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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Watermark with Ross Beaty

Healthy Water Brings a Healthy Lifestyle

As we were gearing up for the Waterkeeper Gala Vancouver last spring I had the opportunity to sit down with Ross Beaty and hear his most powerful memories of water. He admitted that he didn't have just one, but thousands of powerful memories that really demonstrated his deep connection to water. He tells us how important water is to him, his family and the human existence. Hear his story (and learn about his favourite fishing spot) in the video below.

 

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Watermark with Bruce Langereis

What is your most powerful memory of water?

This is a question we have been asking ourselves, our friends and our supporters over the past year in hopes of helping each individual re-discover their personal connection to water. The stories we gather will be part of the Watermark Project and will play an important role in demonstrating our shared connection to water across the country.

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There's Still Time! Explore Vancouver's Waterways this Summer


As the summer months are coming to a close we strongly suggest you get outside to explore Vancouver's waterways while the sun is still shining! Here are just a few of the amazing things you can do on/in/near the water over the next couple of weeks:

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Mount Polley: One Year Later and Still No Justice


blogmtpolleysludge.jpgThis Tuesday marked one year since the failure of the tailing storage facility at Mount Polley gold and copper mine in the early hours of August 4th, 2014, dumped billions of litres of waste water and mining slurry into the Quesnel River watershed; resulting in what has been called the worst mining disaster in modern Canadian history. The timing could not have been worse: a record run of 72 million sockeye salmon were expected for the Fraser River that season, with as much of a quarter of those fish heading straight for the impacted watershed.

While a review by an independent panel of engineers determined that the root cause of the failure of Mount Polley's tailing storage facility (TSF) was a layer of previously undetected glacial clay beneath its foundation which compromised its structural integrity, details that have come to light in the months since the disaster indicate that gaps in mine inspections stemming from budget cuts and understaffing at the Ministry of Energy and Mines, as well as a general failure on the part of the mine's owners, Imperial Metals Corporation, to adequately maintain the TSF and manage wastewater on-site almost certainly contributed to the disaster.

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Water, it's kind of a big deal

OUT OF THE CITY AND INTO THE WATER

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Photo: Mikul Culver via Flickr

Water—it’s kind of a big deal. Chances are, in the last few months, you’ve probably heard, read or seen something about it. From controversy over locally sourced bottled water to diminishing reservoir levels due to drought, you could say that water is really hot right now.

Unfortunately, that’s not necessarily a good thing. Due to water shortages, important questions are now being raised about how we can better use and protect this precious resource—that’s a conversation for another day though. Just because water is the focus of so much concern and contention doesn’t mean we can’t have some fun with (or in) it, especially as summer weather stretches on.

 

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The Lower Fraser River: death by a thousand cuts?

The Georgia Straight, Joe Daniels and Kevin Washbrook - July 10, 2015

Or a coherent vision for a sustainable future?

Fraser River. (Photo courtesy of TOTORORO.RORO)

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My Watermark: rock climbing next to Cheakamus River

WHO I AM

Ly_Golden_Ears.jpgMy name is Ly and I’m the Summer Outreach Coordinator at Fraser Riverkeeper Society. Coming from Vietnam to Canada five years ago, I was very glad that my journey with the water continued. Beaches remind me of childhood summer trips, of the time when my family went swimming, eating fresh seafood and chilling on the beach. As an outdoor enthusiast, I love kayaking in the water or hiking the mountains, and of course eating delicious wild salmon that comes from beautiful B.C rivers. The wilderness, including the water bodies, is what connects me with the people that I love to spend time with.

 

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