Our “filter feeders” project

Pipefish among the bivalves – False Creek August 2022 – Fernando Lessa photo

Here’s a fun fact: every adult Blue Mussel filters approximately 10 liters of water each and every day. As it brings seawater into its digestive system in its constant feeding on detritus (decaying organic material), plankton and bacteria are trapped by their gills. When it’s done getting all the good stuff into its gut, it releases the spent water, which, to some degree, is cleansed. In many seacoast cities worldwide, there are active programs to promote the growth of oysters and mussels for one simple reason: they are true custodians – keeping the water clean.

So…we’re proposing a pilot project to install artificial reefs to promote the growth of bivalves such as oysters and mussels. We are working on a collaboration with  Nature Vancouver, our city’s oldest conservation organization (104 years old this year!)

Blue Mussels – NOAA photo

One of our volunteers, Dr. Marjo Vierros, is a marine biologist and oceans policy analyst and is helping us understand are the factors we need to get right. She has written a paper and for all those who are interesting in participating, we encourage you to check it out.

Marjo’s paper is a great starting point for our work with Nature Vancouver. And as she points out, there are two previous conservation projects in False Creek which demonstrate that a “filter feeder” project is an important next step:

” The results of the two restoration projects described in the previous section ]herring restoration by Squamish Streamkeepers; Habitat Island – City of Vancouver] demonstrate that it is possible to successfully restore species, ecosystems and ecological function in False Creek, even though the area is highly impacted by human activities. This section will propose additional restoration projects to further enhance ecological quality and human enjoyment of the area. The two potential projects discussed here include restoration of water quality through the introduction of filter feeders, and the restoration of habitat to support a variety of species, including bivalves and herring. These projects also aim to keep in mind the human aspects central to a densely populated urban area, as well as the need for reconciliation with the Indigenous Nations on whose stolen lands the modern-day False Creek has been established.” Dr. Marjo Vierros

If you are interested in this project, please email us at info@falsecreekfriends.org!