December 28, 2006

Vancouver Sunset From Cypress Lookout

A quick trip to Brackendale Eagles Provincial Park to view the annual gathering of bald eagles proved fruitful, with over 50 of the magnificent birds present. I didn't take any photos with my puny little pocket digital camera; however, I did get a few sunset shots on the way home when we stopped at the Cypress Mountain lookout.

The view to the west.

City lights appear as the moon floats overhead.

Posted by Paul at 08:26 PM

December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas From Choco the Cat

There's nothing like opening presents, and exploring piles of crumpled wrapping paper, to make a cat happy. I love how the flash turned Choco's eyes the same color as the paper she's playing under.


Merry Christmas from all of us!

Posted by Paul at 12:35 PM

December 18, 2006

Excellent Videos on West Coast Salmon

Excellent series of videos on salmon, their life cycle, their decline, and their historical relationship to people and life on the west coast. Thanks to Zo Anne (Pacific Streamkeepers Federation) and Joan (Stream of Dreams) for the links!

The last run, part 1:
The last run, part 2:
The last run, part 3:

Posted by Paul at 11:42 AM

December 17, 2006

Streamkeepers Wrap Trees Against Beavers

Beavers have been mowing down trees in the artificial spawning habitat on Burnaby's Byrne Creek. While the Byrne Creek Streamkeepers are all for urban biodiversity, we felt we had to protect the trees in the habitat that provide crucial shade for the spawning channel in the summer, so we had a tree-wrapping session this morning. We use chicken wire, and it's effective in keeping Canada's national symbol at bay :-).

A view of some of the damage.

Here I am going at it with chicken wire and cutters.

My wife Yumi, Bob, and Rusty, one of our mascots.

Posted by Paul at 07:05 PM

December 16, 2006

Amazing 'Life Through Time' Slideshow

Amazing photos and music.

Brew a cup of tea, sit back, and watch the show...

Click "Start the Journey"

Then "View the slideshow"

I'd suggest resisting "clicking the photos to learn more" or clicking ahead until you've seen the show once. You can always go back.

Posted by Paul at 09:26 PM

December 15, 2006

Storms Expose Urban Vulnerabilities

The recent storms that have knocked out power and blocked roads on Vancouver Island, the coast and the lower mainland of British Columbia further expose the vulnerabilities of our urban, energy dependent lifestyles. Not long after lower mainlanders witnessed scuffles over buying bottled water when we had a boil-water advisory for a couple of weeks, now many of us have not had power for several days, or in some areas, even longer.

I wonder what might happen if ever a more serious disaster hit the area, like the "big one" earthquake that could occur at any time. How many of us are really prepared?

And what would happen if we had to go longer than the 72 hours that emergency officials advise us to stock up for? We are so dependent on electricity, on running water, on food with long supply chains...

We've been lucky so far -- the power is still on at our house and since we work from home we haven't faced commuting in this mess. I ventured out this afternoon to pay our business licence and run some errands. The power was out at Burnaby City Hall, but they took my payment. Then when I tried to get to Metrotown, the streets were jammed because lights at intersections were out. With no pressing need to get my chores done, I decided it would be best to go home and wait it out.

We've had several wakeup calls over the last month or so -- are we listening?

Posted by Paul at 02:11 PM

December 13, 2006

Byrne Creek Patrol Finds Oil Still Seeping, Dead Cutthroat

The oil that streamkeepers saw entering Burnaby's Byrne Creek a week ago is still trickling out of a storm outfall. City environmental staff put a boom in to try to soak some of it up, but it doesn't appear to be very effective. Today we found a dead cutthroat trout a few meters downstream of where the substance is entering the creek, and while it's impossible to say there is a causal relationship, it's possible the fish blundered into a pocket of the pollutant.

This little cutthroat trout had no visible external damage and was 17.5cm long.

As we worked our way upstream looking for spawning salmon, the sun broke through.

It's beautiful moments like this that lift a streamkeeper's spirits!

Posted by Paul at 05:37 PM

December 11, 2006

Burnaby Acknowledges Streamkeepers, Stream of Dreams

There's a nice mention of the Byrne Creek Streamkeepers and the Stream of Dreams Murals Society on this City of Burnaby page. (Check the Community Support area) for their input into the city's Eco-Sculpture program.

As a streamkeeper volunteer and president of the Stream of Dreams board of directors, thanks Burnaby! We enjoy working with the city and appreciate the support.

Posted by Paul at 07:32 PM

December 09, 2006

BC MLA Raj Chouhan Tours Byrne Creek

Byrne Creek Streamkeepers were happy to take BC MLA Raj Chouhan on a tour of the creek this morning. We explained how the watershed works, what we do throughout the year, and what some of our concerns are. We really appreciated the opportunity to share, particularly since MLAs are so busy. Mr. Chouhan gamely followed us through the bush in the spawning habitat, asked many questions, and shared his appreciation for volunteer efforts like ours.


Posted by Paul at 08:04 PM

December 06, 2006

Coho Spawners, Polluting Oil in Byrne Creek

Today Yumi and I did our weekly salmon spawning patrol for the Byrne Creek Streamkeepers in southeast Burnaby. We were happy to find a couple of coho, but were also dismayed to see a steady stream of oil entering the creek from a storm outlet. We called the city's environment department, and they sent staff out to put a boom in and try to trace the source.

Here's the oil entering Byrne Creek.

This outfall has always been problematic, with oily substances appearing quite often. Today the flow was stronger than usual and steady. This must be more than just road wash.

The amount of guck accumulating in the settling pond is also increasing...

A magnificent male coho that we found today.

We measured him and checked out his internals, and his milt was loose so he appeared to have spawned. We process spawners and keep records under the auspices of the DFO.

We were also happy to find a huge new redd, or nest of eggs, in the spawning channel, with a female guarding it. We found the expired male perhaps 15-18 meters downstream, and there are few spawners in the system now, so he may have been her partner.

Posted by Paul at 07:23 PM