Stanley Park’s Beaver Lake is in danger of disappearing because of sedimentation caused by introduced water lilies, warns a new report on the ecological health of Vancouver’s prized park.

The lake, which the report identifies as the park’s healthiest natural system, has shrunk almost in half to 3.9 hectares in 1997, down from 6.7 hectares in 1938.

“We spend a lot of time looking after the trees and roadways,” said Parks Comm. Loretta Woodcock.

“It’s time we started looking at the aquatic life in Stanley Park, starting with Beaver Lake.”
The report was written by the Stanley Park Ecological Society and will be presented to the city’s parks board tonight.

It awarded the park a grade of “fair” for environmental indicators like air quality and native biodiversity, but awarded it a “poor” for aquatic health due to stressors like invasive species, pollution and unnatural water regimes.

Other stressors in the park include off-trail bicycle use, illegal camping (between 12 to 200 people live in the park at any time) and off-leash dogs.

Another concern, Woodcock noted, is the apparent loss of the western painted turtle from Stanley Park, where it was observed in the 1970s.

Woodcock said she’d like to see the turtle, an endangered species in Coastal B.C., repatriated to the park.