The environment within and surrounding Delta plays an important role and it is becoming increasingly important to protect and conserve Delta's natural assets and the wildlife that inhabit them. These environmental initiatives highlight the strategies and actions that Delta is supporting on a wide range of issues in order to protect and increase the health, diversity and resiliency of the environment.
The 2023 City Nature Challenge results are in!
A huge thank you to everyone who helped Delta to participate in our second City Nature Challenge! What a massive effort by our wonderful community.
Here are the collective results:
Species: 57,227+, including more than 2,570 rare/endangered/threatened species
Most-observed species globally: Mallard duck (Anas platyrhynchos)
In Canada, the results are:
In Delta, the results are:
The most observed species in Delta was the Bald Eagle.
An enormous thank you to the volunteers who led the Observation Walks on April 29th and to our top observers.
Next year’s City Nature Challenge: April 26-29, 2024 – put it on your calendar!
Transportation comprises 60% of Delta’s community greenhouse gas emissions. Delta residents use vehicles for 80% of all trips and 76% of Delta residents commute outside the municipality for work. The City of Delta has been working continuously on reducing our greenhouse gases and on climate mitigation and adaptation. Electric vehicles are an important part of the solution. Click here to read about Delta's Electric Vehicle Strategy.
What Kinds of EVs are Available?
Click here for an up-to-date listing of new electric vehicles available in BC.
Did you know that the BC government has a Zero-Emission Vehicles Act, which will require 100% of light-duty vehicles sold and leased in BC to be zero emission by 2040? We might as well get used to EVs, because they will be very common in the near future. Click here for details.
Want a great deal on your next EV? Make use of these government rebate programs:
- BC Hydro’s up-to-date summary of available rebates for BC residents
- Transport Canada’s federal rebate program for purchase of new electric vehicles
- BC’s rebate program for home chargers
- The BC-SCRAPIT program offers incentives to scrap your gas-powered vehicle
- BC E-Bike Rebate Program
Where can I charge my EV in Delta?
The City of Delta operates Level 2 public charging stations at the following facilities:
- South Delta Recreation Centre
- Ladner Leisure Centre
- Dugald Morrison Park
- Delta City Hall
- Ladner Pioneer Library
- North Delta
- North Delta Recreation Centre
- North Delta Centre for the Arts
- North Delta Track
- Sungod Recreation Centre
- Tilbury Ice Arena
The locations of Delta's EV charging stations and other publicly available charging stations can be found on PlugShare.
Effective January 15, 2022, the fees for using Delta's Level 2 charging stations are:
- $2 per hour for first 2 hours
- $5 per hour after 2 hours
Report any issues with charging stations to 604-946-3293.
Want to install a charger at home so you can charge whenever you want? BC Hydro has some tips to guide you through the process.
Have questions about installing EV chargers in your multi-family strata property? Metro Vancouver has your answers.
EV Charging Etiquette
Electric vehicles are relatively new to most people. It takes time to work out an etiquette when society encounters something new. Here are some tips for being a considerate EV owner:
- Move your car once it’s charged.
- Limit your stay to the posted time limit (e.g. 2 hours). Some stations charge higher fees after a certain amount of time.
- Put the charging cord away so people don’t trip on it.
- Park in an EV stall if you’re not charging. Charging stalls are not meant to be VIP parking for EV owners.
- Unplug another person’s vehicle, unless they leave a note on their car or on PlugShare saying it's okay.
Check out these fun BCIT videos for some Dos and Don’ts of EV charging.
For more information, contact Climate Action & Environment at 604-946-3253 or email email@example.com.
Delta is home to a large range of ecosystems and wildlife. The implementation of Delta's Birds & Biodiversity Conservation Strategy presents an opportunity to review Delta’s existing policies, programs, and bylaws for opportunities to build upon. Having one strategy that ties together current efforts and identifies new initiatives will provide focus and clarity across departments and will reduce the duplication of efforts and resources, and missed opportunities. The development of the Strategy was informed though discussions with the Delta Naturalists Society, other environmental community groups, agricultural community, tourism and business associations, federal and regional government staff and Delta staff from multiple departments. The strategies and actions give an action-orientated document that meets Delta’s mandates and goals.
