From left: Cassidy Patton

Fish fence project celebrates 20 years of SHaRP success

Mural in Blackie Spit marks two decades of youth-driven community work.

The North Shore mountains created a majestic backdrop for a colourful legacy project that unfolded along a fence in a corner of Blackie Spit Park last week.

“It turned out really well,” said JP Hervieux, co-leader of the Salmon Habitat Restoration Program (SHaRP) Watershed Enhancement Team that installed approximately 70 painted wooden fish in the “Stream of Dreams”-style mural.

The project, done with the Stream of Dreams Society, was to mark SHaRP’s 20th year of protecting and enhancing fish habitats in the city.

Employing high school students for the summer – and post-secondary students as team leaders – SHaRP crews’ efforts also include invasive plant removal, riparian planting and water-quality testing.

Since its creation in 1996, more than 540 students have been a part of the program.

Hervieux said the wooden fish that now grace the Blackie Spit fence in Crescent Beach – near the Maple Drainage Pump Station – were painted during a reunion event about two weeks ago, when 170 SHaRP alumni gathered to reminisce.

He noted the mural project is half of the legacy effort. The other is further north, near the Scott Road SkyTrain station, where an area was cleared of blackberry bushes and replanted.

On Thursday, the team also placed “woody debris” in a site immediately east of the fish mural in Blackie Spit, in preparation for fall planting. Hervieux said the logs would help bring moisture into the area.

And the day before, they worked with Ducks Unlimited to remove invasive spartina from the Nicomekl estuary.

For more information about SHaRP, visit www.surrey.ca/community/1997.aspx