False Creek’s neighbours rally in defense of Lost Creek Fen, a tiny remnant of the city’s original biodiversity

Jason Morden, of the Lost Creek Fen Project, at the "duck pond" at 339 East 1st, a remnant of Brewery Creek in Mount Pleasant.

The swampy depression at the foot of Sophia St. at 1st Ave. may not look like much, but it’s a tiny remnant of False Creek’s original biodiversity, as a marauding coyote there yesterday could attest.

The “duck pond,” on private property, hemmed in by Great Northern Way campus on one side and an old industrial site now storing heaps of asphalt on the other, is the mouth of the original Brewery Creek that once cascaded down from Mount Pleasant to the marshes and mud flats of east False Creek.

Now the neighbours are organizing a the Lost Creek Fen Project to work for preservation and expansion of this piece of the city’s past that may provide a key to the future. (An organizing meeting is scheduled for Thursday, March 15, at the Native Education College, 285 East 5th, at 7 p.m.)

When Fen defender Jason Morden and I looked at the big puddle Saturday morning, it was hard to imagine the flats as they once were, teeming with bird life and fish, although song birds were numerous and a coyote kept an eye on us throughout our visit.

But Morden has discovered that this “duck pond” was never covered with landfill because of Mount Pleasant residents’ concern to protect some waterfowl habitat as development began to hem in the Creek in the early years of the last century.

This depression full of water is a link to that long-ago concern for habitat protection, but links directly to current proposals to re-introduce water to the area as part of flats development. Those issues are currently under review in the city’s Georgia Viaducts and Eastern Core Study.

This was a common theme of the Re:connect ideas contest submissions for the future of the entire area. With new provincial guidelines now requiring higher flood plains for new development, the duck pond may point to the future as much as the past.