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Vancouver’s Stanley Park aquatic life on ‘red alert’: ecology report

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“The water temperatures at Beaver Lake and Lost Lagoon are high and the oxygen levels at Beaver Lake are exceptionally low until they become lethal to salmonids and amphibians,” the report’s abstract reads.

“Without proper action, the situation is likely to get worse.”

Comeau said what the SPES sees are more robust species like three-spined stickleback and invasive species like carp.

“Both are known to be able to survive in harsh conditions,” she said.

“The fact that these are the only ones we’ve been seeing lately is pretty alarming.”

One of the native species that has not been seen in freshwater areas for decades is the northern red-legged frog.

Conditions at Beaver Lake are changing rapidly due to the pink and white water lilies introduced in 1938 to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands.

By summer, water lilies cover almost the entire surface of the water. When they die, they produce so much biomass that they fill the lake and make the water shallower. In this case, the water can heat up dramatically, especially in the summer months.

In 1938, Beaver Lake was 6.7 acres; today it is less than 3.9 hectares.

Every spring classes of high school students release salmonids to Beaver Lake as part of a Department of Fisheries and Oceans initiative. Due to the warming conditions, the salmonids cannot survive safely.

VANCOUVER, BC - October 19, 2020 - Ariane Comeau near Lost Lagoon, Stanley Park, Vancouver, BC October 19, 2020. Stanley Park ecological health story.  The report is published every 10 years.  The last one was in 2010. Photo by Arlen Redekop / Vancouver Sun / The Province (PNG) (story by Kevin Griffin) [PNG Merlin Archive]“It’s really great to see,” says Ariane Comeau of the increasing tree cover in Stanley Park over the past decade since the devastating storm in 2006. “Tree cover has increased significantly in the blow-off areas.” Photo by Arlen Redekop /.PNG

Following the park’s last ecological health report in 2010, the park authority developed an ecological action plan for Stanley Park that included dredging portions of Beaver Lake to create deeper, cooler areas. However, no dredging has been carried out to date.

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