BOUNDARY BAY
The Ecological Importance of Boundary Bay and the
Fraser Delta

Boundary Bay is a shallow marine bay that lies just south of
Vancouver, British Columbia and straddles the BC - Washington State
border. It is part of the Fraser River estuary, although its habitat is more
marine than other parts of the estuary, as it is separated from the
mouth of the river by the Tsawwassen - Point Roberts peninsula.

The bay is a renowned wildlife habitat, being one of the few lowland
marshy areas on the mountainous BC coast. It is particularly known for
its bird life, but the waters of the bay and the adjacent Georgia Strait
are rich in marine life that includes grey whales, endangered southern
resident killer whales, humpback whales, porpoises, seals and sea
lions, in season. Fraser salmon gather in the Fraser River estuary on
their way up the river to spawn.

Boundary Bay and the Fraser Estuary lie on the Pacific Flyway
migration corridor between the Arctic and Central and South America. It
is visited by millions of birds every spring and fall, and hundreds of
thousands of ducks and geese winter in the area.

Up to 50 species of shorebird have been recorded here, and some
species such as the western sandpiper, least sandpiper, black-bellied
plover and dunlin, occur in high numbers during migration. Plovers
and dunlin can also be found here in winter.

Boundary Bay is also the most important location in Canada for
numbers and diversity of wintering birds of prey (raptors) and is a
magnet for birders in search of owls. In some winters it is possible to
see snowy owl, great horned owl, barred owl, short-eared owl, barn
owl and northern sawhet owl on a single day.

The
Annex site on this website has checklists for the key birding
locations around Boundary Bay, as well as plant and tree lists
available for download.

Boundary Bay is one of three key component sites of the
Fraser River
Estuary Important Bird Area
. Together with Roberts Bank and
Sturgeon Bank, it ranks highest among the nearly 600  Important Bird
Area sites in Canada for the diversity and number of species reaching
global thresholds. It is  considered to be among the top 20 wetland
sites in North America.

The
Important Bird Area program is an international, cooperative
initiative organized by
BirdLife International partners around the globe.
In Canada, the program is coordinated by
Nature Canada and Bird
Studies Canada. In British Columbia, the lead partners are BC Nature
(the Federation of BC Naturalists) and Bird Studies Canada, BC office.

Boundary Bay, including Roberts Bank and Sturgeon Bank, is a
Western Hemispheric Shorebird Reserve Network Site.
The
WHSRN program is an international, cooperative initiative to
protect shorebirds and their habitat along the migratory flyways. The
Fraser River estuary wetlands are also a
Ramsar Site (Wetland of
International Importance).

To find out more about wildlife in and around Boundary Bay, read
A Nature Guide to Boundary Bay.

More information on stewardship programs and outings can be found
on the
Birds on the Bay site  and on the list of links to local clubs,
agencies and groups.
Download Birds on the Bay brochures:

Boundary Bay ~ A special place
   (English language version)

Boundary Bay ~ en endroit special                  
     (French language version)

Eelgrass brochure (outside)

Eelgrass brochure (inside)
A Long-eared Owl roosting near Boundary Bay
in 2012 (click on picture to see the
well-camouflaged owl).

The habitats of the Fraser delta are excellent
for owls of all kinds. As many as seven
species have been observed in one day -
Snowy (invasion years only),  Short-eared,
Barn, Barred, Northern Saw-whet, Long-eared
Owl (rare), and Northern Hawk-Owl (very rare).

Photographers: please, please, please, do
not go close to owls. They need to roost and
hunt undisturbed if they are going to survive.
Take your photo from a good long distance
away. Do not spend too long in the vicinity of
the owl. If you discover a roosting owl, please
do not post the location on the internet.   
A historic document

Ours to Preserve
Boundary Bay Conservation Committee

This report by the Boundary Bay Conservation
Committee, (Ed. Anne Murray and Mary Taitt)
was published in 1992, and endorsed by 22
community organizations and agencies,
including municipalities.  It provided a
rationale for many conservation actions in the
Fraser delta since then.

Although the proposed biosphere reserve was
never implemented, many of the
recommendations were achieved, in whole or
in part including Ramsar and Western
Hemispheric Shorebird Reserve designation,
Wildlife Management Area designations,
protection of Burns Bog as an Ecological
Reserve, formation of a farmland committee
and promotion of ecologically sustainable
farming techniques and stewardship (Delta
Farmland and Wildlife Trust), examination of
transborder issues, linear parks as habitat
corridors, etc.

Please excuse the poor quality of the scanned
report. A few hard copies may be still
available, contact
me for details.