Category:

Protecting Water Quality and Ecology

PORTAGE INLET CUTTHROAT INITIATIVE IN BRITISH COLUMBIA’S CAPITAL REGION: “PICI is a logical continuation of the stewardship approach our fishing club has taken since 2014 in volunteering to improve water quality and recreational opportunities through the Elk/Beaver Lake Initiative located in the headwaters of the Colquitz River,” explained Mick Collins, Victoria Golden Rods and Reels Fishing Club


“With PICI we expanded the geographical scope to two entire watersheds in a three- step systematic process. First, raise seed money through an alliance of like- minded angling groups. Secondly, create a ‘consortium’ of non-profit, corporate and small business organizations to plan a comprehensive science- based program and secure grants. Thirdly, work with all levels of government towards a clear goal. In this case habitat protection and restoration for an iconic, but often neglected, species of concern, native Coastal Cutthroat Trout,” stated Mick Collins.

Read Article

REPORT CARD ON THE HEALTH OF AUSTRALIA’S ENVIRONMENT: “Last year was neither an outlier nor the ‘new normal’ – it will get worse,” says Albert Van Dijk, Professor of Water and Landscape Dynamics, Australian National University


“From the long list of environmental indicators we report on, we use seven to calculate an Environmental Condition Score (ECS) for each region, as well as nationally. These seven indicators – high temperatures, river flows, wetlands, soil health, vegetation condition, growth conditions and tree cover – are chosen because they allow a comparison against previous years. In Australia’s dry environment, they tend to move up and down together, which gives the score more robustness,” stated Albert Van Dijk.

Read Article

WILL LIGHTNING STRIKE TWICE? — “The International Year of the Salmon program has the potential to be a game-changer. It is not just about the fish; it is about humankind creating sustainable landscapes for people and salmon,” say Kim Hyatt and Peter Tschaplinski, the federal-provincial science duo who will inform, educate and engage participants in the finale module at the Comox Valley 2020 Symposium


In British Columbia, the iconic salmon is the canary in the coal mine. The multi-year program that is the International Year of the Salmon could be a ‘carpe diem moment’ (i.e. seize the day) for communities. “Significant initiatives and projects directly relevant to sustaining and enhancing wild salmon and their freshwater habitats are under way such as the federal-provincial BC Salmon Innovation and Restoration Fund. The Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy together with other provincial natural resource ministries are key players,” states Peter Tschaplinski.

Read Article

DOES WATER FLUORIDATION REALLY DAMAGE THE IQ OF CHILDREN? — “Fluoridation continues to be an extremely cost-effective public health measure. It can help to reduce socio-economic inequalities,” stated Professor Catherine Carstairs (November 2019)


“A recent study showed that community water fluoridation was associated with lower IQ scores in young children. Opponents of water fluoridation jumped on the study, claiming that it confirms the dangers of fluoride on the developing brain,” wrote Catherine Carstairs. “Since then, a number of critics have pointed out that the differences in IQ scores were small and that there were some methodological problems with the research.”

Read Article

MITIGATING A CATASTROPHIC ROCKSLIDE ON THE SEYMOUR RIVER, NORTH VANCOUVER: “We have been working on this for four years so, for the community, this is just great news. It’s fabulous news. I’m handing out cigars like a new father,” said Shaun Hollingsworth, president of the Seymour Salmonid Society, which has led the rescue effort (Dec 2015 through 2019)


“Big thanks are owed to the six governments – local, provincial, and federal as well as Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Nations – in addition to a host of NGOs, who have worked on the project,” stated Shaun Hollingsworth. “It’s thrilling. It’s unbelievable. It’s just a great feeling and I just want those who have been part of it to be proud of what they’ve done. When I go and sit at the rock slide, I believe that it’s fish passable, and Mother Nature is proving my gut feel correct.”

Read Article

RESTORATION OF ARIZONA’S SANTA CRUZ WATERSHED: “We should rejoice alongside the Tohono O’Odham Nation and work with it to restore flow to our rivers and quicken our pace towards a more resilient future,” wrote Lisa Shipek, Executive Director of the Tuscon-based Watershed Management Group non-profit organization


“Our rivers are being reborn after a century of decline. This is a defining moment for all the communities that live in our Santa Cruz Watershed. It’s not just the Santa Cruz that is being reborn. I have good news to share from other parts of our watershed. The nonprofit I direct, Watershed Management Group, has been monitoring creek flows across the Tucson basin since 2017,” stated Lisa Shipek. “Having flow in the Santa Cruz River downtown provides a daily visual of what a desert river looks like, which will help open the hearts and minds of the greater community to what is possible.”

Read Article

THE FUTURE IS HERE, NOW: ‘Elders in Action’ trigger rethink of sewage treatment strategy for the replacement Lions Gate facility serving Metro Vancouver’s North Shore sub-region (Asset Management BC Newsletter, Fall 2019)


The decision to build a treatment plant has life-cycle implications that are multi-generational in terms of environmental outcomes – for example, the existing Lions Gate facility has been in service for 58 years. Drawing on their unique combination of expertise, these elders focussed political attention on the need to be visionary and dare to be bold in going beyond what is currently minimum standard of practice. “By making presentations to community groups and business leaders, we have experienced how public and political sentiments can be shifted,” stated Glen Parker.

Read Article

REPORT ON PROTECTION OF DRINKING WATER: British Columbians are not adequately being informed of the ongoing risks associated with the province’s drinking water, according to Carol Bellringer, B.C.’s auditor general (July 2019)


Report tells a classic story of how a government initiative, launched with the best of intentions, lost momentum over the years as the sense of urgency faded and other priorities took over. “We undertook this audit because of the considerable importance of safe drinking water and because the risks to drinking water are increasing. Thankfully, B.C. has not had a known outbreak of water-borne illness since 2004, but just a single event that contaminates a drinking water system can cause serious health impacts for numerous people,” Carol Bellringer said.

Read Article

SHELLY CREEK ON VANCOUVER ISLAND: “This is a story about how a local group of streamkeepers has morphed from a focus on salmon and trout habitat restoration, to advocates for ecosystem monitoring of watershed functions… the Whole System Approach,” stated Peter Law, President of the Mid Vancouver Island Habitat Enhancement Society, in a session on ‘Watershed Health and You’ at the Parksville 2019 Symposium (watch on YouTube)


“Since 2010, Our volunteers have embraced the idea of monitoring aquatic ecosystems and habitats in our watershed, often times partnering with agencies, local governments or private landowners to identify the status of certain indicators. We called the program ‘Watershed Health and You’,” stated Peter Law. “We are engaging our neighbours who live in the watershed, to discuss how the community can help restore Shelly Creek. The legacy of Faye Smith, and her mantra of engaging the community continues.”

Read Article

INTERNATIONAL YEAR OF THE SALMON: “I like to say to people that after 100 years of research, we know a lot about salmon, but what we need to know most, we mostly don’t know,” stated Dr. Richard Beamish, Scientist Emeritus with the Pacific Biological Research Station in Nanaimo


In 2012, Dick Beamish proposed the International Year of the Salmon to promote research on how ocean conditions are contributing to changes. IYS has now grown into an effort to ensure the “resilience of both salmon and people” in a changing climate. In embarking on this journey, British Columbians can learn from historical precedents and parallels. In particular, the “salmon crisis” in the 1990s was a game-changer in the way it was the catalyst for green infrastructure practices. A generation later, will lightning strike twice and will the iconic salmon again be the regulatory driver that spurs communities to raise the bar to “improve where we live”?

Read Article