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Salt marsh restoration underway in Boundary Bay

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For the last week, a national conservation organization has been working to restore the tidal marsh in Delta's Boundary Bay.

The project, led by Ducks Unlimited Canada, aims to restore the ecosystem by removing many of the logs that have accumulated in the marsh over the years.

Sarah Nathan, project operations manager for Ducks Unlimited's B.C. conservation program, told CTV News most of the logs being removed are "anthropogenic," meaning they were cut by humans, mainly for the forestry industry.

"Over the years, some logs have tended to escape from the log sorts, and because they don't have branches remaining on them or pointy root wads, they roll around, and they can mobilize within the marsh, and they act like rolling pins," Nathan said.

"So, what they end up doing is smothering some really valuable remnant salt marshes that we're trying really hard to take care of."

Large logs – especially those with wide, flat surfaces or root wads – are part of the ecosystem and are being left in Boundary Bay, according to Nathan. It's smaller logs that cause the most trouble.

"(What we're doing) is really just letting the marsh plants grow back, so they are no longer being smothered by a carpet of small pieces of wood," she said.

In addition to serving as a valuable – and increasingly rare – habitat, salt marshes are useful carbon sinks for fighting climate change, Nathan said.

"The main improvement we're really excited about is, in this case, (the plants') ability to sequester their carbon from the atmosphere and store it in the soil," she said.

Ducks Unlimited plans to do some "trial plantings" in the spring in an effort to help the marsh recover, Nathan said. Meanwhile, all the removed wood is being transported to a biofuel facility to be recycled. 

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