September 18, 2012

Green Chamber of Commerce of BC Founders’ Workshop

Not sure if I have room for another organization in my life, but this Green Chamber of Commerce of BC Founders' Club Workshop sounds interesting, so I've signed up.

Posted by Paul at 09:00 PM

September 13, 2012

Volunteer Organization of the Year Awarded to Byrne Creek Streamkeepers

The Byrne Creek Streamkeepers Society in Burnaby, BC, was pleasantly surprized to receive a Volunteer Organization of the Year award from the Washington-British Columbia Chapter of the American Fisheries Society.

Dr. John Morgan of Vancouver Island University, President-Elect of the WA-BC chapter wrote: "At our recent annual general meeting in Victoria, the Byrne Creek Streamkeepers were selected for the Volunteer Organization of the Year, awarded to volunteers in the BC-Washington region who have made exemplary contributions to fisheries conservation, education and science. Congratulations!"

According to its website, the American Fisheries Society is "the oldest, largest, and most influential association of fisheries professionals in the world", and its "mission is to improve the conservation and sustainability of fishery resources and aquatic ecosystems by advancing fisheries and aquatic science and promoting the development of fisheries professionals."

The streamkeeper group was honoured to receive such recognition after thousands of hours of volunteer work over many years, working with partners including Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the City of Burnaby, and the Pacific Streamkeepers Federation that provides training in streamkeeping modules.

As a streamkeeper, it is particularly gratifying to be recognized by a professional association for efforts as citizen scientists. The Byrne Creek group has over a decade of data collected on salmon spawner returns, aquatic invertebrate counts, resident fish trapping, invasive plant species mapping, etc.

Stephanie Avery-Gomm, a graduate student at UBC, and WA-BC chapter student representative, presented the award at a BCSS monthly meeting on Sept. 13, 2012.

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Posted by Paul at 10:11 PM

September 03, 2012

Person Damaging Sensitive Areas of Byrne Creek Alarms Streamkeepers

The Byrne Creek Streamkeepers Society in conjunction with the City of Burnaby Parks Dept. sent out the following press release on Aug. 31:

Repeated damage near the banks of Byrne Creek in southeast Burnaby has dismayed streamkeepers who help protect and restore this urban oasis, and monitor its salmon and other wildlife.

"We're seeing trails cut, branches torn off, trees cut down, salmonberry bushes and ferns torn out--it's distressing," said Paul Cipywnyk, president of the Byrne Creek Streamkeepers Society. "Our members put in hundreds of volunteer hours every year and we've planted some of those trees with City permission. It's so sad to see someone thoughtlessly cutting them down."

Cipywnyk said streamkeepers have been reporting damage to City staff, and are documenting it with photos. "City staff are also appalled and are very supportive," said Cipywnyk. "We're working together to quickly come up with ways to educate folks that such behaviour is unacceptable."

Burnaby Parks sees similar damage--usually created unintentionally by park users who go off trails to create a short-cut route or to explore new areas, or by dog owners who allow their pets to roam off-leash. Departing from designated trails, park users destroy plants and wildlife habitat. The City reminds all park users to respect the environment and stay on trails and keep their pets leashed at all times.

Unfortunately, the damage this time seems much more deliberate and there is not much that can be done unless someone reports the person in the act.

Burnaby RCMP say citizens should not personally intervene if they witness such acts, and ask them to call police.

Cipywnyk notes that members of the public are coming forward with sightings and descriptions of at least one person observed doing such damage. "We thank everyone who has contacted our group, and we encourage the public to pass any tips on to Burnaby RCMP."

"We hope the person or persons involved will read this and stop their destructive behaviour," Cipywnyk said. "We don't aim to be punitive, we just want the damage to end. We're hoping this is not malicious and that perhaps someone simply doesn't understand the negative impact of such actions. We are very fortunate to have jewels like Byrne Creek Ravine Park in our midst, and we should treat such green havens with respect."

-- 30 --

We received plenty of coverage in the local papers and on Global TV. As of two weeks later, it seem that fresh damage is diminishing, so we hope the message got through.

Burnaby Now: Burnaby streamkeepers upset over creekside damage

Global TV: New trails being cut out in Byrnaby's Byrne Creek by a mysterious stranger

Burnaby Newsleader: Damage near Byrne Creek alarms streamkeepers, city

Posted by Paul at 09:21 PM