FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE -- Share a story, save a waterbody at Our Coastal Connection exhibit

Vancouver, BC – May 30th, 2016 - Fraser Riverkeeper joins over 20 local organizations dedicated to a swimmable, drinkable and fishable future at the opening day of Our Coastal Connection – a new exhibit at the Britannia Shipyards National Historic Site.


The exhibit officially opens on June 3rd and is part of Richmond Canada 150, a year-long series of events and programs celebrating Canada’s 150th anniversary. 


“In the face of 8 million metric tons of plastic waste entering our global oceans each year, many local individuals have taken initiative to protect our waterways and remarkable goals have been achieved,” said Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie. “The new exhibit will be a fascinating and inspiring way to help us all remember why we love our waters and what we can do to keep our rivers and oceans clean and safe for everyone to enjoy.”


We’ll be asking the public to share their Watermark – a personal and powerful story about their experiences on BC’s rivers, lakes and coast.


Sweeping changes to the Navigable Waters Protection Act – now known as the Navigation Protection Act – in 2009 and 2012 resulted in the loss of our inherent right to freely explore, paddle and otherwise navigate on 99% of Canada’s 2.5-million waterbodies.


No protection means there’s no requirement for public consultation and input on projects that obstruct passage, such as dams. 


The Watermark Project is a community effort to collect and archive true stories about the ways that Canadians interact with water. When you contribute a Watermark, you register the waterbody in a national database of important waters; document the value of that waterbody to you and your community; help researchers identify waters where people swim, drink or fish, so that those uses can be protected in the future; and provide evidence that ensures environmental laws can be used to safeguard your waters. 


“When people know where their drinking water comes from, how their waste water is treated and the steps that they can take in everyday life to protect their local waterbodies, we’ll see significant improvements in water protection,” said Charly Caproff, Water Literacy Coordinator for Fraser Riverkeeper. “That journey begins with a Watermark.”


In partnership with Lake Ontario Waterkeeper and local organizations, groups and individuals, Fraser Riverkeeper plans to make waves in how water is protected in BC and across the nation.


So, what’s your Watermark?


Join us at the exhibit opening on June 3rd, 2017 from 11AM – 4PM at Britannia Shipyards National Historic Site, located at 5180 Westwater Drive in Richmond, BC.


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For media inquiries, please contact:    

Charly Caproff

Water Literacy Coordinator, Fraser Riverkeeper 

Ph: 604-674-7444




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#WatermarkWednesday - Brittany Coulter

DSC07250.jpg#WatermarkWednesday - Brittany Coulter

Growing up on the West coast of British Columbia I could divide most of my friends into two groups. Those who flock to the sea, who live and love her temperamental ways, with hair forever kissed by a salty breeze. And then there are those who find their solace in the mountains. Who understand time not by the numbers on their wristwatch but by the way the sun diffuses through the deep green canopy above and by the subtle changes in a songbirds tune. Now this is not to say we are solely creatures of mountain or sea, I actually believe quite the opposite is true. 

Above all there is a force that cements an eternal connection between these places we cherish. This force is water. It is the lifeblood of our irreplaceable rainforest. It timelessly cycles from the highest glaciers through mossy forests, lush riparian zones, and meandering streams, to eventually ebb and flow along with the beat of the moon. 

I was raised in the Lynn Creek watershed, an ecosystem along the Northern most fringe of Vancouver. Since time immemorial various Coast Salish bands such as Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh have occupied and managed these lands. In more recent history it was identified as a logging jackpot and all accessible timber was removed, evidently along with much of the regions biodiversity. Thankfully a few 800+ year old Western red cedars (Thuja plicata) still remain hidden in her canopy. It was in search of one of these giants that I recall my watermark moment. 

I was sitting atop the crest of Lynn Peak in early September 2011, taking a well-deserved break after a full day of tramping around the bush. Not paying much attention I knocked over my water bottle spilling the contents all over the exposed granite beneath my feet. Besides suddenly feeling extremely thirsty, as one always does as soon as they realize they do not have any more water, I noticed the spill had diverged into two separate paths; one flowed down the West side of the mountain towards the Seymour River and the other down the East side towards Lynn Creek. The water in each path will flow towards the ocean through two completely different watersheds. This seemingly insignificant accident resulted in an, admittedly small, change in the overall system. It was this reflection that no matter how small our actions may be, everything we do has consequences and it enforces the fact that one person can make a difference. We already do it everyday, but the hard part is deciding what to do next.

