- McCartney Creek originates in a forested area of Seymour Heights. The creek has a steep incline and flows through a series of steps to the Burrard Inlet where it provides freshwater input into the Maplewood Estuaries. The creek is described as very flashy.
- 4 tributaries including Blueridge, Trillium, Woods, and Mountain Creeks.
- Status: Endangered – due to riparian removal, urbanization, culverting and degraded water quality (Precision, 1997)
- Trend: Declining (Precision, 1997)
- 15% impervious area in watershed (GVRD)
- Baseflows – 0.23 m3/s per km2 in winter and 0.16 m3/s per km2 in summer
- Before mid-1800’s -North Vancouver District was inhabited by Coast Salish peoples.
- 1860’s - The first significant non-native settlement began
- Late 1800’s to early 1900’s – Trees over 90 m high and 11 m in circumference were logged
- 1865 – Hugh Burr puchases land east of Seymour River beginning the first European settlement
- 1930’s - Construction of the Dollarton Highway encouraged further settlement of the Maplewood neighbourhood
- 1950’s - Port oriented industry commenced with the introduction of the first chemical plant in Maplewood
- 1960 - Completion of most recent Second Narrows Bridge. Seymour Heights and Windsor Park developed followed by Windsor Park South and Blueridge residential communities
- 1970’s - McCartney Woods has been built since the 1970’s
- McCartney Creek provides the main freshwater input into Maplewood mudflats or estuary. The estuary is significant as the only remaining mudflat on the North Shore not destroyed by development. 16 acres remain of the original 350 (Environment Canada).
- Mouth provides rearing ground for anadromous fish (coho, chum, steelhead, cutthroat trout). Other species that depend upon estuary include juvenile chinook salmon, herring, anchovy, smelt, stickleback and various bottom-dwelling fish.
- Mouth and surrounding uplands make up the Maplewood Flats Wildlife Sanctuary which provide migratory, breeding and wintering habitat for 186 bird species and 17 native mammals. During winter and migratory periods 8000 birds depend upon this area (on Pacific flyway). Area provides largest diversity of wildlife habitat on the North Shore.
- Anadromous fish have access up to falls 1.8 km from the mouth. Spawned coho found 800 m. upstream beside Winsor School in 1999. Resident cutthroat trout are found above the Mount Seymour Parkway.
- Wildlife: blue-listed species seen include: Turkey Vulture and Hutton’s Vireo. Others expected include Bald Eagle, Western Screech Owl, Northern Pygmy-Owl, Northern Saw-Whet, Lewis’ Woodpecker and Tailed Frog.
- Vegetation: Coastal Western Hemlock Zone
- Recreational: parks and trails; birders. McCartney Creek and Winsor Parks.
- CDNV waterline and access road crosses creek
- Residential – runs through Seymour Heights and a newer housing development above McCartney Creek Park.
- Classified as endangered due to impacts such as riparian removal, urbanization, culverting, and degraded water quality (DFO, 1998)
- Of the entire Maplewood Estuary and possibly the whole Burrard Inlet, McCartney Marsh is probably the most productive and important. Poor development practices have resulted in soil erosion, rapid runoff and contaminated water into the Creek and Maplewood Estuary (Planning Dept., 1977)
- Decreasing escapement figures – attributed to urban development and overfishing near the mouth (DFO, 1998)
- Maplewood-Lynnmour area – one of highest levels of air pollution in Lower Mainland in terms of suspended particulates (GVRD ambient air monitoring)
- Significant loss of riparian vegetation along more than 50% of the fish frequented length of the stream due to development and removal by landowners (FRAP)
- Significant water quality problems (FRAP):
- Elevated levels of lead and copper in the water and creek sediments and in the soils in the upper watershed (DFO, 1998). Former rifle range above Mount Seymour Parkway.
