Category Archives: Sustainability

Stream of Dreams Watershed Education/Community Art Program

It was great to be back in an elementary school helping to deliver the Stream of Dreams Murals Society watershed education and community art program!

stream of dreams Dreamfish

There has been some remote program delivery, and while getting the message across, it doesn’t compare emotionally with being in  a school.

With careful protocols, some adjustments to delivery, and repeated and thorough sanitization between each class, today’s sessions went smoothly, and several teachers said they loved the program!

And of course team members, teachers, and students are masked at all times.

Team members are cross-trained to do both the watershed/environment education part of the program, and supervising kids through the Dreamfish painting.

The fish will eventually be installed as a beautiful mural on the school’s chain-link fence to remind students, their families, and the entire neighbourhood that All Drains Lead to Fish Habitat!

Byrne Creek Bug Count in Burnaby

Byrne Creek Streamkeepers Society volunteers conducted an aquatic invertebrate survey (bug count) on Byrne Creek in SE Burnaby, BC, today.

Bugs give us an indication of water quality because some are more pollution tolerant than others. Our surveys over many years have steadily found mostly pollution tollerant species, and they also tend to be small in size compared to more pristine creeks.

As usual, our results were in the poor to marginal range using the methodology in The Streamkeepers Handbook and Modules.

The creek gets a lot of road wash that carries contimanants down street drains, and we also get point-source pollution events when deleterious substances are emptied into street drains, or when construction sites are illegally pumped out.

Please rember that All Drains Lead to Fish Habitat!

bug count aquatic invertebrates byrne creek burnaby bc

The new shelter near the wading pool in Ron McLean Park proved to be a great place to count the bugs and enter the results on data sheets.

CBC Early Edition Appearance on Heat Wave, Creeks, Salmon

I was interviewed live on the CBC Early Edition this morning on the topic of the heat wave in BC and the impact on local creeks and salmon.

Volunteer streamkeepers have recorded temperatures as high as 20.5 C in Byrne Creek in SE Burnaby, which is higher than is healthy for salmonids.

Water temperatures surpassing the upper teens mean less oxygen in the water, and also stress salmon, leaving them more vulnerable to diseases and pararasites.

I don’t know how long CBC Radio leaves links up, but here it is:

Temps to Break 40C in Burnaby

The plan today:

Up at 5:00am and get some stuff done.

Crank all the windows open until 7:00. Then batten down the hatches and hunker down while the temperature steadily climbs to ~42C (107F) here in Burnaby, BC, peaking between 2:00 – 4:00pm.

Thank you tall trees of Byrne Creek Ravine Park that keep us shaded until noonish.

Supposedly it will be back down to 30C by 10:00pm, and a bearable 23-25 overnight.

Check in on vulnerable family, friends, and neighbours.

Stay safe, all. . .

UPDATE: And watch out for pets, too. Sora the Cat quickly figured out that an ice-water filled bed warmer is a great place to hang out :-).

sora ice water bottle

UPDATE 2: As of mid-afternoon it now looks like we’ll top out around 36C instead of over 40. Whew!

Another Coho Smolt Kill on Byrne Creek, Burnaby, BC

I got a call from City of Burnaby staff today that people were reporting dead fish in Byrne Creek. Sure enough, yet another first-flush road-wash coho kill.

coho smolt kill byrne creek burnaby bc
This is how the creek was running during the rain on Monday. Photo by volunteer Joan.

We released 3,700 coho smolts last Thursday. It rained Monday, and the creek was running awfully dirty. I will add a photo by another volunteer of the dirty creek.

This has been happening for many years on Byrne Creek. We pray for no rain following a coho smolt release, because if road wash enters the creek while the coho are still in the system, they die by the hundreds.

Recent research by Dr. Jen McIntyre at Washington State University points to a chemical in tires that is toxic particularly to coho.

I met a City staffer for a walkabout. I counted four or five dozen dead smolts beteween the sediment pond and the downstream side of Byrne Bridge.

There were several happy herons about, and with this kill likely occuring Monday/Tuesday, probably dozens if not hundreds of dead smolts had been scarfed already. Mother Nature’s cleanup crew is fast and efficient!

Aquatic Bug Survey on Byrne Creek in Burnaby

A small group of Byrne Creek Streamkeepers volunteers sampled four sites in the creek for aquatic bugs in SE Burnaby, BC, today. Such surveys give us an indication of the water quality.

We kept everything outdoors, and limited to just a handful of volunteers.

While we haven’t tallied the numbers yet, I’d guess from what we were observing that the ratings will be pretty low. Our bug counts tend to be poor and our bugs tiny on this creek in a highly urbanized wateshed.

byrne creek streamkeepers bug count burnaby bc

Surpassed 1,000 Observations Reported to iNaturalist

I passed 1,000 observations reported to iNaturalist today, with 232 species so far.

I think this puts me at the Pee-Wee or Bantam level 🙂. I know some folks who post hundreds per week!

I have to shoot, and learn about, more plants and flowers etc. The bulk of my observations are birds and mammals, with the occasional insect or reptile. . .

You can see my contributions here.