We would love to share your Watermark with the world; submit your story here today!

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - Community’s coastal connections to be celebrated in new Britannia Shipyards exhibit

For Immediate Release

Community’s coastal connections to be celebrated in new Britannia Shipyards exhibit


Richmond, BC –  Richmond’s ties to  local and global waterways and community efforts to keep our rivers and oceans healthy for future generations will be showcased in a new exhibit at Britannia Shipyards National Historic Site. Our Coastal Connection will officially open on June 3 and is part of Richmond Canada 150, a year-long series of events and programs celebrating the 150th anniversary of Canadian confederation.

Over 20  local groups will be profiled within the exhibit, all of which have dedicated remarkable efforts in areas of water conservation, education, awareness, recycling and entrepreneurship.

“In the face of 8 million metric tons of plastic waste entering our global oceans each year, many local individuals have taken initiative to protect our waterways and remarkable goals have been achieved,” said Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie. The new exhibit will be a fascinating and inspiring way to help us all remember why we love our waters and what we can do to keep our rivers and oceans clean and safe for everyone to enjoy.”

An open house to launch the exhibit will be held on Saturday, June 3 from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Visitors will have the opportunity to meet local groups that will help them capture their unique water story, challenge them to be water champions, show them what’s lurking in the depths under the waves, and give them a sneak preview of cool new technologies soon to be released.

Visitors will be encouraged to leave their “Watermark” - a fun activity facilitated by Fraser Riverkeeper, an organization that works to ensure all citizens can safely swim, drink, and fish in British Columbia waters. The Watermark Project is a national effort to collect true stories about the ways people interact with water. These stories help us all recognize our dependence on water and highlight water's influence on our culture. By saving and studying these stories, we help protect the waters we love. Fraser Riverkeeper will be gathering Watermarks on site with ipads and microphones for the national archive and website.

Our Coastal Connection showcases water stewardship and educational initiatives that began with the efforts of local individuals. The exhibit will inspire visitors to remember that one person can make a difference, and that every effort at home and in the community can have far reaching impacts.

The exhibits in the Seine Net Loft building at the Britannia Shipyards National Historic Site showcase themes of innovation and human ingenuity on the waterfront. Our Coastal Connection will be available to the public from June 3, 2017 until May 1, 2018.

For more information about the exhibit, visit or contact or 604-238-8050. Britannia Shipyards National Historic Site is located at 5180 Westwater Drive in Richmond.

Richmond Canada 150 is designed to ignite the passions of local residents in a multi-faceted, year-long celebration, honouring the community’w distinct and vibrant cultural diversity, and leaving lasting legacies that foster civic pride and carry the spirit of 150 into the future. For more information vist

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Media Contact:

Ted Townsend

Director, Corporate Communications and Marketing

Tel: 604-276-4399 Cell: 604-516-9585


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Water Blog #3: Voting for Water

voting-SalmonCoast.pngWATER BLOG #3:

Salmon Coast Field Station did double duty on May 9th as both scientific research station and polling station for the BC provincial election.

Salmon Coast is located in the North Island riding, and the station had only 30 registered voters. This section of the North Island riding is on the forefront of many major election issues, such as environmental regulation and industries like logging, aquaculture and wild fisheries. The effects of governmental policies are concentrated in this area, which carries little electorate power in comparison to major urban centers like Vancouver, Victoria and Kelowna.

The polling station hosted community members from Echo Bay, Nimmo Bay and the surrounding area to vote in the North Island riding and absentee voters from across BC.

Several station-users had the opportunity to vote, including first time BC voter, Dylan Smyth (pictured above). Dylan is originally from Edmonton, and has moved to BC to work in ecology. He cast his vote at SCFS as an absentee voter for his home riding of Vancouver-Mount Pleasant. Dylan voted with consideration for issues of natural resource usage, habitat conservation and water protection measures.

The election was an opportunity to engage in community conversation about the issues that are of importance to this area, and to consider at SCFS how our roles as researchers can play a part in governance. From my point of view as a humanities student, I am conscious of the political nature of my writing and focus on certain issues, but my goal is to create policy change through my work. In contrast, my scientific counterparts at the station have taught me about the necessity for their work to be objective, in order to strengthen their papers and be respected by their professional community. For example, lobbying or aggressive advocacy may be perceived by peers to introduce bias into one’s research. A major concern is that science as a discipline is respected by a government. Many cited the treatment scientists received under the Conservative government as an example of this issue, such as suppression of research results and dramatic cuts in funding. Similarly, the March for Science in Washington in April 2017 intended to amplify the role of science as a whole in policy-making decisions.

