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Last updated on April 20, 2014 at 8:28 EDT

City of Richmond and Ducks Unlimited Canada preserve largest remaining privately-owned Sturgeon Banks land

March 22, 2012

RICHMOND, BC, March 22, 2012 /PRNewswire/ - An internationally-important
section of the Fraser River Estuary is now preserved for wildlife
habitat and parkland. This is thanks to a new land purchase by the City
of Richmond and Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC). Together, they secured
the largest remaining privately-owned land along the Sturgeon Banks
totalling 51 hectares (127 acres) of valuable tidal wetlands critical
to waterfowl, fish and other wildlife.

Mayor Malcolm Brodie, accompanied by Les Bogdan, director of regional
operations with DUC, marked the purchase this afternoon (March 22) on
the shores of the property. The land will become Richmond’s newest
park. Working together, the City of Richmond and DUC will preserve,
conserve, maintain and enhance the natural state of the lands, habitat
and its amenities.

“The acquisition of this land is extremely significant from a local,
regional and international perspective,” said Mayor Brodie. “By
preserving this foreshore, we are protecting an important part of the
Pacific Flyway for migratory birds and complementing the Sturgeon Banks
Provincial Wildlife Management Area. Also, our partnership with Ducks
Unlimited Canada enables us to create valuable park space, preserve
natural habitat, recognize heritage and create environmental benefits
now and for many generations to come.”

“Ducks Unlimited Canada is very fortunate to work with our directors and
volunteers, other government and non-government organizations, as well
as our industry partners to successfully bring funding to a project of
this significance in the Pacific Flyway,” said Bogdan. “Securing and
managing this land for fish and wildlife is the priority, but there are
other benefits too. These lands provide an opportunity for the public
to view wildlife in their natural environment, now and into the
future.”

The total cost to acquire the two sections of land was $2.2 million in
cash along with $850,000 in the form of a Federal Ecological Gift tax
receipt to the sellers, the Grauer family. The purchase was split
two-thirds City of Richmond and one-third DUC.

The City of Richmond will manage the land as a public park to provide
education and passive recreation opportunities that will complement the
conservation purposes for which the land was purchased.

Sturgeon Banks lies along the western foreshore of Richmond’s Lulu
Island, where the Fraser River meets the Pacific Ocean. The area is
used by over one million migrating birds each year, and on a daily
basis, hundreds of thousands of wintering waterfowl shorebirds. At
least 47 species of shorebirds, as well as great blue herons, trumpeter
and tundra swans, lesser snow geese and dabbling ducks use this
critical habitat. All five species of Pacific salmon use the area for
passage, food, shelter and acclimatizing to salt water. At least 27
species of non-salmonid fish species also occur here, including starry
flounder, three-spined stickleback, herring and shiner perch.

The park offers multiple benefits. It provides opportunities for the
community to experience the natural environment of Sturgeon Banks,
along with unique and accessible educational experiences. Another
important aspect is that the land will continue to support
Richmond’s critical flood protection strategy by
dissipating wave energy produced during winter storms before it reaches
the West Dyke.

The Grauer family owned this property for several generations. It was
the largest private holding remaining outside the dike along Lulu
Island. Privately-owned intertidal lands are unique in BC as 99.9 per
cent is Crown land. DUC and its government and non-government partners
have been working to secure these lands for over 30 years.

“The success of this project was largely due to the cooperation between
the Grauer family, the City of Richmond and Ducks Unlimited Canada.
Without the give and take and the trust among the parties, we would not
be able to announce this project today,” added Bogdan.

The land purchase was made possible through the Grauer family’s
participation in the Federal Ecological Gifts Program.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for the City to preserve significant
ecological lands,” said Mayor Brodie. “The purchase also preserves a
landscape that is part of our heritage – it adds to the diversity of
landscapes that is Richmond, and creates a new place of pride.”

Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) is the leader in wetland conservation. A
registered charity, DUC partners with government, industry, non-profit
organizations and landowners to conserve wetlands that are critical to
waterfowl, wildlife and the environment. Learn more at ducks.ca.

SOURCE City of Richmond


Source: PR Newswire