Friday, September 17, 2010

Restoring Urban Waterways

It is wonderful work and this article from National Geographic examines several projects.

An excerpt.

“This past week, I worked with a large number of volunteers who were planting native shrubs and trees along Guichon Creek, a beautiful little urban waterway that winds its way through the City of Burnaby, British Columbia (adjacent to Vancouver). The stretch of stream we were working on ran through a largely undeveloped corner of the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT), one of Canada's largest post-secondary institutions.

“What made this outing especially unique was that the site we were planting had been part of a parking lot until just a month ago. But in light of the Institute's commitment to sustainability (it has been ranked as one of Canada's greenest campuses) along with the availability of some alternative parking elsewhere, BCIT agreed to rezone this land as part of a natural stream-side buffer to better protect the integrity of the stream. This was just the latest in a number of positive developments that has enabled Guichon Creek to become one of Canada's leading examples of urban stream restoration….

“Restoration initiatives like this are exciting and serve as a source of hope and inspiration while also adding greatly to the quality of life we enjoy in our communities. It has also been encouraging to see a growing number of similar restoration projects unfolding in other cities, both in North America and elsewhere in the world.

“In southern California as an example, plans are afoot to revamp the Los Angeles River, which has been seriously damaged and is now little more than a concrete-lined flood channel. But thanks to the efforts of groups like Friends of the Los Angeles River, two billion dollars will be spent over the next 50 years to remove concrete where feasible, establish riverside parks and enhance or restore ecological values.”