There are 40 artificial intertidal reefs in Porpoise Harbour with a five-year survey period. (Port of Prince Rupert photo)

CN upcycles old rail ties into artificial reefs

A pilot project to enhance B.C. coastal marine life is being launched in Prince Rupert

CN Rail is exploring the possibility of using old concrete rail ties to enhance marine life on the B.C. coast, and it’s launching the initiative in Prince Rupert.

To demonstrate the artificial reef pilot project, three of the reefs are on public display at the Lightering Dock.

“It’s a study to see how these reefs are going to interact with the local environment and potentially create more fish habitat and kelp colonization,” said Meagan Leicht, a consultant with Keystone Environmental Ltd., the company working on the project.

Mid-November, when there’s less of a risk of disrupting the fish, 22 of these concrete structures will be lowered into the harbour between Westview Pellet Terminal and Ocean Dock.

The complex reef-like structures will allow fish to hide in the crevices and voids. The larger square reef will be more shallow, and will act as a refuge habitat for juvenile fish.

“There will be satellite reefs around the main reefs so we can see if fish are going to migrate from the big reef to the little reef,” Leicht said.

WATCH MORE: Live data under the sea

A gravel blanket will be placed under the main structures to prevent scouring.

Once a year, in the high productivity months of July and August, a team will go diving to conduct a video analysis to see what species are growing, and what types of fish are in the area.

CN Rail’s initiative may also benefit coastal ecology students at Coast Mountain College.

“This will provide some opportunities for local experiential education for students. We’re exploring how students can be involved with the monitoring in species identification,” said Ken Shaw, the coordinator with the applied coastal ecology program at Coast Mountain College.

The concept isn’t entirely new. The Port of Prince Rupert and CN Rail have a series of artificial reefs along Kaien Island as a compensation requirement for industrial development in the area. There are 13 subtidal artificial reefs placed along Kaien Island in connection to the expansion of Fairview Terminal.

There are 40 artificial intertidal reefs in Porpoise Harbour with a five-year survey period. Currently, those reefs are in year four of the monitoring project. These reefs have since created an abundance of sea life and a forest of kelp.

If the CN Rail reef pilot project is as successful, a company spokesperson said this would open up a new avenue for recycling old concrete rail ties, which are used in locations across B.C.

READ MORE: CN Rail to invest $340M in B.C. in 2018

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

UPDATE: 47-year-old man arrested after nine hour police standoff

Prince Rupert RCMP used specialized tactics to apprehend the man wanted for assault with a weapon

PHOTO GALLERY: Malicous Monster Truck Tour

Monster trucks caught in action in Terrace, B.C.

Equality and more jobs in coal terminal’s future

Ridley Terminals Inc. shipments out of Prince Rupert increased by 90 per cent in 2017

Squatters’ campfire leads to emergency response

Prince Rupert fire crews responded to smoke near Roosevelt Elementary School on July 17

CMTN First Nations Fine Arts program offers new advanced diploma

The 10-month program will focus on enhancing jewellery, sculpture and marketing skills

Community garden in Prince Rupert takes shape

Transition Prince Rupert lays foundation for shared edible garden on Overlook

Newspaper carriers wanted!

Contact The Northern View today to find out how you can become a part of our team

Wildfires erupt in B.C. Okanagan forcing evacuation orders and a highway closure

Check out a list of up-to-date information on blazes happening within the Kamloops Wildfire Centre.

‘Amazing Race Canada’ competitors face B.C. challenge

They drove Corvettes, mastered falconry basics, and ate blueberry pie in the Cowichan Valley

Grizzly bear jumps in river, chases B.C. kayaker

The bear got a bit too close for comfort along the Elaho River near Squamish

Evacuation alert issued due to Dog Creek Trail Wildfire

An evacuation alert has been issued by the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako… Continue reading

Parks Canada looks to shine light on cloudy future for historic sites

A plan is in place to produce 10-year plans designed to turn around sagging attendance figures

B.C. poet shines a bright light on struggle with homelessness

Book launch for John La Greca’s Homeless Memorial is at Vernon’s Gallery Vertigo July 21.

Ontario police say attack on Muslim man was motivated by hate

Two men, aged 27 and 19, have been charged with assault in the incident

Most Read