March 27, 2014

DFO Study Shows Habitat Compensation is Lagging Badly

The link below leads to a Department of Fisheries and Oceans report (PDF) that basically says that habitat compensation is not working as it should. According to the abstract:

  • No net loss of habitat isn't working
  • Critical and important habitats are affected the most
  • DFO needs to better address "proponent non-compliance"
  • DFO needs to "incorporate science-based monitoring"

And this was published in 2012, before the watering down of the Fisheries Act and accompanying regulations. Before the shutting of habitat offices and decimation of science staff.

Thanks to a fellow SEHAB board member for this lead.

Posted by Paul at 05:01 PM | TrackBack

Welcoming Edmonds Town Centre Redevelopment in Burnaby

I don't know how often watershed stewards welcome development, but as a volunteer streamkeeper I'm looking forward to some major redevelopment in the upper Edmonds area of Burnaby that impacts Byrne Creek.

Why am I excited? Because two huge areas -- the former Safeway distribution/warehousing site, and the present Value Village site -- are presently nearly 100% impervious. They are basically asphalt or concrete from corner to corner. Impervious areas are bad for urban creeks and watersheds because any rain that falls on them shoots directly into drains and into the creek. These massive flows cause erosion, and carry pollutants into the waterways.

Urban watersheds are much healthier when rain is allowed to percolate into the ground, where it is naturally filtered and passes slowly into creeks as ground water.

So I figure that with 2010s standards and best management practices, as opposed to 100% impervious 1950s and 60s standards, things can only improve.

The Byrne Creek Streamkeepers Society has been appearing at development open houses and forums, and we've made great contacts with the developers, not to mention our long-standing ongoing relationships with the City of Burnaby Planning and Engineering Departments. With everyone working together, I think we will see some fantastic, creek-friendly amenities happening along with the planned developments.

I'm excited about the opportunities that may include "daylighting" or opening up some of the upper creek where it was piped decades ago, and other potential benefits such as rain gardens, roadside swales, infiltration ponds and galleries, etc. These would not only be beneficial to the health of the creek, they would also provide beautification that would positively impact property values. Win - win, eh?

Posted by Paul at 03:59 PM

March 22, 2014

Evergreen Urban Watersheds Forum

Enjoyed the Evergreen Urban Watersheds Forum and Field Trip the last two days.

Day one was in downtown Vancouver. There were short, inspirational presentations from several stewardship groups, lots of organized activities ranging from strengths/weaknesses analyses to brainstorming on how urban watersheds could look 50 years from now and what would it take to get there. Also great networking. I had a great time chatting with folks from many stewardship groups.

Today there was a field trip to visit a couple of sites on the North Shore:

Dr. Ken Ashley from BCIT presenting estuary restoration work being done in McKay Creek in City of NorthVan

Forum field trip today at Creekway Park with biologist Nick Page from Van Park Board

Note: the above two links and photos courtesy of the Evergreen BC Twitter feed.

Some info on the program and list of participants here:

Posted by Paul at 04:38 PM | TrackBack

March 14, 2014

Burnaby Posts Impressive Public Engagement Schedule for Enviro Strategy

The City of Burnaby has had an Environmental Sustainability Strategy underway for some time now, to supplement the Social and Economic Sustainability Plans that it has produced over the last few years. I was named to the Steering Committee, and have greatly enjoyed the process, ably facilitated by well-organized Burnaby staff and consultants.

The other day I noticed that that an impressive list of public engagement events has been posted to the ESS website. With such a wide variety of venues over so many days, there's no excuse for citizens to say they aren't being consulted. Make your voice heard!

Check out the engagement opportunities here.

Posted by Paul at 07:43 PM

March 12, 2014

Toying With Writing a Couple of Monetized Blogs

I'm contemplating setting up a couple of blogs that I would attempt to monetize. I have been blogging off and on for over ten years, but I have never participated in any ad programs or other reward systems.

I recently bought the domain names, and in case I decide to try this. Those are my three passions: reading/writing/editing, photography, and music, and my middle name is Zenon, hence the "paulz" works on a couple of levels.

I'd most likely start with paulzbooks for book reviews, and writing and editing related posts. I make my living as a freelance editor, so it's a natural fit.

Of course such a venture would only make sense if I eventually earned an equivalent per-hour rate to my standard editing rate. There are those who claim (often those who are flogging blog-writing courses and programs) that good money can be earned in such ventures, depending on the quality of the blog and the audience that it attracts.

I'll give it some more thought and research.

Posted by Paul at 08:07 PM | TrackBack

March 02, 2014

Amazed Anyone Still Believes Russian Propaganda

I cannot believe that any intelligent, educated Westerners are still buying into Russian propaganda. But then it's been happening for at least 350 years, be it under the Tsars, under the Soviets, or under the new Russian imperialism. The only constant is that under all those regimes, Russia has been, and is, the oppressor, and Ukraine has been, and as Putin's recent actions attest to, remains oppressed.

There is no brotherhood here.

There is an empire, that under both Tsarist and Soviet regimes tried, respectively, for centuries and decades, to Russify Ukraine, and deliberately destroy the Ukrainian language, culture, and indigenous forms of the Orthodox and Catholic churches.

What's happening now is nothing new. It's simply the continuation of centuries of Russian imperialism, and constant Russian paranoia among its ruling class, that it too, may someday be "infected" with democracy and freedom. Horrors.

Posted by Paul at 03:20 PM