Threats to Burns Bog
A public hearing about the proposed Delta Fresh Agricultural Cold Storage and Processing Facility Development set to be held at Delta City Hall this Tuesday, January 24th, 2023 at 4 PM.
We have concerns about several potential risks this development poses to the ecological integrity and functioning of the adjacent Burns Bog ecosystem. What measures will be taken to alleviate concerns that:
Currently no adequate pest control plan in place that will ensure harmful effects are not passed on to bird populations in the area who feed on rodents. Will toxic rodenticides, well-known to have negative downstream effects on birds of prey, be used to control pests in and around the facility?
Noise impacts from truck engines and continuously-running refrigeration units will have effects on the organisms living in Burns Bog, particularly birds? Bird behaviours are proven to be affected by noise and thereby must be considered given that the Bog is a refuge along the Pacific Flyway for migratory birds.
Continuous lighting can disrupt light-dependent behaviour patterns of vertebrates and invertebrate organisms who are essential to the bog ecosystem.
A fire in Burns Bog may pose a risk to the safety and integrity of this facility as a fire at this facility would pose a risk to Burns Bog and air quality in the region. During the summer months, the Burns Bog Ecological Conservancy Area (BBECA) enters into a period of elevated fire risk. Chemical refrigerants like ammonia (NH3) are noxious gases that reduce air quality and pose fire risks. The practices of this industry include the use of noxious chemicals for refrigeration and the control of bacteria, fungi, molds and mildew (fumigants).
Increased impermeable surfaces result in increased run-off of water and road dusts composed of chemicals able to affect neighbouring vegetation. Studies on asphalt products are finding that they “emit substantial and diverse mixtures of organic compounds into the air, with a strong dependence on temperature and other environmental conditions”1. “Emissions from asphalt-based materials are not recorded in conventional inventories of volatile organic compounds, even though they are actually a major source of VOCs”1. Given these comments what are the potential impacts to the Bog’s flora and fauna?
While developers, stakeholders and city council members may justify approval of one development adjacent to the Burns Bog, it is the slow process of chipping away at ecological conservancy areas like the BBECA that poses the greatest risk to their integrity.
We encourage everyone to look into this proposed development project. To voice concerns and raise questions about potential impacts on Burns Bog attend the public hearing or contact:
For questions and concerns: Tanya Mitchner
City Planner at City of Delta
Email firstname.lastname@example.org(External link)
To express your opposition: Write to Mayor and Council City of Delta
4500 Clarence Taylor Crescent
Delta, BC V4K 3E2
1 Khare, Peeyush, Jo Machesky, Ricardo Soto, Megan He, Albert A. Presto, and Drew R. Gentner. “Asphalt-Related Emissions Are a Major Missing Nontraditional Source of Secondary Organic Aerosol Precursors.” Science Advances 6, no. 36 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1126/sciadv.abb9785.
This unique ecosystem is at risk from all sides.
Today, over 500 acres of historic Burns Bog remain as privately owned lots. This land is not protected under the ecological covenant, and is vulnerable to development proposals with appropriate land designations. Current development proposals on these lands include a cold storage facility proposed by Earth King, an industrial development proposed by MK Delta, and an industrial development proposed by Beedie Development Group.
Existing threats to the Bog include the landfill, which can potentially expose Burns Bog to contaminated water and increased nutrients, and highways, which constrain and isolate populations to a shrinking habitat. Peat harvesting also left Burns Bog full of ditches which reduce the water table in Burns Bog. The City of Delta and Metro Vancouver are actively attempting to block these ditches to improve the hydrology of the ecosystem.
The largest natural threat to Burns Bog is fire. Large fires have occurred in 1977, twice in 1990, 1994, 1996, 2005, 2007 and in 2016. While fires naturally occur in terrestrial systems, the rate of fires far exceeds what is expected in a healthy wetland. Frequent fires promote the succession of non-wetland species, drastically altering the ecosystem for both flora and fauna alike. These fires occur frequently due to 2 reasons. The first reason is the altered hydrology of the system. As the system is drained and damaged, it becomes more vulnerable to perturbations. The second reason is the human cause of fires. Many of the fires that have occurred in Burns Bog in recent years have started due to careless human activity. Restoring the hydrology of Burns Bog, and preventing unwanted human fires will greatly increase the ecosystem services of Burns Bog.