Vision: Delta’s globally significant bird populations, unique biodiversity, and ecological functions are protected and enhanced for future generations.
Mission: Our community collaborates to identify, protect, promote, enhance and monitor habitat and biodiversity within urban, agricultural, industrial, and natural areas.
- Delta’s habitats are protected, enhanced and resilient;
- The community understands and values Delta’s natural resources;
- Collaborative partnerships are fostered with a shared vision for biodiversity protection and enhancement;
- Delta and the Fraser River Estuary are established as a world-class centre for birds and biodiversity; and
- Delta works to conserve its heritage as a working landscape that is significant for birds and biodiversity.
With over 275 species and millions of migratory birds using the Fraser River Estuary and Delta as a vital stopover on the Pacific Flyway, this area is Canada’s Number 1 Important Bird Area. Boundary Bay and its adjacent uplands represent the most significant migratory waterfowl and shorebird habitat on Canada's Pacific Coast.
For information about birds in Delta, view the Birds in Delta and Experience Birding in Delta guides, and Birds Love Delta. Also within Delta is the George C. Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary, one of Canada's top bird watching areas.
What is Biodiversity?
The term “biodiversity” refers to the variety of species and ecosystems and the ecological processes of which they are a part. The three components of biodiversity are ecosystem, species and genetic diversity. In British Columbia, the Lower Mainland is a biodiversity “hot spot” and the landscape of Delta contributes significantly to the region’s biodiversity. Having good biodiversity across the landscape means that ecosystems are sufficiently intact, a range of native species exist, and that species population dynamics are healthy. While healthy natural environments support diversity, so can a backyard garden or a green roof. Ecosystem diversity contributions can be scaled from small urban backyard gardens up to a whole watershed. A biologically diverse landscape tends to be healthier because the diversity makes ecosystems more resilient to damaging changes. These damages can be natural, like a dry summer, and/or anthropogenic such as a spill of hazardous materials.
The Delta Naturalists Society have produced ten nature brochures for a variety of plants and animals found in Delta. The brochures feature original photos and a detailed description of a variety of species, and are intended for use as a handy resource by Delta residents and visitors while exploring biodiversity in Delta:
What is an Urban Forest and Why Does it Matter?
Delta’s urban tree forest includes every tree in our city – on streets, in parks, public spaces, and back yards. Our urban forest plays critical environmental and social roles: it cleans the air, absorbs rainwater, reduces air temperatures, provides bird habitat, and improves our health and well-being.
Invasive species are species that have been introduced, either intentionally, e.g. through horticulture, or accidentally to an area where they do not naturally occur and proceed to cause harm in its new environment. Not all non-native species are invasive, but in almost all cases invasive species are non-native.
Delta’s Invasive Species Management Strategy provides a framework of how Delta will evaluate, reduce and mitigate the impacts of invasive species on our environment, economy, and society. The Strategy focuses on the management and removal of invasive plants and animals within Delta utilizing prevention and early detection and rapid response (EDRR) techniques where:
- Invasive species are found in low densities and the potential for eradication is practical;
- Invasive species are present and present a health or safety risk (e.g., Giant Hogweed);
- Invasive species may impact species-at-risk, ecosystems-at-risk, and sensitive areas such as steep slopes or natural area-agricultural interfaces, or areas with high environmental value such as riparian areas;
- Sites with a high degree of community value and community interest, e.g., Cougar Creek and Watershed Park;
- Sites where management or removal of invasive species are required or regulated.
The focus of Delta’s invasive species management is primarily on invasive plants. This is due to Delta’s historical ties to farming and the 30+ year summer invasive plant management team (IPMT) program. The focus species of Delta’s invasive species management are:
- Poison Hemlock
- Garlic Mustard
- Giant Hogweed
- English Cordgrass (Spartina)
- English Ivy
- Canada Thistle
- Bull Thistle
- Yellow Flag Iris
- Scotch Broom
Delta operates a seasonal Invasive Plant Management Team (IPMT) from May to August. During this time, the crew mechanically or manually removes the priority invasive plants on targeted public lands. Every four years the team performs an invasive plant inventory of Delta’s public lands.
