilize the main grassy portion of the Site: common yellowthroat (Geothlypis trichas), great blue heron (Ardea herodias), white-crowned sparrow (Zonotrichia leucophrys), and Anna’s hummingbird (Calypte anna). Wildlife camera footage (“WL0”), plus Metro Vancouver’s wildlife camera data from 0, 0, and 0 (“MN0”) showed that American black bear (Ursus americanus) and deer (Odocoileus hemionus) are active year-round at the Site. It is recommended that future ecological restoration measures at the Site include management of invasive species such as reed canarygrass and cutleaf blackberry, increase of plant diversity through the installation of carefully selected native tree, shrub, and herb vegetation, and creation of habitat enhancement features such as coarse woody debris, rock piles/boulders, and side-channel or ephemeral pond habitat. Two (2) potential Restoration Plans are proposed with sample planting prescriptions. These Plans complement ten (10) additional recommendations based on research findings. Plan A, a short-term plan, is designed to be flexible and allow small sections of the Site to be restored over several years as resources such as budgets and labour become available. Plan A is also designed to accommodate volunteer involvement and implementation with guidance or professional direction. Plan B, a long-term plan, is designed to implement more extensive changes to the Site by building upon the methods of Plan A and creating additional ponds, pools, and channels through the Site to increase the Site’s capacity to retain water and reduce regular flooding onto nearby roads.