Category Archives: Sustainability

Spring Bug Count on Byrne Creek

Byrne Creek Streamkeepers Society volunteers sampled nine sites on the creek today for bugs — AKA aquatic invertebrates. The types and quantities of bugs found are an indicator of water quality.

Byrne Creek Bug Counting
After the bugs are collected using D-nets, we retire to a volunteer’s home to count in comfort, accompanied by coffee, tea, and muffins.


Growing collection of mayflies

A cool aquatic snail

Prepping To Put Out Mason Bee Boxes

Yesterday, Yumi and I spent a wonderful evening with mason-bee whisperer and native-plant gardener Joe Sadowski. Thanks for the personal tutoring and inspiration!

We even got several plants to take home!

Today I put my basic carpentry skills to the test (earning at best a “C”), and made two additional boxes.

Mason Bee boxes

I’ve never been a cabinetry or finishing type of carpenter, if I may call myself a carpenter at all — more of a demolition and framing, roughing in, kinda guy.

But while not pretty, they’re functional.

Subaru Outback Hits 300,000

Our trusty ’98 Subaru Outback hit 300,000 kilometers today, or just over 185,000 miles. As you can see, at nearly 20 years old, we don’t put a lot of mileage on it annually. Never used it for commuting until about six months ago, and that commute is only a couple of klicks.

Our mechanic says he regularly services an Outback with over 500,000 kilometers on it. Doubt if we’ll keep ours that long — while still reliable, it’s becoming increasingly expensive to maintain. And we’d also like a hybrid. . .

Outback 300,000

Forest Walks Rejuvenate Muscles, Mind

A brisk afternoon below-freezing walk in Byrne woods in SE #Burnaby does wonders to rejuvenate one’s stiff muscles and overtaxed mind.

Byrne woods Burnaby

Nature in general, and forests in particular, are my lifeline. They alleviate general blahs, stiff muscles from sitting too much at the desk, brain stupor from too much office work, and more. Get the blood pumping, muscles moving, and it’s amazing how much better you feel.

We are so fortunate to have this wonderful ravine park just out the back gate to our townhouse complex.

Byrne Creek Dike Clearcut Well Underway

Provincial dike regulations are forcing the City of Burnaby to clearcut the habitat along lower Byrne Creek that shades the creek and is home to dozens of species of birds and other wildlife.

You can see in these photos how this stretch is going from lush mixed trees, bush, and other vegetation, to wasteland. I understand the need to inspect dikes for safety reasons, but is it really necessary to clearcut everything?

I know that Burnaby protested, to no avail, but I wonder why the work is going ahead just as salmon are returning to spawn.

And I’m sure that summer water temperature in this lower part of the creek will become lethal to trout and salmon with all the cover gone.

UPDATE: Over the course of the day I was in touch with both DFO and City of Burnaby Environmental staff. DFO will be looking into this, and enviro staff sounded surprised at the extent of plant removal, saying they thought only trees that were impeding vehicle movement along the top of the dike were supposed to be targeted at this time.

However, this still comes down to unbending provincial regulations. Cannot a happy medium be found that allows for inspection and assurance of safety, yet retains critical suburban salmon and other wildlife habitat?

Byrne Creek dike clearcut



Rivers Day at Burnaby Village Museum

Volunteers with the Byrne Creek Streamkeepers Society participated in World Rivers Day at the Burnaby Village Museum. It was a lovely day.

Burnaby Rivers Day
Byrne Creek Streamkeepers booth

The ancient Japanese kamishibai storytelling art with a rivers twist
: -)

An OWL ambassador (Orphaned Wildlife Rehabilitation Society)

An endangered Western Painted Turtle, cared for by the Coastal Painted Turtle Project

Rivers Day founder Mark Angelo

City of Burnaby Environment Committee Chair Anne Kang

Burnaby Rivers DAy
Lots of fun for kids!

A couple of City of Burnaby eco-sculpture cows hanging out.

Green Talks with Burnaby Board of Trade, City of Burnaby

I enjoyed the Green Talks this morning sponsored by the Burnaby Board of Trade.

The City of Burnaby was also at the event to solicit input into its Environmental Sustainability Strategy (ESS).

I had the pleasure of being a member of the ESS Steering Committee, and am also a former member of the BBOT’s Environmental Sustainability Committee, so it was great to see ongoing progress in such initiatives.

The Green Talks included several speakers in a rapid-fire format, sharing sustainability programs from their organizations.

green talks

ESS input
Folks checking out ESS panels and providing feedback