We await the final results from BC election, which should be announced mid-week. 


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Let’s talk sewage and storm-water

IMG_3744v1.jpgWATER BLOG #2:

We’ve all seen illustrations of the water cycle – rain flows downwards, reaching the ocean through streams and rivers to only be evaporated into the atmosphere once again.

But where does water really go as it flows through our communities on its way to the sea?

In Vancouver, water takes a sinuous journey through a network of underground pipes before being released into the Fraser Estuary and flowing into the Pacific Ocean. These networks are known as combined sewers, because they connect storm water systems to sewage infrastructure. More on why this is gross later.

Pavement and other impervious surfaces prevent rainwater from percolating through the earth, replenishing our groundwater supply. Rather, the water is diverted into storm drains, often painted or marked with a salmon symbol. This water is then carried into the nearest waterway – home to species such as salmon and trout. The surface run-off may pick up fertilizers, heavy metals, cigarette butts, gas, road salt and other pollutants before entering our urban streams.

These deleterious substances – if in high enough concentrations – can lead to fish kills and degrade aquatic ecosystems.

Now here’s when the trip becomes particularly disgusting. With exception to Vancouver, Richmond, New Westminster and some parts of Burnaby, most Metro Vancouver municipalities have separated their storm drain and sewage systems. Without separation, the sheer volumes of excrement flushed down our toilets would bypass waste water treatment plants, overflowing into the nearest receiving waterbody during wet weather.

Vancouver’s sewage systems are around a century old, erected before the city was the bustling metropolis that now stands on the edge of the Pacific and at the foot of the Coastal Mountain Range.

Everytime there’s heavy rainfall in Vancouver, there’s an overflow.

As our climate changes, it is predicted that the frequency and volume of these discharges will increase.

The CBC discovered that between January 1st 2015 - December 31st 2015, 15,244,736,000 litres and 1,662,384,000 litres of untreated waste water were discharged via combined sewer outfalls (CSOs) into the Burrard Inlet and Fraser River, respectively.

Currently, Metro Vancouver only divulges the volume and frequency of these discharges in an annual report. The 2016 report will become publicly available in the third quarter of 2017. This means that the public is not regularly informed when untreated waste water has been discharged into Vancouver’s waters – frequented by open water swimmers, paddle-boarders, kayakers, dragon-boat racers and sailors.


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Water Blog #1: What's the community impact of aquaculture? Griffin Kelly investigates.

GriffinBlog.pngWATER BLOG #1:

Join guest-blogger Griffin Kelly as she researches the influence of aquaculture on community in the Broughton Archipelago, BC.

My name is Griffin Kelly; I am an undergraduate student at the University of Toronto. In 2013, I spent a summer interning at Lake Ontario Waterkeeper (LOW). At LOW, I was able to connect my love for canoeing and swimming in Ontario’s lakes to an understanding of the water protection measures that enable my favorite activities. From that point onward, I have been passionate about environmental policy and conservation initiatives that protect Canada’s water and other natural resources. As a Canadian Studies and Peace, Conflict and Justice Studies student, I explore these topics within my programs and independent study courses.


In 2016, I had the opportunity to spend the summer completing a research project at the Salmon Coast Field Station (SCFS), with UofT’s Ecology and Evolutionary Biology department. I am currently spending my second season at Salmon Coast, in the Broughton Archipelago, located in the unceded territories of the Musgamagw Dzawada’enuxw First Nations. Salmon Coast hosts academic researchers and community members who work on issues concerning wild salmon, marine mammals and changing habitats. Salmon Coast has allowed me to engage with scientific research that I typically do not have access to as a humanities student. It has cemented my interest in bridging the gap between ecological research and Canadian environmental policy through advocacy and community outreach. Salmon are a crucial species on the British Columbia coast – they act as a food source for a variety of animals and people, and as a source of nutrients for the coastal forests. To put salmon at risk is to threaten many vibrant communities and ecosystems.

