Skip navigation

Mud Bay Foreshore Enhancements

Mud Bay landscape

Coastal Marshes in Surrey

Surrey's coast is home to unique habitats that are full of life. Here you can find migratory birds, salmon and many other species. But, coastal habitats are valuable not only to wildlife but also to people. Our communities enjoy the services that coastal habitats, especially marshes, provide.

These services that coastal marshes provide include water quality improvement, reduction of coastal erosion and decreasing the size of waves. Together these services help protect us from coastal flooding. However, with rising sea levels, the coastal marshes that we depend on are at risk of disappearing.

Mud Bay Foreshore Enhancements Project

We will explore a new method to increase Surrey's ability to manage coastal flooding. This project is an example of a "nature-based solution" or "green infrastructure". This means that we will learn from and mimic natural processes to develop solutions.

Such solutions will help protect us from flooding, while at the same time ensure that the local environment is thriving.

This project is part of the first phase of implementation of the Coastal Flood Adaptation Strategy (CFAS). CFAS guides our work in ensuring our community is resilient, safe, healthy and prepared for coastal flooding and sea level rise. To achieve that, CFAS outlines 46 strategic actions; this project is one of them.

This project is partially funded by the Government of Canada through the Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund.

A "Living Dyke" Pilot

As part of the project, we plan to apply the "living dyke" concept at two locations. This concept was developed in partnership with the Boundary Bay Living Dike Roundtable. The concept is based on the idea of establishing a gentle, raised vegetated slope to help natural marshes keep up with sea level rise.

To do so, we will be adding sediment and native marsh plantings on the foreshore. The aim is to gradually increase the elevation of the marshes up to one metre.

This project is innovative and experimental. It will entail piloting, testing, evaluating and refining different possible approaches. We will be building it in phases and use each phase as a learning opportunity to improve the approach.

This project will require collaboration with partners and stakeholders, especially the Boundary Bay Living Dike Roundtable. We will be working closely with the City of Delta to build the first pilot location of the "living dyke" concept. It will be created in front of the Boundary Bay Dyke in Delta.

A Setback Dyke

We will also establish a setback dyke site as part of this project. A setback dyke is a dyke that is not located right at the edge of the coast, but somewhat further inland. This allows for the unprotected portion of the floodplain to perform its natural function. It can be also a valuable environmental and recreational asset.

We will be looking at options to move the existing Colebrook Dyke at Mud Bay Park further inland. This would allow us to change the area between the existing dyke and the new dyke into a coastal marsh. We would transform the existing dyke into an elevated pathway for recreational use.

What Will This Project Achieve?

Foreshore enhancements will:

  • Provide a nature-based defence for coastal flooding;
  • Build natural habitat and enhance environmental processes and ecosystem functions;
  • Mitigate the impacts of sea level rise on marsh habitat; and
  • Increase our understanding of viable coastal marsh adaptation approaches and their replicability.

Project Timing

The "living dyke" site in Surrey is considered a reviewable project under the BC Environmental Assessment Act. To fulfill the requirements, the City will begin collecting baseline environmental data and consulting with the community, stakeholders and Indigenous nations in Spring 2020.

The anticipated timing of the project is:

  • Spring 2020 – Planning, design, community engagement

  • Late 2020 – Work begins at the Delta “living dyke” pilot site

  • 2021 – Work begins at the Surrey “living dyke” pilot site

  • 2021 – Work begins at the Surrey setback dyke site

  • 2023 – Work begins at the Surrey “living dyke” site

Public Meeting

We will be holding a public open house in spring 2020 to provide information on the project and gather feedback.

Contact

For more information about this project, please contact us at coastal@surrey.ca.

Do you want to receive updates on City’s coastal flood adaptation projects? Subscribe to our newsletter below.