Category Archives: Sustainability

Three Days of Fishy SEHAB Meetings Near Ladysmith, BC

Three days of fishy meetings near Ladysmith, BC, over the last weekend and early this week.

SEHAB (Salmon Enhancement and Habitat Advisory Board) members representing volunteer stewardship groups from across BC shared info and heard many excellent presentations from the federal Dept. of Fisheries and Oceans, and BC provincial ministries.

What’s a meeting about volunteers working to protect salmon without, er, a home-smoked salmon? 🙂

And when you’re dealing with several levels of bureaucracy, the initialisms and acronyms fly thick and fast, eh? We began keeping track of some of them for the benefit of folks newer to the table.

SEHAB Meetings Ladysmith BC

Coho Return to Spawn in Byrne Creek in Burnaby, BC

I was happy to see a Coho salmon on a Byrne Creek walk in Burnaby, BC, today.

And I was unhappy that it had died before even colouring up, and that it was a female full of eggs.

We have had problems with Coho pre-spawn mortality on Byrne Creek for many years, and also with released Coho smolts in the spring.

Research in Washington State by Dr. Jenifer McIntyre has linked such Coho deaths to a chemical found in tires that washes off roads and into creeks.

NOTE: Streamkeepers have training and permission to assess salmon after they have spawned and died for species, sex, size, and spawning status. Is is illegal to interfere with spawning salmon.

dead unspawned female coho byrne creek burnaby bc

More Confirmation of Deadly Effects of Road Runoff on Salmon

Roadway Runoff Known to Kill Coho Salmon also Affects Steelhead, Chinook Salmon

https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/…/roadway-runoff-known…

We’ve been tracking this for many years, and have observed coho mortalities many times on Byrne Creek in Burnaby, BC, at both the smolt and spawner stages.

Dear City of Burnaby, we need more stormawter infiltration!Swales, biofiltration ponds, rain gardens. . .

Concerns about BC Tires Being Recycled into ‘Landscaping Mulch’

I saw a post from Tire Stewardship BC float by on my Facebook feed this morning, touting a new product they are producing from used tires — “landscaping mulch.”

When I commented on their post with concerns about 6PPD-quinone in tires, which is known to kill coho salmon, they just told me to watch their wonderful recycling video again.

A second query about 6PPD-quinone was ignored completely.

Runoff from roads contains 6PPD-quinone from tire dust. Wouldn’t this “mulch” also leach it? And what about all those other outdoor products?

Until potential 6PPD-quinone in “landscaping mulch” is addressed, we should keep an eye on this, and contact our municipalities about the potential impacts of such products. And, of course, federal and provincial environment/pollution/fish agencies.

Link to the recycling page here.

If you search “6PPD-quinone recycled tire products” you’ll find plenty of articles and studies with concerns about them.

UPDATE: Tire Stewardship BC has responded to my FB post, and basically are saying the Canadian and US tire industry associations are working on it. Yes, I know, I’ve spoken with reps from both associations over the years, and invited them to present to stewardship groups.

I responded that that still didn’t answer my concern that products being made from recycled tires are being promoted as “eco-friendly.”

Tackling Food Security in BC Lower Mainland Urban Areas

It’s interesting and concerning to see more threads on food security on various social media channels. With drought hammering many regions around the world that billions rely on for vegetables and fruit, we need to bring this conversation home to BC and the lower mainland.

A key step, in my opinion, would be to halt all further “development” of green and agricultural spaces. All development, for whatever purpose, be it housing or commercial, should be limited to redeveloping areas previously used for such purposes.

And if we can reduce our footprint and re-green spaces, all the better.

We can keep building condo towers, office towers, malls, and warehouses, but what are all those who want to “live, work, and play” in our wonderful region going to eat as supply chains, er, dry up?

We need to dramatically improve our urban/suburban agriculture game.

All schoolyards should have gardens. Lawns should be replaced with a mix of native plants and edibles. Municipalities should support inititatives that match folks who want to grow gardens and fruit with homeowners who have land but who for various reasons cannot garden.

There are many things we could do if we set our minds and muscles to them!

SEHAB Meeting on the Sunshine Coast, BC

We had a SEHAB (Salmonid Enhancement & Habitat Advisory Board) meeting on the Sunshine Coast over the last weekend.

SEHAB meeting Sunshine Coast BC

We stayed at the wonderful Linwood House, visited the Chapman Creek hatchery, and participated in a Sockeye fry release into Sakinaw Lake.

