August 31, 2008

Byrne Creek Sediment Pond Profiling

The sediment pond upstream of the Byrne Creek artificial spawning habitat is to be cleaned out next week, and streamkeepers decided to do a depth profile of the accumulated silt and gravel, so that we can learn how fast the pond fills after it's been cleaned.

Streamkeeper John W. told me about a method using a transverse line knotted at 1-meter intervals, from which a weighted line is dropped with tabs at 10cm intervals. The method worked like a charm; however, my wife Yumi had to go through some contortions to anchor the line on the side of the pond with a lot of growth next to it!

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Yumi setting up the ropes.

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Me checking out the drop line.

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Streamkeeper John G. helps collect data.

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Yumi burrowing through the bush.

Posted by Paul at 07:35 PM

August 25, 2008

Whistler, Lillooet, Lytton Loop

Itchy feet and an itchy trigger finger put me on the road today to get out into the mountains and shoot some photos. I went north up the 99 to Squamish, Whistler and Pemberton, carried on past Duffey Lake and over to Lillooet. Then it was back south to Lytton, Hope, and home to Burnaby. It never ceases to amaze me how varied the landscape is in BC, and how quickly you can transition from one ecological zone to another. The weather also changes by the hour as you travel, and today I encountered everything from hot sun to torrential rain.

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On the 99 north.

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Near the Joffre Lakes parking lot.

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Near the Joffre Lakes parking lot.

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Cayoosh Creek.

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Duffey Lake.

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Setton Lake, just west of Lillooet.

I've stopped at this spot perhaps four or five times over the last ten years, and I have never seen this lake calm. Powerful winds funnel down between the mountains, raising whitecaps and making boats tied to the dock buck like broncos mad at being tethered.

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Heading south on highway 12.

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North of Lytton.

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Posted by Paul at 09:51 PM

August 22, 2008

Spider Lunches On Fly

This spider had already wrapped up this fly on our balcony when I came across the scene. The spider withdrew at my presence, but when it figured I wasn't a threat, it descended back onto the fly to continue its lunch.

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Taken with my new Nikon D300 with the 18-200 zoom at its maximum of 200mm. Shots taken at various ISOs from 200 - 800, resulting in exposures of around 1/250 at F stops of 6.3 - 9. The difference in background colours resulted from using the flash in some shots.

Posted by Paul at 04:16 PM

August 16, 2008

Nikon D300

I've added a Nikon D300 with a Nikkor AF-S DX 18-200mm zoom (27-300mm equivalent on a 35mm camera) to my arsenal. It was a major, and expensive, step to get back into SLR photography after over a decade of sticking to digital point-and-shoot cameras. The D300 is a big, heavy beast, but a DSLR has much greater potential creative control and image quality. It'll be fun going through the manual and playing around with all the menus and functions!

I have several old 35mm film Nikons and a bunch of Nikkor lenses that are basically worthless now -- no trade-in value at all, though I paid several thousand dollars for the gear (in mid-1970s to early 1980s dollars!). While these old, magnificent, optics can still be used on high-end digital Nikons like the D300, it's a bit of a hassle, and when you have a super-zoom that pretty much covers the range of four or five of the old lenses....

But I guess it all worked out -- though I've never been a professional photographer, I made enough money using that old equipment to pay for it, and I hope to do the same with the big investment in the D300 and lens...

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The "worthless" collection...

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The hefty new D300.

Posted by Paul at 05:09 PM

August 12, 2008

Recognizing Spirit of Edmonds Volunteers

As president of the Edmonds Town Centre Business and Community Association I would like to thank Monica Mueller and Doug Harder for taking the lead on producing the third Spirit of Edmonds Car Show and Street Festival this summer. Last night was the volunteer appreciation event that wrapped up this year's cycle, and it was great to recognize all of the people who contributed.

I want to thank all of the businesses that supported the event in so many ways -- through lead and secondary sponsorships, with prizes, with products for the gift bags, with volunteer time, etc. You stepped up to the plate to make this third Spirit of Edmonds bigger and better.

I would also like to thank the dozens of volunteers who gave freely of their time. Without such volunteer effort, events like this would never get off the ground. You truly deserve this recognition.

