July 03, 2017
Free range grass fed beef burgers, cold craft beer, Jack Johnson and an amazing cause -- what’s not to love? FarmFolk CityFolk and Fraser Riverkeeper, two Vancouver-based non-profits hand-picked by Jack Johnson’s All At Once Social Action Network, recently teamed up for a public screening of The Smog of the Sea. The documentary is directed by Peabody Award-winning and Emmy-nominated filmmaker Ian Cheney (King Corn, The City Dark, The Search for General Tso).
BREAKING: Vancouverites deserve real-time sewage reporting, now: Fraser Riverkeeper launches #SwimmableVancouver campaign
June 27, 2017
June 27, 2017 –
VANCOUVER – Fraser Riverkeeper has launched a campaign demanding for real-time reporting and public transparency on raw sewage discharges into Vancouver’s waterways. The launch of the Swimmable Vancouver campaign coincides with the release of Swim Drink Fish Canada’s Canada Beach Report, the first-ever comparative study of Canadian recreational water quality.
The report finds that with few exceptions, provinces and territories do not notify the public in the event of a sewage bypass that could increase contamination of recreational waters.
It also reveals that most provinces and territories do not issue rain advisories to recreational water users to ensure that they avoid contact with contaminated water.
According to Swim Guide, a free water quality app provided by Swim Drink Fish Canada, recreationalists should stay out of urban waters for at least 48 hours following a heavy rainfall event. This is because rainwater picks up oil, heavy metals, fertilizers, litter and other pollutants as it flows through our streets and into the storm drains.
In Vancouver, many of these storm drains are connected to sewer systems. During heavy rainfalls, the raw sewage and pollutants overwhelm barriers intended to direct contaminated water into waste water treatment plants. Instead, the toxic water overflows into the Burrard Inlet and Fraser River, untreated.
In 2014, Metro Vancouver pled guilty to a violation of Section 36 of the Fisheries Act due to a release of untreated sewage into the Burrard Inlet at Brockton Point.
“We’re thrilled that the City of Vancouver and Vancouver Parks Board are taking action to improve water quality and restore fish habitat”, said Lauren Hornor, Fraser Riverkeeper’s Executive Director.
“However, as we work collectively to clean up our waters, the public needs to know when a sewage overflow or bypass has occurred in real time -- not in a yearly report that won’t be released for months.”
Riverkeeper’s Swimmable Vancouver campaign urges Mayor Gregor Robertson to work with City engineers to provide real-time reporting on sewage discharges and bypasses into the Burrard Inlet -- including False Creek -- and the Fraser River.
In May of this year, the City of Kingston and Utilities Kingston launched the first real-time sewage overflow tracking system in Canada. The City of Toronto is now also issuing sewage bypass alerts.
To show your support of the Swimmable Vancouver campaign, Fraser Riverkeeper encourages the public to send a letter via our Swimmable Vancouver campaign page. By the end of the summer, the organization hopes to have 10,000 letters sent to decision makers.
For more information on the Canada Beach Report, please contact Swim Guide Manager Gabrielle Parent-Doliner: firstname.lastname@example.org
Water Literacy Coordinator,
Swim Drink Fish Community Coordinator,
Swim Drink Fish Canada
June 21, 2017
Join the Team at Fraser Riverkeeper!
Fraser Riverkeeper is seeking a Watermark Outreach Coordinator for a full-time, 9-week contract. This position is a perfect opportunity for someone passionate about protecting Canadian waters and eager to engage with the community.
ABOUT FRASER RIVERKEEPER
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.
JOB OPPORTUNITY: VANCOUVER WATERMARK OUTREACH COORDINATOR
9 week full-time contract, 35 hours/week
Do you love to interview people and engage with the public at community events? This might be the job for you.
Fraser Riverkeeper works alongside Swim Drink Fish Canada to foster a growing movement of active, informed and engaged water leaders across Canada. We accomplish this by using law, research, citizen engagement, and digital media tools, such as the Watermark Project.
The Watermark Project gathers and publishes people’s stories about a body of water that has influenced their lives. It documents the way that water affects people, records valuable local knowledge, and inspires participants to become better stewards of their local waters. This position is a perfect opportunity for someone who is inspired by the idea that real stories from ordinary people can help to shape and protect our water heritage.
Watermark Outreach Coordinator responsibilities:
As Watermark Outreach Coordinator 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. 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 be responsible for helping to cultivate a strong Watermark social media presence in Vancouver and encouraging others to collect water stories. We’re looking for someone who is passionate about water with a natural ability to connect with the public on a personal level.
Additionally, you will also help staff plan and execute a family-friendly water-based event to celebrate our 10-year anniversary in late August. The event will be held at a Vancouver sailing club and you will be responsible for planning youth-friendly activities; coordinating a large BBQ; managing volunteers; finding creative ways to promote the event to the public; and other related tasks.
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.
- Delight booth and table attendees at events with information about BC waters and its threats.
- Collect personal water stories, or "Watermarks" from community members across Metro Vancouver and the Fraser River watershed.
- Training others to collect Watermark stories. Engage citizens, organizations, and businesses in issues related to recreational water quality.
- Identify and help arrange summer tabling/engagement opportunities.
- Attend and table at scheduled events from late June to August (evenings and weekends required).
- Act as an in-person ambassador for Fraser Riverkeeper and the Watermark Project.
- Provide on-site and “from the field” pictures and videos for our social media profiles.