The Broughton has been home to logging, the wild salmon fishery, and in the last several decades it has become a concentrated site for aquaculture, with several multi-national corporations utilizing this area for open-net Atlantic salmon farms. A major research focus of Salmon Coast is sea lice. Sea lice are a naturally occurring ectoparasite that feed on salmon. Salmon farms provide a good habitat for sea lice populations to grow, due to the high host density on farms and lack of natural regulatory processes that remove infected fish (Frazer 2009). In addition, farms contribute to salmon habitat degradation from farm runoff of pesticides, pharmaceuticals and sewage (Schreiber 2006). Farms treat their fish with a pesticide called “SLICE,” the industry name for emamectin benzoate, a chemical that is toxic to sea lice. The use of SLICE is a major concern for the ecosystem, as SLICE is also toxic to clams and other shellfish, which are a crucial part of regional First Nations traditional gathering practices. In addition, lice on farms in Atlantic Canada, Norway, and Chile have developed resistance to the chemical, making it difficult to control lice populations (Lees et al. 2008). My project last summer focused on DFO SLICE policy, and I conducted an experiment to monitor the efficacy of SLICE, on lice gathered from wild salmon. My test and previous SCFS studies have not found any change in SLICE efficacy. 

My research goal this summer is to investigate the community impact of aquaculture on this territory. Last summer, through policy and literature review, I had the opportunity to engage with the debate between academic and DFO researchers on the effect of fish farms on the ecosystem. This year, my interest is focused on the people who live and work within the community. My interest comes from my academic background in human security and systems of care, in addition to environmental policy.  I plan on conducting interviews with community members in order to investigate the effects of salmon farms on daily life in the Broughton. I am interested in individuals’ perspectives on the changes they have witnessed as aquaculture has entered this territory.


References Cited:

    1. Frazer, L. Neil. "Sea-Cage Aquaculture, Sea Lice, and Declines of Wild Fish." Conservation Biology 23.3 (2009): 599-607. Web.
    2. Lees F., Baillie, M., Gettinby, G., Revie, C.W. 2008b. Factors associated with changing efficacy of emamectin benzoate against infestations of Lepeophtheirus salmonis on Scottish salmon farms. Journal of Fish Diseases 31:947-951.
    3. Schreiber, Dorothee, and Dianne Newell. "Negotiating TEK in BC Salmon Farming: Learning from Each Other or Managing Tradition and Eliminating Contention?." BC Studies: The British Columbian Quarterly 150 (2006): 1-17.


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Job Posting: Swimmable Water Specialist


Fraser Riverkeeper (FRK) is a non-profit registered charity, and a proud member of Canada’s Swim Drink Fish community.

Based in Vancouver, FRK was first incorporated in 2004 and officially launched in 2007 by Executive Director Lauren Hornor with the leadership of environmental advocate and legendary trail-blazing prosecutor, the late Doug Chapman. Our programs bring together law, science, digital media, and culture to empower residents of the Fraser River watershed and coastal B.C. We provide tools for water literacy and leadership, enabling local citizens to restore polluted places, protect human health, and promote swimmable, fishable, drinkable water.


As Swimmable Water Specialist you will support Fraser Riverkeeper's recreational water protection programs and build connections with people, groups, and businesses who use and love BC’s Waterways. You will assist with launching a local water quality testing program and disseminate vital information about recreational water quality to Vancouver-area communities. Additionally, you will be responsible for keeping our Swim Guide app and website up to date with current water quality as well as sampling and testing as necessary. And, finally, you will represent Fraser Riverkeeper at water-related events throughout Metro Vancouver and across the watershed, collecting water stories from community members as part of the Watermark Project.

Our work is focused in Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley, so extra emphasis will be placed on activities that strengthen the region's community of recreational water users and promote our recreational waters locally.

This is a four month, full time position beginning in mid-May. Please apply ASAP.


Primary Responsibilities

  • Collect water samples for analysis in the field;
  • Prepare test solutions and process water samples;

  • Calibrate and maintain testing equipment;

  • Analyze and interpret results, producing monthly reports to be presented to a non-scientific audience;
  • Connect and share water quality information with stakeholders impacted by recreational water quality across BC.
  • Engage citizens, organizations, and businesses in issues related to recreational water quality;
  • Delight booth and table attendees at events from mid-June to September (evenings and weekends required) with information about the Fraser River and its watershed;
  • Act as an in-person ambassador for Fraser Riverkeeper, Swim Guide, and the Watermark Project;
  • Provide on-site and from the field pictures and videos for our social media profiles;
  • Update Swim Guide in the morning, seven days a week, to provide thousands of people with up-to-date beach water quality information in BC;
  • Collect personal water stories, or "Watermarks" from community members across Metro Vancouver and the Fraser River watershed.

