Delta will showcase itself to the birding world.
The city is looking at various opportunities to support and promote events in Delta as part of the 2018 International Ornithological Congress that will be held Aug. 19 to 26 at the Vancouver Convention Centre. Occurring every four years, it’s the oldest and most prestigious of meetings for bird scientists. The Vancouver International Bird Festival is occurring concurrently with the event.
Sean McGill, Delta’s director of corporate services, said over 3,000 ornithologists are expected to attend the event and an estimated 30,000 people are anticipated to take in associated activities around the region.
McGill said it’s expected that delegates will be coming to Delta for various birding opportunities which will generate economic opportunities. City staff members are working with organizers on logistical support, including parking and that participants don’t conflict with agricultural activities.
Delta also plans to have exhibit space at the ornithological event and spend $8,000 for bird-themed street banners for the month of August.
The attempt to highlight Delta is part of the city’s recently approved Birds and Biodiversity Conservation Strategy.
The Fraser River delta is an important part of the Pacific Flyway that sees millions of migratory birds and raptors annually, which means Delta is a great place for bird watchers. Places to visit to see hundreds of species include the George C. Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary on Westham Island, dikes, particularly along Boundary Bay, as well as places like Ladner Marsh, Ladner Harbour Park, Boundary Bay Regional Park, Deas Island Regional Park and the Delta Nature Reserve at Burns Bog.
In 2012, the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands announced the designation of the new Fraser River Delta Ramsar Site, which includes Burns Bog, the Wildlife Management Areas of Sturgeon Bank, South Arm Marshes, Boundary Bay, Serpentine and the former Alaksen Ramsar site on Westham Island as a Ramsar Wetland of International Significance.
Tom Bearss, president of Delta Naturalists Society, said his group has had meetings with the city and members about their involvement and will have guided outings with some of the many hundreds who will be visiting Delta.
Against Port Expansion’s Roger Emsley said congress organizers will likely have tours of Roberts Bank and the foreshore. His group has “a number of plans” to highlight the importance of Roberts Bank and the potential environmental degradation that would occur with the proposed Terminal 2 expansion, he said.