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Wildlife & Habitats

great blue heron in flight

Surrey is home to diverse wildlife habitats that are often influenced by urban, suburban and rural development. The interactions between people and their natural environment raise many issues and concerns from residents and presents challenges for Surrey’s wildlife.

Surrey contains many environmentally sensitive areas that are home to species at risk, including various species of frogs, toads, owls, birds, shrews, turtles and many more. Environmentally sensitive areas can include a variety of different features, such as ravines, watercourses, wetlands, treed slopes, bird nesting grounds, and waterfront areas.

In Surrey and other places in the south coast of Canada, species at risk are aided by groups like the South Coast Conversation Program, which facilitates the protection and restoration of species and ecosystems at risk on BC’s South Coast.

Learn more on Surrey's approach to protecting wildlife and their habitats by reviewing our Biodiversity Conservation Strategy.

Fish

Surrey has approximately 1,400 kilometres of urban watercourses that provide spawning and rearing habitats for 5 species of salmon and trout, and a variety of other wildlife and freshwater fish populations local to British Columbia. Take a look at the watercourse classification map to find out where and when you can spot salmon in Surrey.

Surrey also offers a few great spots for recreational fishing and hosts educational programs for those who are new to the sport.

Birds

Surrey has more than 200 species of birds that can be found in urban parks, greenspaces or even your backyard. Birds use Surrey's habitat for food, roosting and raising their young. All bird nests are protected while they are actively used.

The bird nesting season is generally from March 15 to August 15. Some raptors, including eagles, nest as early as February 1. The nests of eagle, peregrine falcon, gyrfalcon, osprey, heron and burrowing owl are further afforded year-round protection under section 34 (b) of the Provincial Wildlife Act.

The Province has published Best Management Practices that outline strategies to minimize habitat and noise disturbances caused by land development and construction.

Building near bird habitats

If your development or building application is within 300 metres of a species protected under Section 34(b) of the Wildlife Act, you might require a nest management plan. Contact the City of Surrey Engineering, Environment section at environment@surrey.ca or 604-591-4146 for more information.

Beavers

Beavers are prevalent in Surrey. Beaver dams create wetlands and ponds which are habitat for fish, water birds, amphibians and a host of other plants and animals. Unfortunately, the beaver’s need to dam water can cause extensive flooding and can damage crops, property and grazing lands.

On public lands where beaver activity poses no threat to the public or property, the City of Surrey has a policy of no interference and beaver activity will be tolerated. There is a temporary prohibition on killing beavers in Surrey.

Private property owners are responsible for the primary control of beavers on their property, including agricultural waterways. On private property where there is no threat to public or property, we recommend that owners not remove the beaver, dam or lodge. The City can provide consultation services on how to protect (or "beaver proof") your property, but assumes no liability for implementation.

Beaver Trapping

Trapping of live animals will only be performed when the animal does not disperse or when significant property damage is occurring, and other exclusion methods are not feasible. Relocation will be considered only if an appropriate receiving area can be identified and confirmed by a qualified professional wildlife biologist and Ministry of Environment accepts the relocation plan.

Dam removal should only be done after obtaining appropriate approvals and permits from the Ministry of Environment and/or Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

Dealing with Additional Nuisance Wildlife

In some cases, animals displaced from their natural environment can be seen as a nuisance, or even identified as pests, because they interfere with human environments in a negative way.

The Fraser Health Authority and the BC Government offers sound advice when considering management techniques for commonly identified nuisance animals, such as raccoons or coyotes.

Surrey also has a mosquito program in place, and numerous other tips for handling insect pests and rodents.

For more information about wildlife in Surrey, contact Surrey's Environment team at environment@surrey.ca.