You are an ideal candidate for this position if:

  • You are a current student or recent graduate of one of the following post-secondary programs (or equivalent): Environmental Science, Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, Natural Resource Management, Environmental Studies, Marine Sciences and Pure and Applied Sciences.
  • You have experience testing and monitoring fresh and marine waterbodies, making certain water is safe for recreational and drinking purposes.
  • You are well-versed on urban water issues pertaining to sewage, storm water run-off, and the health issues related to contaminated water.
  • You would love to spend your summer talking to the community about swimmable water.
  • You have a great work ethic and are able to accomplish tasks on time and independently.
  • It’s important to you to help people understand how recreational water activities can impact their health, both positively and negatively.
  • You are articulate and outgoing.
  • You are happy and able to work evenings and weekends when required for public events.
  • You love spending time on the Fraser River and Vancouver waterfront (swimming, paddling, sailing, fishing, etc)
  • You have a working knowledge of GIS and are comfortable using Excel spreadsheets.
  • You have a proven ability to work independently with minimal supervision.
  • You have strong Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram skills.
  • You have a full, valid Class 5 licence (access to a vehicle is a bonus but not required).
  • You’re based in Metro Vancouver. 

To Apply:

Each application must include 1 copy of the following documents:

  • A cover letter that describes why you would make a great Swimmable Water Specialist (Note: This is our favourite part of the application - we look for style, personality, spelling, grammar, and your perspective on the job description.)
  • Your resumé.
  • Names and contact information for two references.


Please submit your application as soon as possible to: 

Charly Caproff

Re: Swimmable Water Specialist Position


The position is available mid-May and applications will be reviewed as they arrive.

Sorry, but we can only respond to those candidates selected for an interview.

Fraser Riverkeeper is committed to having a skilled, diversified workforce reflective of the Metro Vancouver, and to the equitable representation of women, aboriginal peoples, and members of a visible minority group.

Other Information:

This position is a 4-month contract at a salary of $2,500/month, minus taxes and liabilities, with a possibility of extension depending on available funding.

Hours: 35 hours/week. Must be available some evenings and weekends.

Start and End Date: mid May - September 31, 2017.

Location: Based in Vancouver with possible travel to other communities on the BC coast and within the Fraser River watershed.


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Earth Day: What’s in your waterways?

Vancouver Courier, Kelsey Klassen and Sarah Ripplinger - April 20, 2017

Marine experts take the pulse of the region’s most iconic bodies of water

Fraser Riverkeeper Society coordinator Charly Caproff stands near a combined sewer outfall on the Fraser River. (Photograph By DAN TOULGOET PHOTO)
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Remembering Our Founding Riverkeeper: Doug Chapman

Doug.jpgToday we celebrate the life of a true water protector, legendary prosecutor of polluters, and dear friend: Doug Chapman, our founding Riverkeeper, born April 8th, 1936.

Doug Chapman dedicated his life to protecting swimmable, drinkable, fishable water. As a young lawyer, he sailed the Great Lakes and the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans in the 1960’s and 1970’s. He also fished Pacific salmon for a living in the late 1970’s and had been part of the early environmental movement fighting nuclear power, declining fish stocks, and increased pressures from pollution.

Doug was one of Canada’s most experienced environmental prosecutors, with numerous high-profile convictions in Ontario, including the first ever jail-sentence for an environmental criminal in Canada - this groundbreaking case against George Crowe of Bata Shoes was won in 1992.

He is survived by his loving partner Carol McDonald, who has been a part of Fraser Riverkeeper from the very beginning as our Secretary/Treasurer, and was recently nominated for a YWCA Women of Distinction Award in the field of Environmental Sustainability.

His legacy lives on as people continue to restore and protect swimmable, drinkable, fishable water across Canada.

In honour of Doug on his birthday, and of Fraser Riverkeeper's upcoming 10th Anniversary, we'd like to take a moment to look back on these words, written by Fraser Riverkeeper President Mark Mattson, for our very first newsletter back in October 2007. They serve as a fitting testament to Doug's incredible life and legacy.

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"We want to preserve what we've got here": Chilliwack community out in force to clean up Fraser River shores

The Vancouver Sun, Glenda Luymes - March 19, 2017

Ross Aikenhead’s pickup truck rumbles up the river bank and stops in front of a huge garbage bin. As rain falls in sheets from a grey sky that’s almost indistinguishable from the Fraser River a few metres away, he lowers his tailgate to unload soiled carpets, broken pallets and several bags of trash.

Volunteers clean up garbage on the banks of the Fraser River in Chilliwack as part of the 10th annual Fraser River Clean Up. GLENDA LUYMES / PNG

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