Thanks to MLA Raj Chouhan, who represented the provincial legislature at the volunteer evening tonight, and who passed on regrets from MP Peter Julian who was unable to attend. Peter did sign several dozen recognition certificates that were awarded tonight -- thanks! Raj and Peter also spent several hours at the event on July 27.

The City of Burnaby provided generous in-kind assistance for the Spirit of Edmonds, and Mayor Derek Corrigan attended the festival to help promote the neighbourhood and to personally choose the Mayor's Award winner. Thanks! Kudos also to the hardworking Parks, Recreation and Culture staff at Eastburn Community Centre who provided so much assistance, not to mention the use of their facility and its assets. And did you get a load of that dragster eco-sculpture? Wow!

Thanks too, to the RCMP and auxiliary members who help so much to make everything go smoothly.

I also greatly enjoyed meeting this year's Spirit ambassadors, the Digneys -- a family with an amazing history in Burnaby. I loved watching Joyce and Ernie after they had cut the cake celebrating the 60th anniversary of the Digney Speedway, as people walked up to them, and they would light up and glow to see folks they may not have been in touch with for decades. It was heartwarming....

So now the challenge is preparing for the fourth Spirit of Edmonds. Monica is stepping down as festival chair after an overachieving three-year run, and she certainly deserves to take a break. I admire her drive and stamina! How will our association fill her shoes?

We will need a larger, stronger Spirit committee with more people taking on smaller pieces of the organizing pie to share the load. Ideas and suggestions are welcome!

Posted by Paul at 05:55 PM

August 11, 2008

Fish-Friendly Car Wash Kits

Having a car wash fundraiser? Make sure you're not polluting your local creek while you're at it -- all street drains lead directly to local waterways with no treatment. So what's the solution? A salmon-friendly car wash kit. I picked this up from the Pacific Streamkeepers Federation bulletin board and think it's a great idea.

Check out this info on the kits from our neighbours to the south in King County, Washington.

It would be great if the City of Burnaby would get a few of these kits and make them available at community centres!

Posted by Paul at 01:37 PM

August 09, 2008

My Multicultural Olympics

Well, the Beijing Olympics are underway, and despite my early aloofness, I'm getting caught up in the action. It's easier when you can cheer for five countries :-). I'm Canadian of Ukrainian descent, my wife is Japanese, and my sister is married to an American of Korean descent.

So I'm happy if Canada, Japan, Ukraine, South Korea or the US win an event. The trouble comes when representatives of some or all of these countries are in the same event. I guess I just revealed my order of preference, but I'm happiest if Canada comes first and any of the others follow. The main reason the US comes last in my top five faves is because it's such a powerhouse, and all of the other four are somewhat underdogs.

Posted by Paul at 08:21 PM

August 08, 2008

Blame Mother Nature?

People on a mailing list were discussing the damage humans do to the environment, and the "damage" that Mother Nature does. Here was my two cents:

I suppose it depends on one's definition of "damage." A lot of what Mother Nature does could also be called "renewal" or "ecosystem change or development" or.... Nature is not static by nature :-).

The kind of damage that humans do is very different from the kind of damage that Mother Nature does. Our damage tends to be more permanent. Once we've changed something, we are loath to see nature reclaim or reuse it in any shape, manner or form.

As a streamkeeper, I like to use the example of rivers. In their natural, healthy state, rivers are alive. They shift, they move, they're full of snags that provide habitat, they carry and turn over gravel that fish need to spawn in. They are constantly changing. They flood, and floods are good because the silt and accompanying biota renew the land.

Then people come along and choose to build in the flood plain. Now suddenly for one species -- us -- the annual flooding isn't all that pleasant, so then comes the channeling, the diking, the building of dams. Those snags and other woody debris are dangerous for boaters, so they're pulled out. The river is dredged to provide safe passage. The spawning gravel is mined for more construction. The river is a shackled shadow of its former self.

In addition, we choose to take our bodily and manufacturing wastes and pipe them into rivers, often with little or no treatment.

And the irony is that it is we who make rivers "dangerous" through all of our construction. The forests are gone, the meadows are gone, the wetlands are gone, so when it rains the water has nowhere to go but into the storm-drain system and then directly into the river, instead of soaking into the ground. And all that diking and channeling ends up just collecting all the force that would have dissipated in a natural flood plain. So when the levee breaks and we suffer damage.... whose fault is it? Can we blame Mother Nature?

Posted by Paul at 04:36 PM