The Red Herring Impetus


Sam McFaul

ARCH 549
LARC 598

Pacific Herring stocks off the West Coast of the United States and Canada are collapsing. This project uses the herring spawn and its revitalization as a model for researching and illustrating how landscape architects can engage with drastic reductions in ecosystem biodiversity. It does this through three strategies. The first is by focusing on a systemic design approach whereby three points of engagement were used to address the range of the species at its full extent. These points are located in urban, rural, and remote sites. The second is to utilize drawings as more than depictions of landscape changes, instead turning them into actionable illustrations for change, which range from drawings as legal documents in consultation processes to drawings as living cultural representations which facilitate community engagement. The third is to assemble a series of specific tangible actions to express change to revitalize habitat decline. These three strategies run their course through this body of research and serve as the basis by which a design strategy emerged. The Impetus responds to three infrastructures that exemplify the risks put on herring: spread of disease from fish farming in Nootka Sound, risk of spill from the Trans Mountain Pipeline and tankers, and loss of spawning habitat on Flora Banks from shoreline development. The project proposes three interventions which alter the policies by which these infrastructures manifest themselves. The first is a multitrophic fish farm redesign that acts as a negotiation tool within the duty to consult and accommodate process that all British Columbian fish farm tenures will undergo in 2022. The second is a method for growing kelp forests in Burrard Inlet which can alter the Trans Mountain Pipeline renegotiation process. The third is a hatchery and field station that can express use and utilization of Flora Banks by Indigenous groups, aiding in their land-claim and goal to protect the banks from future development.