- Intensive development in the watershed increases the risk of altered water quality and quantity (8 storm drains discharge into McCartney), contaminant discharges and spills, unauthorized instream works, bank alterations and loss of vegetation along the creek
- 20 metre long culvert under Dollarton Highway and 100 metre wide culvert under Mount Seymour Parkway
- Urbanization in the watershed has significantly affected the stream basin (FRAP) Urbanization causes flashy flows which lead to bank and slope instability resulting in erosion and flooding.
- Progressive sedimentation and plugging of trash racks at culvert inlets under flood flow conditions in tributary channels in upper reaches (Kerr Wood Leidal Associates, 1982).
- Channelization, armourization, or dyking of over 50% of the fish frequented length of the stream (FRAP).
- Debris flow or debris flood risk rated moderately high (about 1:100); sufficient to warrant mitigative actions or further study. Development along lower reaches may be vulnerable to creek events (Kerr Wood Leidal Associates, 1999).
- McCartney Creek fan may be subject to channel avulsion (Kerr Wood Leidal Associates, 1999).
- CDNV waterline exposed due to erosion or poor installation. Concern over potential chlorine spill (Gartner, 1995).
- Danger of toxic spills from industries located near the mouth.
Key Interest Groups/Government Bodies
- Municipal Gov’t: District of North Vancouver (DNV); District Parks Department
- Regional: GVRD (regional parks, sewers and air quality); GVWD
- Provincial Gov’t: Ministry of Transportation and Highways; Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks; Burrard Inlet Environmental Action Program
- Federal Gov’t: Department of Fisheries and Oceans; Environment Canada; Transport Canada
- Local NGO’s: North Shore Streamkeepers – McCartney Creek; North Shore Fish and Game Club; Blueridge Community Association; Wild Bird Trust of BC; Vancouver Natural History Society
- Tsleil’waututh Nation - Burrard Inlet Band
- Vancouver Port Corporation
- School District 44: Plymouth, Seymour and Blueridge Elementary; Winsor Secondary
- North (Shore/Vancouver) Historical Society
- 1982–86 – 60,000 coho eggs were transplanted into the creek by the Capilano hatchery with SEP volunteers.
- Mid 80’s – Winsor Secondary operated a hatchery.
- 91-92 – School District released coho below Mount Seymour Parkway.
- Various public interest groups fought development on the Maplewood Flats. The area has now been established as Maplewood Flats Wildlife Refuge. Wild Bird Trust has work hard to restore the area to provide habitat to birds and other wildlife. A native plant nursery is operated on the site.
- 1997 – GIS mapping - District of North Vancouver
- 99-00 – Blueridge Community Association undertook 5 projects to enhance fish passage and reduce nutrient inputs.
Recommendations and Suggested Actions
- The District of North Vancouver should be encouraged to maintain, and possibly expand, its comprehensive Environmental and Preservation Bylaw which protects, preserves, and conserves natural settings and ecological systems of trees, watercourses, soils and lands (DFO, 1998).
- The District should adopt broad range development policies protecting the watershed and ensuring a continued supply of uncontaminated fresh water to the estuary system (Planning Dept., 1977).
- "Contaminates originating from large paved areas such as parking lots should not be allowed to enter the natural creek systems. Perhaps some form of porous asphalt pavement (as developed and used by the University of Delaware) could be used for paving in the vicinity of the ecological reserves" (Planning Dept., 1977).
- Wild Bird Trust of BC has worked hard to clean-up and restore the area which has now become Maplewood Flats Wildlife Refuge. Their efforts should continue to be supported (DFO, 1998).
