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Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations

South Arm Marshes Wildlife Management Area

About This Wildlife Management Area

Date Designated: May 31, 1991

Purpose:  Management of critical habitat for waterfowl, shorebirds, raptors, songbirds and small mammals.

Size: 937 hectares

Region: South Coast

Location and Maps

On the south arm of the Fraser River, north of Ladner in the City of Richmond.

Nature and Culture

Wildlife

The WMA provides important nesting, feeding, loafing and wintering/staging habitat for waterfowl and other wetland-dependent species. This area supports the highest densities of waterbirds and shorebirds in Canada, and more waterfowl winter in this area than the rest of Canada combined; it has been estimated that as many as 1.4 million birds may use this area annually. The Boundary Bay, Sturgeon Bank and South Arm Marshes Wildlife Management Areas have been internationally designated as Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network sites. Common species include the Snow Goose, Green-winged Teal, American Wigeon, Northern Pintail, Great Blue Heron, Northern Harrier, Goldeneye, Ruddy Duck and Bald Eagle. The aquatic component of the WMA provides important habitat for many nearshore and freshwater fish species. Young Spring, Pink, Chum and Chinook utilize the tidal marsh and channels, sometimes for up to two months.

Physiography, Climate and Vegetation

This area is part of the Fraser River delta, and is made up of tidal wetlands, mudflats, drainage channels and uplands. Over 80% of the total area is undyked tidal floodplain. The intertidal areas include Woodward, Duck and Barber Islands, other unnamed islands located among these islands, Ladner Marsh and Ladner Lagoon. Upland areas include the dyked Kirkland/Rose Islands, Williamson and Gunn Islands, and the cottonwood forest at the north end of Ladner Marsh. Rare plant elements appearing in the WMA include Hendersons Checker-mallow, Rice Cutgrass, and Western St. John’s Wort.

Management Planning

Information on management direction is available from the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations regional office.

Management Partners:

The Nature Trust of BC

Ducks Unlimited Canada

Kirkland Island Waterfowl Society