Facilitating the protection and restoration of species and ecosystems at risk on BC’s South Coast
The Coquitlam River Watershed and surrounding area currently supports a range of endangered and threatened species. However, more information, awareness and action are needed to protect the existing populations and to help with their recovery.
In 2013 biologist Aimee Mitchell of Athene Ecological who also oversees the Coastal Painted Turtle Project secured funding through BC Hydro’s Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program to undertake a project concerning the inventory, monitoring and stewardship of various species at risk in the Coquitlam River and other watersheds of Metro Vancouver's Tri-cities area. Existing known locations of species at risk were assessed, as well as new locations since current location data was likely incomplete. Accompanying Aimee was Tamsin Baker the SCCP's Stewardship Coordinator to assist with extension and outreach to local communities and residents. As more inventory information was gathered, the project also connected with various landowners and land managers to encourage beneficial recovery activities. The final report for year one is available at the bottom of this page.
Great Blue Heron (nesting or nesting behaviour): Populations on the South Coast are likely on the decline. Currently there is only one active but struggling colony left in Coquitlam. Send us your observations of nesting or nesting behaviour such as the carrying of sticks, nest platform building or pairs of birds roosting in trees. Sightings are needed between February and April when the nest are being built and the young are hatching.
Western Painted Turtle: This is our only native turtle left in BC. A few mature individuals remain in various Coquitlam lakes, with a nesting beach at Minnekhada Regional Park. Report sightings, but be careful to not confuse them with the non-native Red-eared Sliders. The best way to tell the difference is that the Western Painted Turtles have a bright red under-shell ("plastron"), whereas Red-eared sliders have a yellow under-shell and side. Many Red-eared sliders have distinct red marks behind their eyes, but simple absence of the mark does not mean it is a Western Painted Turtle.
Amphibians at risk: Three species in the region are of special concern. These are the Northern Red-legged Frog, the Pacific Tailed Frog and the Western Toad. Report recent sightings of these amphibians. But be sure not to confuse them with non-native species such as the Green Frog and Bullfrog. Go to BC Frogwatch for further help in identifying species.
Owls at risk: Seen any owls lately? There are three owls that are of interest for this project. The threatened Western Screech Owl is found in forests and streamside areas and is often preyed upon or out-competed with the more common Barred Owl. Other owls at risk are the Barn Owl and Short-eared Owl which are often associated with old-field, pastures and grassy roadside areas.
The preferred observations are those outside of protected parks (e.g.. Colony Farm and Minnekhada Regional Parks etc.), since it is likely that those occurrences have already been recorded.
When spotting what you think might be one of the species mentioned above, be sure to record as much information as possible such as your contact info, location, date/time of observation, the species and number seen. If feasible, take a photo. To report your sighting or to send any inquiries, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call Tamsin at (604) 202-2381.