Watermark with Bruce Langereis

Sep 17, 2015

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.

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

Aug 25, 2015

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:

Mount Polley: One Year Later and Still No Justice

Aug 5, 2015

This 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.

The Lower Fraser River: death by a thousand cuts?

Jul 10, 2015

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

Or a coherent vision for a sustainable future?

My Watermark: rock climbing next to Cheakamus River

Jul 9, 2015

WHO I AM

My 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.

 

Transport Canada Abandonning Proposed Changes A Huge Victory For Water Users

May 13, 2015

In a massive victory, Transport Canada has abandoned proposed regulatory changes that would have allowed small vessels to dump sewage just one nautical mile from shore; bowing to pressure from local health authorities, Vancouver's community of water users, and water quality advocates like Fraser Riverkeeper.

Notice of the proposed changes to the Vessel Pollution and Dangerous Chemicals regulation was sent to the Union of BC Municipalities in November of 2014, following a summer that saw some of the worst water quality in recent memory for Metro Vancouver's waterways. E. coli counts for False Creek peaked at 5,404 bacteria per 100 mL of water, more than 5 times the safety limit for paddlers, with Ambleside, Dundarave, Sandy Cove, Eagle Harbour, Whytecliff Park, and Sunset beaches all experiencing closures during the hottest summer months of July and August.

Federal Cuts To Blame for Slow Response to English Bay Spill

Apr 15, 2015

The woefully slow response to a spill of nearly 3,000 litres of toxic bunker fuel into Vancouver's English Bay last Wednesday is both a tragic reminder of the sad state of protection for fish and water in Canada, and a dramatic indication that oil spill response on Canada's West coast is far from "world-class."

After a sailboater first reported an oily sheen on English Bay around 5 pm on April 8th, it took six hours for emergency responders to establish a boom around the spill. This is the maximum legislated response time for a tier 1 oil spill (150 tonnes or less), according to Transport Canada's standards. It was a further six hours before the City of Vancouver was notified, and another 24 hours until official signage appeared on city beaches warning the public away from the contaminated water. As a result of this dangerously slow pace of action, a comparatively small spill was allowed to reach unprotected beaches and untold numbers of unwitting beachgoers, including groups of children, were allowed to expose themselves to toxic pollutants. This is completely unacceptable anywhere, let alone in one of the busiest harbours on the Western seaboard. How could it happen?

Fishing Boats and Secret Ponds: A Riverkeeper's Watermark

Apr 2, 2015

Everyone has a Watermark. It's that special memory that connects all of us to our local waters, that moment when you fell in love with water. Waterkeepers from across Canada are asking Canadians to share their Watermarks with us. Here our Riverkeeper, Joe Daniels, remembers a magical summer day from his childhood exploring the lake around his family cottage in Ontario's Kawartha Lakes region.

"You ready, Spud?"

I looked back at my older brother sitting in the stern of the boat and nodded eagerly. Smiling, he planted the edge of an oar against the dock and gently pushed us off. Once we'd drifted out a little ways he primed the motor and pulled the cord. It sputtered for a couple seconds then fell silent. He pulled the cord again and this time the dusty old Evinrude roared to life. The boat shot forward with a sudden jolt. I tucked my hands into my bright orange life-vest and leaned into the wind. We were off.

Approval of Controversial Gravel Mining Threatens Fraser River Sturgeon

Feb 19, 2015

On December 4th, 2014, Fraser Riverkeeper participated in an agency-stakeholder meeting that was attended by representatives from the Fraser River Sturgeon Conservation Society (FRSCS) and BC Wildlife Federation (BCWF), as well as habitat assessment staff from the BC Ministry of Forests, Lands, and Natural Resource Operations (FLNRO) and Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO), in regards to a proposal by the Seabird Island First Nation to mine gravel in the Fraser River at the upper end of Seabird Island.

At this meeting, the concerned stakeholders provided extensive proof that this proposed project presented the risk of causing serious harm to both the Lower Fraser's at-risk population of white sturgeon (Acipenser transmontanus), as well as its economically important wild Pacific salmon runs. Of particular significance were references to studies conducted in 2014 by both the FRSCS and FLNRO's own ecosystem biologists using side-scan sonar and egg-collecting mats that confirmed the area located directly adjacent to the proposed mining site is, in fact, one of only two known spawning sites for white sturgeon in the gravel reach of the Lower Fraser River (English, Beveridge, and Bychkov; 2014).

New Proposed Dumping Regulations Will Make A Crappy Problem Worse

Jan 30, 2015

Last Thursday, an article published in Vancouver Metro revealed proposed regulatory changes to Transport Canada's Vessel Pollution and Dangerous Chemicals regulations that would allow small vessel operators to dump sewage waste at a distance of only one nautical mile from shore.

The summer of 2014 saw some of the worst water quality in recent memory for Vancouver's waterfront. E.coli counts in False Creek peaked at 5,404 bacteria per 100 mL of water, more than 26 times the safety limit for swimmers (200 per 100 mL) and more than 5 times the safety limit for recreational users, such as kayakers and paddleboarders (1000 per 100 mL), according to Health Canada guidelines. Ambleside, Dundarave, Sandy Cove, Eagle Harbour, Whytecliff Park, and Sunset beaches all received no-swim advisories, with many of them remaining closed to swimmers throughout the hottest summer months of July and August.

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