- Additional stewardship activities are required which focus on riparian protection or reestablishment, improving water quality, preventing stream encroachments, managing access, discouraging instream works, fostering community outreach programs, and increasing public awareness (DFO, 1998)
- Removal of the log jam below Northlands Road should be investigated as a means of improving fish access. Removal of the large log jam below Mt. Seymour Parkway would benefit cutthroat
- Recommended that impermeable areas be minimized in development areas so as not to jeopardize the estuarine environment (Tera, 1980)
- Maintenance of vegetation along all natural drainages is important in order to trap sediments and pollution before they can enter the stream system (Tera, 1980)
- Environment Canada "strongly recommended that the REMAINING FISH AND WILDLIFE HABITAT BE PRESERVED in the Seymour-Maplewood area" (Planning Dept., 1977)
- Initiative to develop a bedload management plan should be continued (Kerr Wood Leidal Associates, 1999)
- A cross-connection corridor between McCartney and Mountain Creek is recommended north of Northland Villages to provide for movement between the creek ravines and to connect to the larger blocks of habitat occurring to the north of the site, up Mount Seymour. The connection corridor should be 30-40 m wide (Gartner Lee Limited, 1995)
- Study outlines various fish enhancement opportunities for McCarney Creek and its tributaries in the Northlands area (Gartner Lee Limited, 1995)
Available Sources of Information
Maps: TRIM/UTM 92G036 - BC Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks
Map: District of North Vancouver
Council of the District of North Vancouver. (December 1977). The Development of Seymour.
Daly, M.K. (1984). The Birds of the Maplewood Mudflats, North Vancouver. Discovery, Vancouver Natural History Society.
Don Vaughan & Associates Ltd. (Jan. 1974). Hyannis Study Area: Landscape Reconnaissance.
Environmental Science Program ‘94/95 Capilano College. (May 1995). Maplewood Flats: Ecological Restoration Studies. Vols. 1 & 2.
Gartner Lee Limited. (June 1995). Fish and Wildlife Assessment of Northland Villages Site, North Vancouver.
Kahrer, G. (1989). From Speculative to Spectacular: The Seymour River Valley 1870’s to 1980’s. A History of Resource Use. Greater Vancouver Regional District, Parks Dept.
Kerr Wood Leidal Associates Ltd. (1999) "Overview Study of Debris Flow Hazards". Prepared for the District of North Vancouver.
Kerr Wood Leidal Associates for the District of North Vancouver. (July 1982). "Report on Creek Systems and Stormwater Control".
Maynard, D.E. (1978). Geomorphic Constraints to Urban Residential Development in the Seymour Area. District of North Vancouver, B.C. Thesis, U.B.C.
The Planning Department of the District of North Vancouver. Based on research by Environment Canada. (January 1977). The Natural Environment of the Maplewood Estuaries.
Precision Identification Biological Consultants. (1997). Prepared for Fraser River Action Plan, Fisheries and Oceans Branch. Wild, Threatened, Endangered and Lost Streams of the Lower Fraser Valley: Summary Report. Lower Fraser Valley Stream Review, Vols. 1 & 3.
Renshaw, Timothy. December 12, 1990. "North Shore fish battle to survive in a polluted urban environment". in the North Shore News.
Roed, Murray A. for Don Vaughan & Associates Ltd. Reconnaissance Terrain Analysis, Seymour Heights, District of North Vancouver.
Tera Consultants Limited. (May 1980). Hydrology in the Maplewood Planning Area of the District of North Vancouver. Prepared for the District of North Vancouver.
Tera Consultants Limited. (April 1980). Terrain Reconnaissance in the Maplewood Planning Area of the District of North Vancouver. Prepared for the District of North Vancouver.
Tera Consultants Limited. (May 1980). Hydrology in the Maplewood Planning Area of the District of North Vancouver.
Tera Environmental Consultants Limited. (July 1980). Landscape Reconnaissance of National Harbours Board Property in Maplewood Planning Area, North Vancouver. Prepared for the Port of Vancouver.
Tera Planning Ltd. (July 1991). Environmental Assessment of the McCartney Woods Neighbourhood, North Vancouver.
Zogaris, Stamatis: Western Canada Wilderness Committee and Vancouver Natural History Society. Maplewood Flats Upland and Basin: Wildlife Habitat Significance.