The City of Surrey Engineering Department manages a network of 1,400 kilometres of watercourses within its municipal boundaries to support its open drainage management policy and the associated fisheries values that these watercourses provide. Many of the creeks and rivers of Surrey continue to provide seasonal and year-round habitat for Coho, Chinook and Chum Salmon and serve the important purpose of pathways for stormwater runoff. Since the late 1970’s, the City has been a proactive voice in sustainable drainage practices as the Lower Mainland develops by spearheading conversations and initiatives around low impact development policies, flood management strategies and climate change adaptation preparedness.
In 1996, the Salmon Habitat Restoration Program (SHaRP) was initiated which demonstrated the City’s commitment to adopt integrated and innovative measures to promote the application of watershed stewardship practices in the City. The primary goal of SHaRP is to mitigate urban impacts on streams through activities that provide on-the-ground solutions to habitat degradation and through increased community awareness of fish presence, watershed stewardship and pollution prevention. SHaRP works to proactively protect and improve fish habitat, provide community education, and increase awareness of the importance of urban streams. Dillon has managed delivery of each of the annual SHaRP programs on behalf of the City since its inception.
SHaRP employs post-secondary and secondary school students annually who gain career-oriented training and experience in environmental protection and stewardship and who lead the implementation of community involvement initiatives that protect and enhance the City’s natural areas. SHaRP restoration and outreach programs create diverse stream habitats, educate residents about watershed protection, and instil pollution prevention best management practices for City businesses and residents. Community awareness campaigns are focused each year to specific themes and audiences to maximize results and message uptake.
Since SHaRP was launched, teams have:
- Hired 653 post-secondary and secondary students for a staggering total of approximately 250,000 stewardship hours invested
- Enhanced over 2,415 stream sites in an effort to revitalize and maintain the overall quality of Surrey’s valuable water resource and natural habitat
- Attended or hosted over 690 community based events, day camps, library programs and school presentations
- Distributed over 21,800 educational brochures and flyers and directly contacted over 9,000 businesses and home owners
- Removed thousands of truckloads of invasive plants and replaced them with over 86,800 native plants
- Constructed over 131 in-stream weirs and placed over 170 tonnes of spawning gravel.
SHaRP has been resoundingly supported by Surrey Mayors and Councils over its twenty-year history and is well aligned with many aspects of the Social and Environmental Pillars of Surrey’s Sustainability Charter. The model, longevity and success of the SHaRP Program is unique to Canadian municipalities. The 2015 SHaRP team of 29 post-secondary and high school students will add to the unparalleled 20-year legacy of watershed enhancement and community stewardship with results accumulating each day the program is in operation.
In 2017, the Surrey Board of Trade honoured Dillon with an Environment and Business Award, in the Large Business Category, for our continued successful delivery of this program.