The control of invasive animals mostly occurs on private property where pests cause damage to gardens and turf grass (e.g., European Chafer beetle and European Fire Ant). Other invasive animals, such as carp bullfrogs, and red-eared slider turtles tend to affect public assets like native fish populations. In response to these impacts, Delta works with the public and professionals to mitigate these impacts.
Metro Vancouver has produced a series of best practices to manage invasive species. For all invasive species, preventing invasion is key. The best ways to prevent the spread of invasive species are not releasing live animals, ornamental plants, or aquarium water into the environment; not transporting soil from one area to another; and not buying invasive plants (e.g. ivy, holly, or lamium) for landscaping purposes.
Delta has been certified as a Bat-Friendly Community by the Community Bat Programs of BC. As Metro Vancouver’s second certified bat-friendly community, Delta is committed to protecting and enhancing bat habitat and promoting learning and awareness about the value of local bat colonies in our natural environment. Delta will work with the Community Bat Programs of BC to identify opportunities to manage and enhance known bat roosts within the municipality and ensure best practices are implemented when demolition or modification of structures is required.
Delta is working to enhance habitat quality and biodiversity on public and private lands as part of Delta's Birds and Biodiversity Conservation Strategy. This work is ongoing through the medium and long-term and includes actions such as reviewing tree protection and boulevard maintenance bylaws, working with the farming community to incorporate wildlife-friendly crops and farming practices, and reviewing parks management plans and maintenance guidelines for opportunities to strengthen habitat protections and improve biodiversity within parks.
Bats are not pests or rodents! They are a very important component of the ecosystem.
All 17 species of bats in BC are protected from being hunted, captured, killed, transported or harassed under the BC Wildlife Act, and many are listed species-at-risk or endangered. This means that bats cannot be relocated or disturbed during their active breeding season between May 1 and September 1.
- Bats are the only mammals that fly. Scientists classify them into an order called “Chiroptera” which means “hand-wing.”
- All bats in Canada feed exclusively on insects. During the summer months, female bats may consume their own weight in insects each night while pregnant and lactating. This equates to 1000s of insects per bat per night!
- Juvenile bats are known as pups. They are born in June/July and are fully grown by August/September.
- Most bats give birth to just one pup per year, and only about half of those young make it through their first winter.
- Bats can live for decades. One bat in western Canada was known to be at least 39 years old when last seen.
- Bats in BC migrate or hibernate (or both) during the winter, which is why sightings of bats after November 1 are unusual, and should be reported to bcbats.ca, email, or 1-855-922-2287.
Bats in Delta
Bats need three basic things to survive: food, shelter and water. Well managed habitats in urban, rural and wild areas can provide these key elements, and the diversity of habitats that are important for ensuring the success of our bats.
Delta contains important habitat for bats. The attic of the Burr Heritage House (Burrvilla), located in Deas Island Regional Park, provides important shelter for over 2,400 pregnant females (Little Brown Myotis and Yuma bats) and is one of the largest known maternity bat colonies of its kind in BC. These bats safely coexist with the park caretaker, who lives in the house, and the appropriate protective measures are in place to ensure the bats do not impact this valuable heritage asset. Additional bat habitats - roosts and foraging sites - are located along the banks of the Fraser River, including on Westham Island, in Burns Bog, over farmland and in green spaces.
Metro Vancouver has been monitoring bats on Deas Island since 2016 and has detected nine bat species in total:
- Yuma Myotis Myotis yumanensis
- Little Brown Myotis M. lucifugus
- California Myotis M. californicus
- Long-eared Myotis M. evotis
- Long-legged Myotis M. volans
- Big Brown Bat Eptesicus fuscus
- Hoary Bat Lasiurus cinereus
- Silver-haired Bat Lasionycteris noctivagans
- Mexican free-tailed Bat Tadarida brasiliensis
Living with Bats
There is a persistent myth that all bats have rabies. The truth is that less than 1% of bats have rabies. However, to be safe, it is always best to avoid contact any wild animal, including bats. Bats with rabies may be acting strangely, including flying during the daytime. Do not touch bats with bare hands, regardless of whether they are alive or dead. Anyone who has been in contact with a bat should contact the Delta Health Protection Office (604-507-5478).
