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New urban wetlands project 'on the way' in Chilliwack area

Large-scale wetlands project aims to restore salmon habitat in the Vedder River, led by the Ts’elxwéyeqw Tribe
A new off-channel wetlands project began July 5, 2024 on the Vedder River in Chilliwack. (Fraser Watersheds Coalition)

Construction of an off-channel wetland has begun in the Vedder River, led by a local Indigenous group.

Neighbours can expect to see heavy machinery, trucks and equipment in the construction area, and possible trail closures later this summer.

"Browne Creek, Peach Creek, and Hooge wetlands are getting a new neighbour!" a post from the Fraser Watersheds Coalition said.

The Buxton Wetlands will be 2,000 square metres, a bit larger than a hockey rink.

Creation of the new habitat for fish and wildlife is part of a longer term "re-watering" plan and restoration of the Vedder floodplain, said to the watershed coalition.

The work site connecting to Peach Creek will be transformed in part by the effort of digging out and removing invasive plants like reed canary grass and Hamalayan blackberry.

Led by the governing council of Ts’elxwéyeqw Tribe, the project is supported by Fraser Valley Watersheds Coalition; Province of BC Water, Land, and Resource Stewardship; DFO Centre for Salmon Habitat Expertise; Lower Fraser Fisheries Alliance; Semá:th First Nation; City of Chilliwack; community supporters and volunteers.

Project leaders will follow traditional ecological knowledge and scientific knowledge.

The wetlands will connect to Peach Creek, and eventually the Vedder River, to support a healthier floodplain, and habitat.

"Restoring this area will enhance a culturally significant area for the Ts’elxwéyeqw Tribe and reconnect people to nature," the post said.

Trail users are being asked to be careful around the work site.

"Please use caution," according to the coalition post. "Why? Wetlands are important habitat for juvenile salmon to grow and mature before they migrate to the ocean."

Heavy equipment will be on-site this summer with excavators digging the complex wetland, adding in root balls and stones, from now until the replanting with native plants and completion expected by November.

"Some trail detours may be in effect to maintain public safety. Thank you for your patience."

Volunteers to help with tree-planting will be sought in October and November.

To volunteer, contact the coalition or 604-791-2235.



Jennifer Feinberg

About the Author: Jennifer Feinberg

I have been a Chilliwack Progress reporter for 20+ years, covering city hall, Indigenous, business, and climate change stories.
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