Spanish Banks Creek

Spanish Banks Creek is located in the most western part of the City of Vancouver.
It flows north from its source, through Pacific Spirit Regional Park, under Marine Drive, and into English Bay at Spanish Banks beach.
The creek is one of only three remaining salmon-bearing streams, in the City of Vancouver, where over 30 historic salmon streams have been lost to urban development.
The creek flows into an area historically known as Spanish Banks, and it was named after that area.
The region was charted by the Spanish captains, Galiano and Valdes in 1792 and 1795. The Hudson's Bay Company called the area Spanish Banks for that reason. The name was also used by the English captain, Richards, when he surveyed the south coast of BC in 1859.
In the late 1990s, when plans were being made to restore fish habitat, an alternate name for the creek, "Spanish Bank", began to be used. This was, supposedly, to acknowledge that the shoreline banks are technically one large bank.
Both creek names are in common use today.
The creek was not accessible to salmon for more than 50 years because of urban development.
However, salmon were able to return to Spanish Banks Creek, in November 2000, thanks to a community-based project that brought citizens and government agencies together to restore fish access and fish habitat to the lower reaches.

Sections of the creek were daylighted and an old culvert was removed that prevented adult fish passage.
A natural stream was recreated, including pools and riffles, spawning gravel, and woody debris to provide cover for young fish. Banks were armored with large boulders to provide stability.
The banks were replanted with native vegetation, and the foreshore on the beach side of the trail was planted with dunegrass to stabilize the area.
The most visible part of the creek is near Spanish Banks beach where the creek now flows under a pedestrian trail, formerly a parking lot.

The creek is cared for by volunteer Spanish Bank Streamkeepers who are also responsible for ongoing community stewardship activities.
Spanish Banks Creek
Through Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) community involvement programs, the students in about 25 Vancouver schools learn about salmon by rearing chum salmon fry in classroom incubators, and releasing them into streams.
Schools in the Spanish Banks area take part.
In the early years after habitat restoration was completed, higher numbers of hatched fry were released to build the creek's population, but that's no longer necessary.
Wild coho and chum salmon have been returning to Spanish Banks Creek to spawn. The stream habitat has shown itself to be very productive.
The restored and expanded riparian habitat has also attracted other species, including river otter and mink.
Members of the Vancouver Salmon and Stream Society first identified the creek's potential for habitat restoration and gathered initial support for the project.
Other contributors included the Vancouver Parks Board, the BC provincial government's Urban Salmon Habitat Program, and Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DF0) which funded the program through their Habitat Restoration and Salmon Enhancement Program.
Spanish Bank Streamkeepers is continuing ongoing stewardship programs with local schools, and keeping the stream channel accessible to salmon.
Dick Scarth
Spanish Bank Streamkeepers
4433 West 1st Ave.
Vancouver, B.C. V6R 4H9
Sandie Hollick-Kenyon
Community Advisor Burrard Inlet, Indian Arm, Vancouver
Department of Fisheries and Oceans
100 Annacis Parkway, New Westminster, BC, V3M 6A2
Phone: 604-666-0743
Fax: 604-666-6627
Web: Fisheries and Oceans Canada - Community Advisors
September 9, 2002
July 17, 2012