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

May 08, 2017

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.


Job Posting: Swimmable Water Specialist

May 05, 2017


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.


Earth Day: What’s in your waterways?

April 20, 2017

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)

Remembering Our Founding Riverkeeper: Doug Chapman

April 08, 2017

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.

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

March 19, 2017

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

Metro Vancouver's Making its Watermark

January 09, 2017

Metro Vancouver, flanked by the emerald green Coastal Mountain Range and at the foot of the vast Pacific Ocean, is recognized as one of the most livable regions in the world. While we celebrate diversity living in a cultural mosaic, we are all connected by an essential natural resource – water.  


Photo: Sama093

The churning, wild white waters of the Fraser River barrel through the narrow, craggy slopes of the Fraser Canyon, dragging stray logs and boulders in its wake. Communities in Metro Vancouver are centered around the Lower Fraser, affectionately known as the ‘Heart of the Fraser’.

Fraser River. Photo: Charly Caproff

From my house in Maple Ridge, I can hear the laughter of families camping on the shores of Derby Reach, see tug boats puffing up and down the river and feel the power of bald eagles as they swoop down to snatch salmon from the silt-rich waters.

Vancouver, a water metropolis, offers recreationalists endless opportunities to explore and enjoy scenic beaches, lakes and creeks. 

We love how passionate people are about their water in Metro Vancouver and are excited to announce the launch of our 2017 Water Literacy Campaign!

Tennent Lake: A Watermark by Mike Knippel

January 04, 2017

10477140_10153356867196628_8170813601092832877_o.jpgI had started this hiking hobby about 4 years previous and it had grown naturally into sub alpine day adventures, then alpine multi day treks with some not-too-technical peaking. I knew I loved it and sort of knew why but never fully understood how it connected with the rest of my life. I had spent the previous 30 years on the world's oceans and now that seagoing days were over, my time was filled with fine views and ambience of Vancouver Island coasts and alpine. Around Canada Day, 2015, during a climb of Mt. Myra, the missing piece came into view.

Walbran Creek: A Watermark from Charly Caproff

December 21, 2016

The Walbran Valley is a Tolkien novel brought to life. 

Magnificent old-growth trees shrouded in lush moss thrive on the steep east and west valley faces. Below, the pristine Walbran Creek flows through the temperate rainforest, eventually reaching the Pacific Ocean. 

The Walbran Creek bridge was ground zero during the 'War of the Woods' in the 1990’s and is a place where activists, recreationalists and tourists alike stand in awe of the immense beauty of this wild, untamed world. Logging on the sheer slopes directly above the Walbran River increases the risk of soil erosion, leading to sedimentation and turbidity in the waters below. These waters are teeming with several species of fish, including coastal cutthroat and rainbow trout, steelhead, Kokanee, and coho salmon. 

During the fall, endangered Sockeye salmon were spotted in a pool below a magnificent waterfall, which attracted the interest of fisheries biologists to the Walbran. While the old-growth forests downstream are protected within the Walbran/Carmanah Provincial Park, the Walbran Valley remains vulnerable to the potential impacts of commercial logging. 

It was here, watching the water tumble beneath my feet, that I realized that water knows no bounds. Environmental policy must incorporate an ecosystem-based approach to managing our precious water resources.


Photo credit: Shane Johnson


Waterkeeper Gala Vancouver 2016

October 25, 2016


BC Business, Paul Duchart - October 25, 2016

Almost 200 guests and business leaders attended the second annual Waterkeeper Gala Vancouver at the Rosewood Hotel Georgia October 13. Presented by Telus, the event raised a record $200,000, double the amount raised last year.

Photo courtesy of Paul Duchart

Fred Lee's Social Network: Waterkeeper Gala taps into record night of donations; MOSAIC marks 40 years of building bridges

October 23, 2016

The Province, Fred Lee - October 23, 2016

Canada's foremost charity fundraiser for clean water drew 200 prominent artists, musicians and philanthropists to the Rosewood Hotel Georgia for the sophomore running of the Waterkeeper Gala, presented by Telus. Hedley frontman Jacob Hoggard, right, escorted girlfriend Rebekah Asselstine to the sold-out dinner. Fred Lee/ Postmedia News

Thanks to our supporters

  • Ecomarine
  • Lush
  • MEC
  • Patagonia
  • Smak
  • Tides
  • Sitka
  • Woodtone
  • TD Friends of the Environment
  • Telus
  • Progressive Waste Solutions
  • Ocean Ambassadors
  • RBC Blue Water Project
  • BC Hydro
  • DM Foundation
  • City of North Vancouver
  • Jack Johnson
  • Flowlink