Beacon Article: Deep Bay Field Station Replicating Nature

This article written by Bowser resident and writer – Lisa Verbicky, was published in the March issue of the local Beacon Magazine.  Thanks Lisa for letting us reprint it here.

The Deep Bay Field Station, structurally engineered by Fast + Epp of Richmond Olympic Oval fame, is shaping up to be an astonishing, modern architectural example of art imitating life. The Platinum LEED, (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) research station and public outreach centre not only mimics a clam-shell, but its grounds are being restored into a life size, almost diorama-like example of pristine coastal habitat.

West end

The clam shell inspired design

Vancouver Island University forestry students gathered last month to plant 600 spruce, cedar, fir, and pine saplings at the VIU Centre for Shellfish Research (CSR) field station, as part of an effort to restore the site’s previously logged riparian areas and create new fisheries habitat.


“Riparian areas are the areas bordering on streams, lakes and wetlands that link water to land,” says the Ministry of Environment Riparian Areas Regulation (RAR), enacted in 2004 under the Fisheries Act.

The $8.6 million field station will provide real-world learning experiences for students across programs such as forestry, hydrogeology, fisheries, green building design, and culinary arts, as well as aquaculture, says Kingzett.

It will also serve as an example of what can be done by developers to not only restore habitat but create it, he says.

VIU’s Horticulture Department donated 200 of the native trees, and the Fanny Bay Salmonid Enhancement Society (FBSES) donated another 400 for this second phase of the three-phase restoration project.

During the first phase, five ponds were created to filter ground water and recreate the conditions of a riparian ecosystem, says Kingzett.

This spring, students and volunteers will hand-dig spawning channels around the area’s sensitive archeological sites as part of phase three.

The trees and other native plantings will eventually prevent soil erosion along the banks of the ponds and provide shade for incoming salmon, says Kingzett.

“We expect see salmon this fall,” he says.

The completed project, he says, will be used to educate students and the public on water cycling and its importance for fisheries, aquaculture, and riparian species.

“They have done a brilliant job of replicating nature here,” says FBSES President, Judy Ackinclose.

CSR began working with FBSES in 2006, when the centre donated 30 truckloads of stumps it pulled while clearing the site to the society’s various fisheries projects.

They have been a valuable source of local advice and resources for this project ever since, says Kingzett.

Funded through federal and provincial government initiatives to expand secondary education facilities, the 13,000 sq. ft. facility will offer academic, environmental, economic, and public programming in support of sustainable aquaculture development and coastal ecosystems.

It is scheduled to open this September.


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