New West residents invited to clean up up Fraser River shoreline

Bat boxes will be installed along the Fraser River as part of the seventh annual shoreline cleanup in Queensborough.

Community members are invited to participate in the event, part of the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup, by picking up litter, planting some native shrubs, removing invasive species and installing bat boxes on the river. This year’s event takes place on Sunday, Sept. 17 at 10 a.m., with participants meeting on South Dyke Road at the foot of Phillips Street.

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“It is notable that in Queensborough we have a unique ecological system, with drainage ditches acting as habitat for a wide variety of important creatures. These ditches collect rain runoff from the low-lying and permeable land, which is then pumped directly into the river. The quality of the rainwater is important, and by resisting the urge to pave and cover more of the land and the ditches, we can ensure that the system continues to work in a sustainable manner,” said a press release from the event’s organizers. “The Queensborough cleanup gives participants a special opportunity to connect with the habitat that flourishes in our community and to care for the animals that make their life between the ditches, the river, the trees, the sky and the sea.”

A new addition to this year’s event is the installation of bat boxes along the Fraser River.

“Bats help our environment by keeping insects to a manageable level. Unfortunately, human development is having a negative impact on our local little brown bats,” said the press release. “To encourage healthy population of bats, special nursery boxes will be constructed and installed along the river, close to Thompson’s Landing Park. Creating biologically appropriate housing can also help mitigate the spread of decimating diseases, such as white nose syndrome and other health problems. Participants can learn more about our local bats and take a peek inside these special bat homes before they are put up.”

The Queensborough Special Programs committee is organizing this year’s cleanup, with support from New Westminster Environmental Partners, Evergreen, Rivershed Society, Queensborough Community Centre and the City of New Westminster. Snacks and beverages will be supplied, but participants are asked to being hats, shovels, clippers, boots and gloves.

For more information and to register for this family-friendly event go to http://shorelinecleanup.ca/cleanups/15wjn.

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