- Ability to plan and execute engagement strategies to maintain relationships with project participants over time.
- Coordinate, organize and promote our Water Literacy public event in August, paying attention to detail and making sure it’s a success!
You are an ideal candidate for this position if:
- You would love to spend your summer talking to the community and sharing their important water stories.
- You are interested in recreational water quality issues.
- 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 are organized and motivated You love spending time on the Fraser River and Vancouver waterfront (swimming, paddling, sailing, fishing, etc).
- You are willing to learn how to use Salesforce CRM software.
- 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 license (access to a vehicle is a bonus but not required).
- You’re based in Metro Vancouver.
Our funding requires that you are returning to school in September 2017 and are under the age of 30.
Each application must include 1 copy of the following documents:
- A cover letter that describes why you would make a great Watermark Outreach Coordinator (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:
Re: Watermark Outreach Coordinator Position
Apply by June 28th, 2017; 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 Vancouver community, and to the equitable representation of women, aboriginal peoples, and members of a visible minority group.
Other Information: Hours: 35 hours/week. Must be available some evenings and weekends.
Location: Based in Vancouver with possible travel to other communities on the BC coast and within the Fraser River watershed.
June 20, 2017
Guest blogger Griffin Kelly shares her research and stories from the rugged west coast. She's currently exploring the impact of aquaculture on community in the Broughton Archipelago.
Salmon Coast was founded by biologist Alexandra Morton, who first noticed the influx of sea lice into the environment. Wild salmon pick up lice during their time in the open ocean. Farms are infected by wild salmon during the in-migration to rivers. Adult salmon return to the rivers to spawn, and then die off. The lice die off with them. However, fish farms act as incubators for sea lice over the winter; the lice remain in the system because they have constant, static hosts. When juvenile salmon emerge from rivers in the spring into the ocean, they are exposed to sea lice at an unnaturally early stage (Marty 2010). This can result in harmful effects on juvenile wild salmon populations (Krkošek 2017.)
Salmon Coast carries out the longest-running juvenile salmon monitoring program, which is in its 17th year. Each week, we go out and take samples of juvenile salmon from three sites adjacent to fish farms. The sites are Wicklow, in Fife Sound, Glacier, in Tribune Channel, and Burdwoods, in the Burdwood Group islands. This is an important chance for us to interact with the salmon at various stages in their growth cycle; at the beginning of the season the parr are only 30mm long, and by June, the smolts are larger than 100mm.
We set beach seine nets to collect 100 fish at each site, 50 pink salmon and 50 chum salmon. Pink and chum salmon school together, and are the most prevalent species in this area. These fish are placed in plastic bags with seawater in order to be measured and examined. Counts of lice per fish are recorded, along with observations of other factors, such as environmental stressors. The salmon are released back into the ocean. This process is continued for the duration of the salmon run, starting in early April and ending late June. On May 4th, we visited the usual sites, and were joined by Alex Morton, as she conducted her own sampling.
Collected salmon await examination.
A salmon is measured by a volunteer.
Examining a chum salmon for sea lice with a hand lens.
This independent data set is a crucial tool to demonstrate the measured and changing effects of sea lice and aquaculture on wild salmon. It has been used in multiple papers and reports by researchers since 2001. The weekly monitoring program is a collaborative effort, as it relies on volunteers, researchers and community members, including members from the local First Nations.
- Krkošek, Martin. "Population biology of infectious diseases shared by wild and farmed fish." Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 74.4 (2017): 620-28. Web.
- Marty, G. D., S. M. Saksida, and T. J. Quinn. "Relationship of Farm Salmon, Sea Lice, and Wild Salmon Populations." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 107.52 (2010): 22599-2604. Web.
- 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.
June 20, 2017
PRIZE GIVEAWAY: Free Jack Johnson concert tickets!
We’re excited to announce that we’ll be joining Jack Johnson at his concert on July 23rd, 2017, providing you with ways to get inspired and take action in creating a sustainable future.
A former professional surfer, Johnson is now a Billboard charting artist (his first five major-label albums crested platinum status), respected documentary filmmaker and environmental advocate.
100% of Jack Johnson’s 2008 tour profits were used to establish the Johnson Ohana Foundation, a non-profit charity founded by Kim and Jack Johnson to support environmental, art, and music education.
We’re extremely proud to be a continuing partner of All At Once since the launch of this initiative in 2008.
Jack Johnson has generously provided two FREE tickets for fans – all you have to do is sign-up to help volunteer at the event with Fraser Riverkeeper! The first two people to sign-up will win!
Email the Fraser Riverkeeper team NOW to get your free tickets today!
For more information about Jack Johnson and All At Once please visit JackJohnsonMusic.com and www.AllAtOnce.org. To view Jack Johnson’s Smog of the Sea documentary trailer, please visit this link: http://bit.ly/2nVJO7Q
Sunday, July 23, 2017
Deer Lake Park
6450 Deer Lake Ave. Burnaby, BC V5H 4R4
Doors Open: 5:00pm
Support Act – John Craigie: 6:30pm
Jack Johnson set: 7:45pm
May 30, 2017
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:
Water Literacy Coordinator, Fraser Riverkeeper
May 24, 2017
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!
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - Community’s coastal connections to be celebrated in new Britannia Shipyards exhibit
May 23, 2017
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 http://www.richmond.ca/britannia or contact email@example.com 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 www.richmondcanada150.com
May 23, 2017
WATER 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.
May 14, 2017
WATER 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.