Guano, bat droppings, are also thought to be vectors for diseases, yet this is another myth. No disease has been associated with guano in BC. Guano is non-toxic and makes an excellent fertilizer for your garden.
There is no need to panic if you find bats living in your home or in a building. Bats are simply small animals that are trying to find a suitable home. Some bat colonies can remain safely in buildings without creating a risk for humans, like the bat colony at the Burr Heritage House.
Leaving bats roosting where they are is usually the best option for bat conservation but may not be an appropriate option for the homeowner. The Community Bat Programs provides advice to safely live with bats and for safely excluding bats from a building.
If you notice bats flying over your property, take these simple steps to minimize interactions with bats:
- Keep doors and windows closed between sunset and sunrise.
- Check screens for holes (bats can get through a hole as small as a dime).
- Check patio umbrellas and awning areas for bat droppings (guano) and open it slowly.
- Bats may use these structures temporarily, opening the umbrella or awning quickly will scare both you and the bat and may cause an encounter.
- Move wood from woodpiles with care, as bats may be roosting there.
- Ensure pets are vaccinated against rabies.
- Report any pet-bat interactions immediately to your vet.
- Keep others informed by letting friends and neighbours know of bat activity in the area and precautions they can take to avoid bat interactions.
For more information:
- A BC Guide for Managing Bats in Buildings
- 7 Steps for Excluding Bats in Buildings in BC
- Got Bats? A Bulletin for Builders in BC
- Got Bats? A Bulletin for Realtors in BC
- Got Bats? A Bulletin for Roofers and Chimney Professionals in BC
How Can You Help Protect Bats and Enhance Bat Habitat?
Cats are the #1 predators of bats in urban BC. Keep cats indoors around sunset and sunrise when bats are most active. More information is can be found in The Happy Cat brochure.
One of the greatest threats to bats is White-nose Syndrome, a disease affecting hibernating bats. It is caused by a cold-loving fungus that collects and grows around the muzzle and wings of hibernating bats. Report sightings of bats that you see between November 1 and May 31, and dead bats to bcbats.ca, email, or 1-855-922-2287.
While healthy natural environments support biodiversity, so can a backyard garden or a green roof. Make your garden bat-friendly by providing habitat for bats and avoid the application of pesticides and herbicides.
Native trees and shrubs are among the most important host plants for developing moth caterpillars and other nocturnal insects, which are food for bats! Below are some native plants that are beneficial to bats. For a comprehensive list, see Appendix B of the Bat-Friendly Communities Guide.
- Alder: red, green, Sitka, mountain Alnus spp.
- Poplar: trembling aspen, black cottonwood, balsam poplar Populus spp.
- Birch: paper, water, scrub Betula spp.
- Cherry: choke, pin Prunus spp.
- Rose: prickly, baldhip, Nootka, prairie Rosa spp.
- Currants: sticky, waxy, skunk, northern black, trailing black Ribes spp.
- Spirea: birch-leaved, pyramid, pink Spirea spp.
- Honeysuckle: Utah, orange Lonicera spp.
- Red-osier Dogwood Cornus stolonifera
- Douglas Maple Acer glabrum
- White-flowered Rhododendron Rhododendron albiflorum
- Hairy Evening Primrose Oenothera villosa ssp. strigosa
- Saskatoon berry Amelanchier alnifolia
- Twinflower Linnaea borealis
Pollinators include flies, beetles, ants, moths, wasps, hummingbirds, butterflies and bees, which spread pollen from one plant to another as they navigate through flowers for food.
Pollinators are important for both the environment and agriculture. Unfortunately, pollinators are in trouble. Around the world, pollinators are struggling to survive amidst growing threats to their homes and health.
Biodiversity is key for thriving pollinator populations. Having good biodiversity across the landscape means that ecosystems are sufficiently intact, a range of native plants and pollinator species exist, and that species population dynamics are healthy.
