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  Latest Blog

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Date: 8/15/2015 4:47 PM EDT

My first video blog interview - in British Columbia - about a remarkable environmental come-back.  New life comes to a polluted fjord, Howe Sound, BC.  I report on the quick recovery of this beautiful but historically challenged area near Vancouver. I hope you enjoy it.  First published in 11/06/2010 and updated 8/15/2015

My thanks to my friend Wilf Grolman from Brackendale, B.C.  and Squamish Steamkeepers for the information below.

Below is additional information about the pollution cleanup and how neighboring Vancouver has been affected positively.  Check out the most interesting video in the Feb 2015 update paragraph below to see how the Squamish project has affected False Creek in Vancouver.

from Squamish Streamkeepers

Hundreds if not thousands of tons of herring spawned in the Squamish estuary, Howe Sound, in the 1960’s. This mass of herring in turn fed salmon, cod, birds, sea mammals and humans, who could easily scoop up a bucket of herring at will. Life thrived in Howe Sound in those days. This ended by the 1970’s with the industrial development of the Mamquam Blind Channel. It was assumed that the lack of herring meant that the herring had moved elsewhere to spawn.

The development of Squamish Terminals in 1972, at the head of Howe Sound, actually opened up new spawning areas for the herring. Rip rap borders attracted bladder wrack seaweed which allowed some of the herring to continue to spawn successfully. However, it turns out most of the herring found a nice quiet place to spawn under the East Dock on creosote pilings which, unfortunately and unknowingly, killed their eggs by the millions.

In 2006, the Squamish Streamkeepers were checking the net pens that Squamish Terminals had put in to aid salmon enhancement and stumbled onto the dead herring eggs on the creosote pilings under the dock. With funding from the Department of Fisheries & Oceans Canada (DFO) for materials and complete support of Squamish Terminals, the Streamkeepers began wrapping the pilings with various materials to see what might protect the numerous but delicate eggs  from creosote damage.

Four years later (2010), hundreds of millions of eggs have hatched out successfully and juvenile herring schools have been observed leaving Howe Sound for the open sea. Herring have again shown a preference to spawn around and under the Squamish Terminals docks. Findings from this year have also proven that the herring prefer the wrapped pilings (pictured below) and seaweed over everything else.   

Wrapped pilings Squamish, BC for Herring Rescue project. Protecting herring eggs from creosote poisononing

Wrapped dock pilings at Squamish, BC

 The wrapped pilings are intertidal and after the herring eggs laid on these pilings hatch out, the ups and downs of the tides and slapping of the waves soon clean the herring glue and egg cases off. The pilings get re-spawned two to three times from late January and into early April, with the majority of spawn in February and March.

UPDATE (FEB 2015): Here is a great video from Ian Wood, a Master of Journalism candidate / Journalist, on the herring recovery project – False Creek Herring Rescue - in Vancouver, a direct spinoff from the Squamish success.

(Here is a great 2014 CBC news report with video of dolphin pods sighted in False Creek with a mention of the herring rescue piling wrapping project.)

UPDATE (JUN 2015): In 2015, herring spawned under the East and West docks 3 to 4 times from January through to the spring. A conservative estimate is that two and a half billion eggs were laid under the docks and with the protection from the weather and predators; they had a very high hatch out rate. The spawn was found on the wrapped creosote pilings and float lines under the East Dock and on the wrapped concrete pilings under the West dock that were wrapped in 2010. The Squamish Streamkeepers plan to wrap another 40 or more concrete pilings and install several hundred feet of float lines under the West Dock during the low summer tides.

Contributed by Dr. Jonn Matsen, Co-Chair and Herring Coordinator, Squamish Streamkeepers


Britannia Creek pollution

Water in Britannia Creek is extremely clear and transparent suggesting a pristine environment, yet the clear water is actually an indication that no living creatures can survive in it. The water cannot be consumed by humans either.

Even though mining has stopped, runoff and rainwater that flow through the mine’s abandoned tunnels combine with oxygen and the high sulfide http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sulfide content of the waste rock to create a condition called acid rock drainage http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acid_rock_drainage (ARD). ARD is caused by a chemical reaction, which results in highly acidic runoff that contains large concentrations of dissolved metals such as copper http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copper, cadmium http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cadmium, iron http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iron, and zinc http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zinc. The polluted water was being deposited directly into Howe Sound http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Howe_Sound by means of Jane Creek and Britannia Creek and as much as 450 kilograms of copper was entering Howe Sound daily.

A two-kilometre strip of coastal waters along Britannia Beach was seriously polluted, affecting 4.5 million juvenile chum salmon http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salmon from the Squamish Estuary (half the entire salmon run). A Fisheries and Oceans Canada http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fisheries_and_Oceans_Canada report revealed that Chinook Salmon http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinook_Salmon held in cages off Britannia Creek died in less than 48 hours because of the toxic metals in the water, whereas fish held off Porteau Cove had a 100 per cent survival rate.

