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What lives in Vancouver's False Creek? Local underwater photographer documents restoration

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Murky with boat sewage and other pollutants, Vancouver's False Creek isn't a place to go for a swim, but it's still home to an abundance of marine life under the surface.

Local photographer Fernando Lessa took the plunge into the urban waterway to document the area in partnership with the Vancouver Park Board.

Lessa told CTV Morning Live Monday the impact of some restoration projects is being observed with more herring in the area and whales even being spotted close to False Creek.

"Slowly, life is coming back," he said, adding that herring is significant because it's lower on the food chain. "I was very surprised to see what I saw."

Lessa was most surprised to see spawning herring because they can form large, dense schools. He also saw dense schools of sticklebacks, which are more common.

"It was a pretty enjoyable dive," he said.

Even so, Lessa said there is still a lot of pollution.

"You find garbage almost everywhere and that's definitely an issue. But I really see that being addressed slowly," he said.

"If you give the chance to nature it will bounce back, so if we start cleaning it a little bit and just give it the chance to rebound."

Lessa's work doesn't only focus on False Creek. Later this year he will paddle the entire Fraser River for a documentary.

"The idea is to get some awareness for the river, which still is in really good shape, is still running free, there's no dams," he said.

"But the number of returning salmon is really low and trending low so we're trying to get some awareness for that issue."

Lessa comments were part of a four-minute interview that aired on CTV Morning Live Monday. Watch the full interview in the video player above. 

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