SEHAB is a volunteer board that represents DFO Community Advisors’ geographical areas from across British Columbia. Board members receive no compensation, but meeting expenses are covered. We have a fabulous treasurer who stretches our modest meeting budget.

The board meets three times a year, collating information from community stewardship groups, and taking key issues to DFO Regional Headquarters to inform mangement and the Minister.

I have had the priviledge of being on the board initially as an alternate and then a full member for about 12 years now. The breadth of fishy experience and knowledge in the room is amazing, and I am always learning.

For example, I was not aware that Sakinaw Lake sockeye are on the verge of extinction. The restocking effort by volunteers and DFO is an attempt to stave this off, but the outlook is not good with climate change warming the lake to temperatures detrimental to salmon. Fingers crossed. . .

Thanks to all the local folks who shared their good work with us!

Coho Salmon Smolt Release With Schoolchildren

We released beautiful Coho salmon smolts on Byrne Creek in Burnaby, BC, this morning.

Thanks to Isaac and Brian from DFO for bringing the fish, and thanks to the volunteers at Kanaka Creek who help raise them!

And thanks to the streamkeeper volunteers, teachers, and parents who helped supervise.

coho salmon smolts byrne creek burnaby bc

barred owl juvenile byrne creek burnaby bc
The kids were excited to see this Barred Owl juvenile on our way to the release site

 

Salmon Rescue Plan for Burnaby’s Byrne Creek Dating to 1995

How about a “Salmon Rescue Plan” for Byrne Creek in Burnaby, BC, dating back to October 1995?

Found in a box of records collected by the late Ken Glover, one of the Vancouver Angling & Game Association members who began cleaning up Byrne Creek about 30 years ago.

I am struck by how many of the issues/impacts on the creek have little changed in all those years. . .

We are still seeing regular sediment flows from construction sites, we are still having pollution events, and we still have nearly no systems (particularly on City land and around City buildings) to “hold back, filter and gradually release rainwater runoff.”

The photo is hard to read, so allow me to share the last two paras:

“The Byrne Creek volunteers have one major frustration–the water quality sometimes kills the fish. The quality deteriorates most following a rainfall after a prolonged dry spell. Toxic chemicals and silt wash down from roads, lawns, and construction sites.

“The runoff pollution is getting worse as construction increases in Edmonds, which is slated for a major population increase.”

Remember, this was written in 1995.

Uh-huh. . . Just in the last few months volunteer streamkeepers and concerned citizens have been calling the City about repeated silty flows from construction sites, and other spills into the creek . . .

byrne creek salmon rescue plan 1995

Feeling Blessed to Live in SuperNatural Burnaby, BC

For several years now, a popular topic has been pondering “what brings you joy?”

And I don’t mean socks neatly rolled and arranged in drawers in color-coded series 🙂.

The answer for me is simple — being outdoors in nature.

Increasingly arthritic knees and hips be damned (I have good days and not so good ones in that department), within a minute of being out the front door and on my way down a Byrne Creek trail in SE Burnaby, BC, my spirits soar.

Rain or shine.

Let me see a salmon spawning, an eagle soaring, an owl silently staring, and my aches melt away.

It’s that endorphin surge of excercise and the primal heightening of the senses.

We are blessed here in Burnaby, with many salmon-bearing streams and a variety of parks with varied ecosystems.

Forests? Yup. Meadows? Uh-huh. Rivers and streams? Check. Lakes? Roger. Saltwater inlets? Sure.

I walk at least an hour a day, sometimes two or three, as work and other committments allow.

I feel fortunate to live in such an amazing place.

Donating Stuff for Breathing Space

I’m gradually getting better at getting rid of stuff.

We inherited a good amount of furniture from my late Mom and her husband when they downsized many years ago. A lot of that we still use, but some has been sitting in the garage for years.

It’s hard to let it go, but I’ve been listing some on Craiglist for ridiculously cheap prices, with nary a bite. So the other day we donated two armchairs in great condition to the local Salvation Army Thrift Store.

A couple of well-used rolling office chairs likely beyond anyone’s interest we arranged for a City of Burnaby “large item” pickup. One of them we got at a Restore outlet for $5 or $10 about five years ago, and the other was a salvage when Yumi’s workplace downsized during Covid.

And the garage looks much more spacious as a result.

Yay!