Fraser River Delta - Ramsar Designation

On September 22, 2012, The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands announced the designation of 20,682 hectares of land as Ramsar Wetland of International Significance, the highest designation for the protection of wetlands. The new Fraser River Delta Ramsar Site includes Burns Bog, the Wildlife Management Areas of Sturgeon Bank, South Arm Marshes, Boundary Bay, Serpentine, and the former Alaksen Ramsar Site on Westham Island.

  • Click here to view the news release jointly issued by Delta and Metro Vancouver.

The Corporation of Delta has been working towards achieving this Ramsar designation for many years. Delta played an integral role in the negotiations for the 2004 acquisition and protection of Burns Bog with three other levels of government and promoting the goal of a Ramsar designation for Burns Bog through the Burns Bog Management Plan. After many years of lobbying senior levels of government, including delegations to Ottawa in 2010 and 2011 during which Mayor Lois E. Jackson, Councillor Ian Paton and George V. Harvie, Chief Administrative Officer met with the Honourable Peter Kent, Minister of Environment, an application to the Ramsar secretariat was submitted in early 2012.

The Fraser River Delta Ramsar Site is a critical migratory stopover on the Pacific Flyway for migratory birds such as the Western Sandpiper and provides feeding and roosting sites for approximately 250,000 migratory and wintering waterfowl and 1,000,000 shorebirds. Its productive estuarine habitats and nutrient rich waters provide the foundation for diverse and seasonally dense fish and wildlife populations and is one of the most critical habitats for shorebirds in British Columbia.

The Corporation of Delta will continue to pursue opportunities to protect and preserve its natural areas. For example, Council recently approved the addition of some 405 hectares to the Burns Bog Conservancy Area.

The Ramsar Convention is the only global environmental treaty that provides a framework for national action and international cooperation for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources. Canada is one of 163 contracting parties to the Ramsar Convention and, to date, there have been more than 2,000 wetland sites designated as internationally significant, with 37 of these in Canada.

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