August 17, 2005

Choco the Cat Photo Barrage

I promise I won't keep this up unless I get some particularly cute shots, but I must post a few more photos of Choco as she gets adjusted to her new life after we adopted her from the SPCA a few days ago.

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Having a snooze in the living room.

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Eyeballing Midori the turtle as she crawls out of her tank. The two have attained a wary truce. Choco is very curious about Midori, but still cautious, while Midori is aware of the cat and has tried to check her out, but can't keep up as Choco backpedals :-).

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Sitting side by side, feeling each other out. Midori has her back legs tucked in because Choco just sniffed her butt...

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Finding a new place to sleep to keep Yumi company while she's working.

Posted by Paul at 05:50 PM

August 14, 2005

Accepted for Communication MA at Royal Roads

I was accepted into the Master of Arts in Applied Communication at Royal Roads University about ten days ago. I didn't blog about it, because it's still sinking in.

I'm really looking forward to the program, however it will be a big change in lifestyle for the next two years starting Oct. 17. The program is designed to be completed while working full time, with the courses said to take about 22 hours per week.

Each year of the two-year MA starts with an intensive 3-week residency on the beautiful Royal Roads campus in Victoria, BC, while the rest of the work is done online.

It's exciting and a bit scary going back to school after a 20-year hiatus. I aim to apply what I learn to growing my business, and anticipate making new friends and contacts.

Posted by Paul at 06:28 PM

August 12, 2005

Welcoming New Family Member - Choco the Cat

We adopted a 2 to 3-year-old female cat from the Burnaby SPCA this afternoon. Cute black and white domestic medium hair. We've named her Choco.

Aside from peeing in her transport box in the car, thereby getting covered in urine and mandating a bath as her first event in her new home, poor thing, (amazingly she didn't claw us) she's doing very well. Very sociable and steadily exploring more of the house. It will take awhile to teach her that our turtle Midori is not prey or a toy, though!

She's shedding like crazy from the stress, but we hope that'll clear up as she gets more relaxed.

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Here's Choco cuddling with me in my office on her first day home.

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Choco meeting Midori the turtle.

Posted by Paul at 09:00 PM

August 11, 2005

Byrne Creek Fish Trappers Skunked

Byrne Creek Streamkeepers completed their annual summer fish trapping in the creek with dismal results that seem to back up annecdotal evidence of low fish populations this year. It's disappointing as we seemed to have an excellent coho hatch early this spring followed by plenty of cutthroat fry that appeared later.

The summer trapping (which is approved by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans) produced only 12 cutthroat trout and 2 coho in nine traps, compared to 60 fish, five of which were coho, during the winter pre-hatch trapping.

Several streamkeepers also feel that stickleback numbers are way down from previous years, judging from visual observations at places where they usually hang out.

We hope this is just an anomaly, as creek conditions have generally been improving slightly over the last few years.

Posted by Paul at 10:45 PM

August 09, 2005

Media Finally Sees Long-Term Spill Implications

I was happy to see that CBC television news yesterday and the Vancouver Sun today had items covering the long-term implications of the Cheakamus River toxic spill. It's been interesting to watch this story develop. I don't know what took so long -- it was obvious days ago that there had been a massive kill of fish and other aquatic animals.

Posted by Paul at 04:48 PM

August 08, 2005

Where's the Toxic Spill Outrage?

Well, here it is, the fourth day after a CN train derailment spilled a toxic chemical into the lower Cheakamus River, killing tens of thousands of fish and other aquatic animals, and not a peep about it on the press release websites of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans or the BC Ministry of the Environment.

As for CN, its press release site still doesn't mention the massive kill.

I don't get it. If this had been a spill by a mining company, there would have been universal outrage.

Posted by Paul at 02:03 PM

August 07, 2005

CN Ignoring Fish Kill?

It's interesting to see that as of noon Sunday, Aug. 7, the CN press release site still makes no mention of the massive fish kill in the Cheakamus River caused by the train derailment north of Squamish that spilled sodium hydroxide into the river.

It'll be interesting to monitor this site and see what they publish in the coming days...

Posted by Paul at 12:50 PM

August 06, 2005

Toxic Spill Wipes Out Lower Cheakamus River

A Canadian National Railways train derailed on a bridge over the Cheakamus River north of Squamish on Friday, Aug. 5, 2005.

According to the Provincial Emergency Program, "One car carrying a load of 53,140 litres of 73% sodium hydroxide, an extremely corrosive solution, ruptured and spilled into the Cheakamus River; which feeds the Squamish River system. This resulted in significant environmental impact and reports have been received of all-species fish kill downstream of the spill."

It appears that thousands if not tens of thousands of fish have been killed, including chinook salmon, coho salmon, chum salmon, steelhead, dolly varden, trout, sculpins, lamprey etc.

Yumi and I received a call for volunteers, so we drove up and helped collect and tally fish this afternoon at the Tenderfoot Creek Hatchery.

It was depressing work on a gorgeous sunny day. First we helped count and measure steelhead fry, and then we joined a recovery crew in the river. Here are a few photos:

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Hard to believe, but that one Ziplock bag contained 240 steelhead fry ranging in size from 25 - 50mm.

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Yumi looks at a beautiful chinook that a recovery crew brought in. Beneath it were a dolly varden and an early chum.

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That's me in my chest waders in the Cheakamus, looking for dead fish.

There are more photos and info on the Pacific Streamkeepers Federation website.

Posted by Paul at 09:32 PM