The area around Britannia Beach had become extremely polluted and had a reputation as one of the most notoriously contaminated, historic mining operations in North America.

Scientists from The University of British Columbia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_University_of_British_Columbia  designed the Millennium Plug, a huge device designed to prevent more pollutant from going into Britannia Creek. However, polluted waters are now diverted to discharge through a pipeline just 50 m offshore into Howe Sound contaminating it. Therefore, field monitoring done in 2003, using intertidal algae and mussels as ecological indicators, showed that the recovery of coastal biological communities was actually minimal [6]. University of British Columbia scientists are developing a state-of-the-art heating system using the warm polluted metallic water seeping from the mines.

More about the pollution (from Wikipedia)


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Posted by greenvillagegreen | Post a Comment

Date: 8/15/2015 1:06 PM EDT

Hello, I'm Carol and this is the Green Village Green blog!

Driving back from my final SM class (Social Media, not the other SM - although sometimes it feels rather similar) with the terrific Mark Schaefer (I’ve done the course twice now - it takes time to fit it all together to even begin to do it!), Gustav Holst’s the Planet Suite was playing on NPR.  Any two bars and I instinctively recognize the piece.  Parts of it are so lovely that it almost hurts.

This is music I was weaned on and it brought to mind other ‘achingly beautiful’ inspirations: a ‘warm’ rain-laden wind and heavy grey skies on a November afternoon in England, which would make my teenage soul sing as my border collie and I would head into it, hair and fur swirling; gazing on almost anywhere in my beloved Yorkshire Dales in almost any weather. 

Yorkshire Dales landscape

Ancient drovers' road in the Yorkshire Dales National Park, north-west England.

And now I’m thrilled by the distant Smokey Mountains shimmering above a particular stretch of early morning lake near my home.

I don’t often watch television - no time and not a lot of interest - but when I do it’s almost always PBS.  Last Sunday, switching on unusually early at 7pm, I stumbled upon "Celtic Pilgrimage" and was instantly riveted.  That familiar wonderful aching of the soul swept me up for the whole hour and paralyzed me with the joy of it.  The presenter, John O’Donohue, an Irish writer, philosopher and retired priest, shared why his corner of rural Ireland and its people moved him and I related completely.  The open, wild landscape reminded me of home.  The Welsh have a word for it, hiraedd (pronounced hirayth), which I’ve always understood to mean a delicious yearning for the sights, smells, feelings of the home-country, experienced even when you’re there.  I immediately went online and bought the DVD and am longing to watch it again.

This visceral, gut-wrenching beauty which I experience with many senses has connected me at a primeval level with the incredible world we live on.  Environmental issues have, since childhood, been my main concern.  Why are so many petty matters of such contention when our very existence is threatened by our thoughtlessness?  But now I realize, heck, we’re still here!  Our planet is a lot more forgiving than I thought.

These days I see hope instead of doom.  Change is coming, but we can affect how that change happens, and remarkably quickly if we choose to.  So when Green Village Green came into my brain with a thunk, practically complete in its conception, I had to make it happen.  Green Village Green seeks to spread that hope, instigate personal engagement, and inspire change.

Join me by following my Green Village Green blog today!

What sparks your passion for the environment, sustainability, green, our beautiful planet?  Whatever you want to call it?



Posted by greenvillagegreen | Post a Comment

Date: 12/15/2010 10:33 PM EST

This is Carol with GreenVillageGreen and I'm interviewing a very young entrepreneur with a good idea.

This got me thinking - just what is the most environmentally friendly way to dispose of collected dog poop?  See my next blog, Doggie Blog #2, for very green ideas - some really easy!   

Join me by following the Green Village Green blog today.

What sparks your passion for the environment, sustainability, green, our beautiful planet?



Posted by greenvillagegreen | Post a Comment

Date: 10/21/2009 1:22 PM EDT

Posted by greenvillagegreen | Post a Comment

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The Green Village Green Home Summit

Details to come for 2019.  Classes and exhibitors who can show you how you can save energy (and therefore money) and how to have a more comfortable and healthier home.  Let us know what you’d like to find out about. We’ll be very pleased to hear from you here.

Green Village Green Gazette

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More details here and a short interview.

The Wonderful Doggie Doo Drain Is Back!

Hurray for the Doggie Doo Drain, the easiest and safest way to discard dog (and cat) poo! I thought the company had shut its doors and we’d be without the wondrous DDD, and then, at the end of January I received an email, and it is back!

This dog poop solution is inexpensive, just screws into place, needs no care and attention except, perhaps, a little water, and your pet poop is treated in a safe, green way. Use for one small animal, or multiple large dogs!


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