A Metro Vancouver mapping project reveals that 22 per cent of the regional core is composed of sensitive ecosystems. An example of this is Delta’s wetlands, renowned as prime bird habitat. These areas support millions of birds and now a Delta birding group has called for a strategy to protect these key areas and develop tourism through bird watching.
The Corporation of Delta council is considering adopting a birds and biodiversity strategy to formalize its commitment to preserving and enhancing bird habitat. Leading the charge is the Delta Naturalists’ Society. In early 2015, the Society’s executive got involved in researching a Birds in Delta pamphlet (pdf) as a first step in presenting the idea of a formal strategy to council.
Corporation of Delta Helps with Funding
Tom Bearss is President of the Society. “There’s about 250 species or more that you can find in Delta so we had to squeeze it down and we got a pamphlet that has about 54 birds,” he said. “We went to the Corporation and they helped us pay for the printing.”
The Corporation of Delta provided funding of more than two thousand dollars. The pamphlets were placed in each of Delta’s public facilities. Within three months, they were all snapped up.
Bird Strategy seen as Tourism Booster
“It was very well received by the public,” said Mike Brotherston, Delta’s Manager of Climate Action and Environment. “I’ve heard from lots of people that have been watching birds… and it’s helped them learn what bird it is.”
A second pamphlet identifies the best birding sites. Delta’s Chamber of Commerce also provided funding, and supports a bird strategy, one that might be a boon for Delta’s tourism industry.
“Any strategy that looks at bringing in additional visitors, more tourists and really to allow our citizens to become tourists in their own town, I think is a great thing,” said Ian Tait, Delta Chamber of Commerce.
On February 1, 2016, Delta Council approved the creation and implementation of a Bird and Biodiversity Strategy that will include a focus on habitat, access to nature, and bird-related tourism.
Delta Naturalists’ Society
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