Lake Temagami - A Watermark by Jesse Kitteridge

In the summer of 2005 I was 13 years old. I was about to leave home on my first canoe trip, which was also the first week I would be away from my parents. I was going on a canoe trip on Lake Temagami, and my friends and I were going to have to plan our whole trip, from the route we took across the lake, down to the really important stuff, like how many chocolate chips we could put in our gorp. We spent 4 days shaping our paddles, drying our food, and preparing meals that would keep for 8 days in our wanigans. We learned how to do a j-stroke, how to tie a tumpline, and how to read a compass and judge distance.

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The Great Bear Rainforest: A Watermark from Joe Daniels

spiritbear.jpg I moved to British Columbia back in the summer of 2010. I had spent three years in Toronto after earning my four-year degree, working for an eco-conscious retailer by day and sumo wrestling at a local dojo by night, when a sort of claustrophobia set in. I guess I'd just grown tired of the hustle and bustle of city life.

Eventually I decided to go back to school and, while researching my options, I stumbled across a listing for an Applied Coastal Ecology program offered at Northwest Community College in Prince Rupert. And so, my father and I loaded all my worldly possessions into the back of his little red truck and drove roughly five thousand kilometers cross-country; following the Trans Canada Highway and the Yellowhead Trail all the way to the North Coast of BC and the edge of the Great Bear Rainforest.

I don't think anything could have prepared me for how profoundly this experience would change my life.

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Introducing Waterkeeper's Swim Drink Fish Ambassadors!


We're so excited for the Waterkeeper Gala, happening in Toronto Thursday evening!

This year’s Gala will introduce 12 Swim Drink Fish Ambassadors from across Canada. These are individuals who have demonstrated an unparalleled commitment to creating a future where every Canadian can swim, drink, and fish. They are leaders who are promoting water literacy and watershed awareness, kick-starting education and protection programs, and building a strong “Swim Drink Fish Community.”

Fraser Riverkeeper is proud to have our executive director included among this inspiring group of water leaders! Meet your BC Swim Drink Fish Ambassador…

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Our 9th Annual River Cleanup was a HUGE Success!

IMG_1458.JPGWe're super proud to announce that on March 19th, over 450 community members came together from across the Lower Fraser Valley to tackle cleanups along a 10 km stretch of the Fraser River. Together, we removed more than 20 tonnes of illegally dumped garbage from community green-spaces and sensitive wilderness areas in the process.

This was far and away our most successful cleanup to date, nearly doubling last year's haul and marking more than 80 tons of garbage removed from the Fraser River and its surrounding backcountry! 

Illegal dumping has been an epidemic problem in the Fraser Valley, threatening the recreational areas and wildlife habitat that we all love to enjoy. Through the Fraser Valley Illegal Dumping Alliance (FVIDA), we are working year-round to improve this issue. Our work includes education through river cleanup events, reporting incentives, improved signage and general community awareness, all in the effort to help curb the trend of people dumping garbage next to our rivers.

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Join us for our 9th Annual Fraser River Cleanup on March 19th!

Fraser Riverkeeper and Woodtone are excited to host our 9th annual Fraser River Cleanup!


Illegally dumped garbage and pollution hurts our ability to access and enjoy our local recreational areas and wildlife habitat. Let's all pitch in to help clean up the green places where we love to fish, ride, relax and play!

When: Saturday March 19th from 10am - 1pm

Who: Everyone is welcome! 

Where: Cleanup HQ located at the end of Gill Rd in Chilliwack

This year's cleanup is registered with the Vancouver Aquarium's Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup! Click here to visit the cleanup page.

Please bring a pair of work gloves if you have them and a reusable mug or water bottle for free refreshments!

Safety vests, gloves (for those who need them) garbage bags and buckets will be provided to volunteers at registration. There will be a safety briefing at 10am so please arrive on time.

We will also be hosting a FREE community BBQ on site with hamburgers, hot dogs and a veggie option for all volunteers.

Remember to bring the whole family as we will have the Vancouver Aquarium's AquaZone and Superheroes of Victoria onsite to provide fun and educational programming for volunteers of all ages!

BIG THANK YOU to our sponsors and supporters: Woodtone, First Class-Alpine Valley Disposal, Timbro Contracting, BioCentralthe City of Chilliwack, the Chilliwack Water Store, Starbucks, Chilliwack IGA, Restaurant 62The Fraser Valley Salmon Society, The Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC, Great River Fishing AdventuresDouble D's Custom TrucksThe Vancouver Aquarium, and Superheroes of Victoria

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Introducing the Newest Member of FRK

Tina_Watermark_Blog_3.jpgHello and welcome! The New Year has brought plenty of change and excitement for us here at Fraser Riverkeeper. First off, we bid farewell to our well-loved Program and Operations Manager Rachel Schoeler. Second, yours truly started as Rachel’s replacement (with very big shoes to fill indeed!).