Bee City Declaration
In 2020, the City of Delta was declared a Bee City by Bee City Canada. The Bee City designation is a long-term commitment to protect pollinators (not just bees!). This honour is awarded to cities that publicly declare to protect pollinators and their habitats through coordinated and collaborative actions that align with the Bee City program. Becoming a Bee City reflects Delta’s commitment to protecting and enhancing biodiversity and strengthening our support for the creation, protection and promotion of pollinator habitat.
Delta’s plans to create and enhance pollinator habitat includes incorporating more pollinator-friendly flowers into civic garden beds and rain garden designs. Municipal mowing practices for city-maintained areas (e.g., road right-of-ways and along dikes) will be reviewed to identify areas where practices can be updated to benefit pollinators.
Pollinator gardens can be found throughout the City of Delta's parks and greenspaces. Delta's gardeners plant pollinator-friendly plants like Lavender, Penstemon, and Allium.
Delta has installed a demonstration pollinator in front of City Hall. The garden contains a mix of native and ornamental flowers that will offer food and shelter for pollinators year round, including Yarrow, Joe-Pye Weed, Bee Balm and Christmas Rose.
Mason Bee Box Program
Mason Bee boxes have been installed at four Delta Parks: Rotary Park, Diefenbaker Park, Fred Gingell Park, and the Eastpoint Park Reserve. There are approximately 40-100 bees within a bee box; they will live there from May to August. The bee boxes in Delta parks are maintained by a trained mason bee keeper.
Mason bees are solitary bees that do not make honey. A mason bee may travel up to 50 metres from its home, pollinating 75 flowers per trip. To collect enough food for one mason bee egg, an adult must make 25 trips. At 75 flowers per trip, that’s 1,875 flowers pollinated. A standard mason bee box house that holds 80 bees would result in the pollination of 150,000 flowers!
How Can You Help?
While healthy natural environments support biodiversity, so can a backyard garden or a green roof. Make your garden pollinator friendly by planting flowers, fruits and vegetables that will flower at different times of the year. This will help pollinators of all varieties have a steady food supply throughout the seasons. Avoid the application of pesticides and herbicides.
Here are some good resources for selecting the right kind of plant for your space:
- Selecting Plants for Pollinators: A Regional Guide for Farmers, Land Managers, and gardeners in the Lower Mainland
- Grow Me Instead Booklet
- Bee-Friendly Plants for your Garden and Farm
For more information on pollinators:
In the future, we can anticipate heavier fall and winter rains. Heavier rains means more water going down our storm drains carrying pollution and creating erosion within our waterways. To reduce pollution and erosion, Delta has installed rain gardens where possible!
Rain gardens are planted areas designed to receive rain water flows from streets and parking lots. These special gardens collect run-off rain water so that it can be cleaned and cooled before reaching our streams, which helps keeps pollution out of streams and improves fish habitat.
Delta's Engineering Department has been working with local streamkeepers to design, install, and maintain rain gardens at Delta's elementary schools. The first rain garden was installed at Cougar Canyon Elementary School in 2006.Image
Rain Garden located at the North Delta Centre for Arts
Adopt-a-Rain-Garden is a garden maintenance program. Residents, families, local groups, clubs, and other organizations work with Delta to ensure our community's rain gardens are kept up and working properly. This program helps protect nearby fish habitat and keeps our neighbourhoods looking great.
Participating volunteers adopt a rain garden in their neighbourhood, pledging to perform simple garden maintenance (e.g. weeding) throughout the year to help keep our rain gardens healthy and beautiful. Volunteers work under the guidance of the Engineering Department, which provides volunteers with an initial orientation.
View current Adopt-a-Rain-Garden volunteer opportunities.
Rain Gardeners Classroom Programs
To enhance our green space, Delta has been installing rain gardens in and around Delta roadways and at several elementary schools. These rain gardens are designed to intercept stormwater and allow it to infiltrate the soil for absorption by plants.
Delta staff have developed a complementary rain gardener curriculum for Grade 4 and 5 students. The rain gardeners connect to their local watershed and raise awareness as to how everyday actions may impact nearby watercourses. The rain garden allows students to experience caring for nature by maintaining the garden.
