Atkins, R.J.; Tidd, M., and Ruffo, G., 2016. Sturgeon Bank, Fraser River Delta, BC, Canada: 150 Years of Human Influence on Salt Marsh Sedimentation. In: Vila-Concejo, A.; Bruce, E.; Kennedy, D.M., and McCarroll, R.J. (eds.), Proceedings of the 14th International Coastal Symposium (Sydney, Australia). Journal of Coastal Research, Special Issue, No. 75, pp. 790–794. Coconut Creek (Florida), ISSN 0749-0208.
The Fraser River Delta in south western British Columbia, Canada, is a relatively recent geologic feature being only approximately 10,000 years old. The delta environment, and the intertidal banks, are the cumulative effect of flood and sediment discharges over the post-glacial interval. The salt marsh of Sturgeon Bank, on the northwest side of the delta, has been identified as under threat from erosion. The occurrence, cause and extent of erosion have been a subject of speculation, investigation and conclusion for several decades; however, dissenting opinions on the persistence of erosion over the last fifty years are numerous. To explore potential causes of the erosion further, publically available historical datasets of natural phenomena were re-examined relative to records of human activities to enable development of a conceptual model. Historical datasets of natural phenomena included sedimentary geology, post-glacial history, bathymetry, flood discharge records, sediment discharge/basin sediment yield, sediment grain size data, wind-waves, and tides. Human activity, stretching back to the late 1800's, included navigation dredging, aggregate resource dredging, river training, river diversion, flood protection dyking, land-use changes, and ongoing habitat management activities. From this review, a conceptual model of physical constraints on deltaic environments was developed. The various phenomena are discussed, the integration of those phenomena as processes affecting deltaic habitat explored, and potential management strategies identified to address the sedimentary consequences of the last 150 years of human influence on the salt marshes of Sturgeon Bank.