For my very first blog post, I thought it fitting to tell you a little about me— and what better way to do that than to share my own Watermark with you! The Watermark Project is a digital archive of the many powerful stories about our relationship to water. Fraser Riverkeeper is working to collect and archive these stories in an effort to highlight the importance of water in our lives and to restore our connection to nature.

Every Canadian has a Watermark, and together with the Swim Drink Fish partnership, our ultimate goal is to collect a water story for every Canadian­— 35 million Watermarks! These stories, we hope, will provide the evidence and impetus for protecting our waterways. I’d like to share my own Watermark with you today, and if you so feel compelled to do the same, click here.

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The Watermark Project is Here!

watermarkblog.jpgFraser Riverkeeper, in partnership with the National Water Centre and Waterkeepers across Canada, is proud to announce the official launch of the Watermark Project!

We often forget how water shapes our country, our culture, our lives. We forget how privileged we are to have access to more freshwater and ocean than arguably any other nation in world. When we forget, we become immune to the loss: the destruction and diminishment of Canada’s swimmable drinkable fishable waters.

As Canadians, we need to sharpen our memory. Our water is more than a necessity for keeping us alive, it is the thread that holds us together as a country. And that thread is best seen in our stories about being on, in or around water.

That is why we created the Watermark Project: to collect and archive Canadian water stories to demonstrate why swimmable drinkable fishable water matters.

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Watermark with Rachel Schoeler

DSCN2454.JPGThe Watermark Project has officially launched and we couldn't be more excited! The Watermark Project is a community effort to collect and archive true stories about the ways Canadians interact with water. Started by Lake Ontario Waterkeeper in 2015, the Watermark Project aims to collect one story from every Canadian household. 

What's my Watermark? I have had the pleasure of working with Fraser Riverkeeper and connecting with incredible recreational water users, community organizers, water leaders and community members for the past 2.5 years. Luckily for me, working for an organization focused on creating a swimmable, drinkable, fishable future means that I have had the opportunity to spend a lot of time on or in the water and really connect to my local waterways. But there is one water-filled day in particular that really stands out.

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Discharge Permit Issued to Avoid Second Disaster At Mount Polley

blogmtpolleysludge.jpgMount Polley mine and its owners, Imperial Metals Corporation, made international headlines in August of 2014 when the dam containing the mine's tailings storage facility failed, sending millions of cubic meters of mining waste water and potentially toxic sediments surging through Hazeltine Creek and into the Quesnel Lake watershed, a major tributary of the Fraser River.

Now Mount Polley is back in the headlines, with the BC government  granting the mine a license to discharge treated waste water from a pipe located roughly 30-40 meters below the surface of Quesnel Lake. 

Still under investigation by BC Conservation Officers and the RCMP for their role in the worst environmental disaster in modern Canadian history, Mount Polley was granted a permit to begin limited restart of operations in the summer of 2015 using Springer Pit for temporary storage of wet tailings and waste water. However, Springer Pit is nothing more than an unlined pit left over from previous ore extraction. If the height of water and tailings in the pit reach a height of more than 1,030 meters, there is a risk that the toxic elements in the mine waste could seep into the surrounding groundwater. Alarm bells began to sound mid November, as water levels in the pit reached 1,023.5; just 6.5 meters away from critical.

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The Ghosts of Hell's Gate

hellsgate.jpgA whiff of cigar smoke hanging in the corner of an empty restaurant, strange disembodied voices whispering on the wind, the apparition of a lonely little girl wandering the halls of the Upper Terminal; these are just some of strange and ghostly phenomena that have been reported at the Hell's Gate Airtram, rumoured to be one of the Fraser River's most haunted attractions.

When the famed explorer Simon Fraser first portaged an "awesome gorge" during his 1808 exploration of the river that would one day bear his name, he commented in his journal that his expedition had travelled " where no human being should ever venture for surely we have encountered the gates of hell". Ever since, the churning waters of this narrow, 35 meter passage between the sheer rock walls of the Fraser Canyon have been known as Hell's Gate. Today, Hell's Gate is home to a delightful tourist attraction where visitors travelling the Gold Rush Trail can stop to enjoy an exhilarating airtram ride through the canyon to view this majestic site from the safety of an observation deck perched more than 150 meters below.

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