Habitat Restoration at Colony Farm

Sheep Paddocks Monitoring Program

(Photo: Chloe Hartley)

Colony Farm Park Association will be running volunteer stewardship events and a citizen science monitoring program around the Sheep Paddocks wetlands. With the help of a volunteer team, we will monitor birds, amphibians, fish, water quality, and invasive species.  We will promote the use of the citizen science app iNaturalist, and participate in a spring event in the Regional Parks.

We will engage in stewardship activities to help maintain and enhance the habitat.  We will remove invasive species, overseed the wildflower meadow with a native seed mix, pull encroaching vegetation around the new wetland plantings and turtle beach, and install a new wildlife habitat planting.

This program is supported with funding from the George Ross Grant through the Pacific Parklands Foundation to cover equipment, and a donation from former board member Ann Holt for the restoration planting.

Sheep Paddocks restoration areas

Sheep Paddocks Restoration Areas

Phase 1 & 2 Wetlands

The Sheep Paddocks phase 1 and 2 wetlands were constructed to provide side channel rearing habitat for salmon, primarily juvenile coho.

Phase 1 was completed in 2005 and phase 2 in 2009. Phase 2 connects to Phase 1 via a culvert, which then joins with Mundy Slough and the Coquitlam River, allowing for fish passage.

Restoration plantings of native trees and shrubs were made to provide habitat for birds, small mammals, amphibians, and reptiles. A hibernaculum for garter snakes and nesting area for painted turtles were installed, but have since been overwhelmed by invasive Himalayan Blackberry.

New wetland (phase 3)

New wetland looking across at the turtle beach (July 2020) (Photo: Maddie Edmonds)

The new wetland provides 1.2 ha of open water/wetland complex for wetland-associated species, including birds and amphibians. 

The site is being considered for potential Western Painted Turtle recovery efforts, and includes a turtle nesting beach. Western Painted Turtles are red-listed in B.C. and designated as Endangered under SARA. CFPA monitoring will help ensure that the wetland is acceptable for the release of head-started juvenile painted turtles. 

Also in the phase 3 area, a wildflower meadow was planted across from the new wetland. The river bank north of the wetland was reinforced with riprap to prevent undercutting and fish habitat structures were installed.

Wilson Farm restoration (started 2001, completed in 2011)

Wilson’s Farm habitat enhancements

The Wilson’s Farm habitat enhancement project was designed to provide juvenile salmon habitat.

It was funded as compensation for impacts from Port Mann Bridge & Hwy 1 construction.

Self-regulating tidal gate allows juveniles in at high tide, and a fish-friendly pump returns water to the river. It is used by all 6 species of salmon including coho and chinook. Additional wildlife habitat is provided by vernal ponds, swales, and riparian plantings with other wildlife features such as coarse woody debris and rock piles. Old field habitat was maintained for Great Blue Herons and raptors.