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City of Delta wants province to help stop photographers from trampling sensitive marsh

Delta concerned about impacts to the sensitive marsh area
Wildlife habitat at Brunswick Point in Delta, B.C.
Mayor George Harvie said Delta is committed to continuing to work with the provincial government to implement effective measures to protect wildlife and important habitat at Brunswick Point.

The City of Delta is asking the province for better enforcement at the Brunswick Point portion of the Roberts Bank Wildlife Management Area.

In a letter to Katrine Conroy, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, Mayor George Harvie noted the city and the province have a long history of promoting habitat protection and resource management at Brunswick Point while also allowing public use.

However, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, people are increasingly seeking outdoor recreation opportunities and there’s been a significant increase in public use of the dike and surrounding area for fitness, wildlife viewing, photography and hunting.

“Delta council recently received correspondence from residents regarding users venturing off the dike into the foreshore marsh within the Wildlife Management Area, and not respecting wildlife in the area. City of Delta is concerned about physical impacts to the sensitive marsh area and negative effects on wildlife,” wrote Harvie.

The Wildlife Act provides authority for regional orders prohibiting the harassment of wildlife within wildlife management areas, noted Harvie.

“Delta is committed to continuing to work together with Ministry staff to implement effective measures to protect wildlife and important habitat at Brunswick Point, including by improving signage and providing ongoing education to users of the municipal dike and adjacent provincial Wildlife Management Area,” he stated.

Delta council recently discussed a letter from a concerned resident about photographers following hawks, owls and other birds into the marsh.

It’s a situation that could be seen recently when a dozen photographers were in the marsh, and as some began to leave, more arrived.

A memo from civic staff notes the Roberts Bank Wildlife Management Area is under the jurisdiction of the B.C. government.

Staff already forwarded the letter to a regional wildlife coordinator for feedback.

“The increasing public use of Brunswick Point and the potential impacts to the habitat in this area is being reviewed by provincial staff. B.C. conservation officers enforce hunting regulations and attend Brunswick Point periodically to respond to complaints about illegal hunting activity and monitor the managed harvests in the area,” the memo explains.