Take a look at the amazing work done by students from Gray Elementary:
If you would like more information on how to get a rain garden installed at your school, or have questions regarding your current garden, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you wish to learn more about how you can help your local watershed’s health, see Metro Vancouver’s A Homeowner’s Guide to Stormwater Management.
Are there environmental stewardship activities that I can do at home?
Yes! There are many simple, everyday, things you can do at home to help protect the environment. Here are some examples.
- Properly recycle hazardous wastes like: leftover paints, spent solvents, and unwanted pesticides; motor oil and antifreeze; and dead batteries
- When painting with latex paints, discard the washout water properly into the toilet or mop sink, NOT down a storm drain or above your house’s weeping tile
- Use traps rather than poison to control rodents
- Wash your car over your lawn rather than let the soapy water enter a storm drain
- Plant your yard with various flowering species and allow them to grow to a size and density that birds will use for shelter and nesting
- Grow native plants, not invasive species
- Control invasive plants that are growing on your property
- Don’t dump soil, unwanted plants, and green waste into ravines and other natural areas
- Build and maintain bird houses and mason bee condos in your garden
- If you have a pet, don’t release it into the wild if you no longer want to care for it
- Choose LED lights
- Turn down the thermostat to 18°C
- Seal gaps and leaks under exterior doors and around windows to conserve heat
- During the summer, air dry clothes rather than using the dryer
- Invest in heat pumps, high efficiency furnaces and appliances, or tankless water heaters
- Invest in a rain barrel to collect winter rainwater for summertime watering
- Disconnect a roof rainwater leader and either collect the water in a rain barrel or allow it to infiltrate
- Install a water meter and fix leaking taps, toilets and other fixtures as soon as possible
- Wash your laundry in full loads
- Install low flow plumbing fixtures such as dual-flush toilets or low-flow showerheads
- Include drought tolerant, non-invasive plant species in your garden
Downspouts are pipes that carry water down from your roof. Most downspouts are connected to the City’s storm-sewer system, where the water is treated and redirected to local waterways. A more sustainable option for storm water management is to disconnect from the storm-sewer system and release the water directly onto a splash pad, where it can soak into your grass or garden.
What are the benefits of disconnecting my downspout?Image
When rain falls on your roof, instead of soaking into the ground as it would have before the house was built, that water goes directly into the storm-sewer system and is released into nearby waterways in high volumes. During periods of signiﬁcant rainfall, overloaded storm-sewer systems can cause basement ﬂooding. The high volumes of water runoﬀ can also cause ﬂash ﬂooding, destabilize trees and vegetation, and erode streambanks, putting nearby properties at risk. Groundwater levels fall as the water is quickly swept away, allowing less water to soak into the ground naturally. With insuﬃcient groundwater supplies to last through summer, water levels in streams fall dangerously low, threatening the survival of ﬁsh and other wildlife.
Disconnecting your downspout can allow water to soak into the ground naturally, helping keep your gardens healthy and groundwater levels stable during drier months. The disconnect helps by slowly reﬁlling creeks and streams nearby, while protecting your property and your neighbours, as well as protecting the health of local wildlife.
If I disconnect my downspout, how do I manage the runoff?
Splash block: move water away from your home and foundation using concrete, plastic, or other durable material to disperse into a lawn or landscaped area.Image Infiltration trench: move water away from your home and foundation into a trench filled with stones or rocks to let water slowly seep into the ground.Image Rain planters: direct downspout to a raised planter box layered with rock, fabric, sand, and planting soil, and direct overflow to a landscaped area.Image Rain gardens: direct downspout extension to a shallow depression that is planted with grasses and flowers that can tolerate some wet roots.Image
Important things to remember:
- Direct downspout extensions away from buildings to prevent seepage into building foundations or adjacent properties.
- Firmly anchored splash blocks should be installed if downspout drainage is to travel over landscaping or dirt.
- Do not allow water to splash or pond on adjacent private and public property.
- Make sure downspout extensions end at least three feet away from basement foundations, and water is being directed on ground that slopes away (downward) from your building.