Water is essential for life and is shared among all living things. Water creates and sustains healthy habitats for salmon and for killer whales, and provides drinking water for people. From pesticides to tire particles in salmon streams, from PCBs in killer whales to microplastics in zooplankton, from bacteria to lead in tap water – we are all impacted by water pollution.
Working with our Indigenous communities and organizational partners, we will build a community-oriented water pollution monitoring capacity that provides insight into the quality of water for homes and for the habitats of salmon and whales. With 80% of ocean pollution coming from land, we are all connected to the ocean.
To launch this program, Raincoast has recruited toxicologist Dr. Peter S. Ross, an internationally recognized ocean pollution expert who has published over 160 scientific articles and book chapters on pollutants of concern in the oceans, and impacts on fish, seals, whales and people. Read more about Peter.
An invisible crisis
Since no single agency is responsible for the pollution of water in all its forms, there is an urgent need for a more comprehensive approach to monitoring water pollution in British Columbia – one that seamlessly captures water along its journey from headwaters to homes, street runoff to rivers, and rivers to the ocean. And one that helps to identify solution-oriented priorities for all of us.
A community invitation
Using a collaborative framework we will build a water pollution monitoring plan with community water stewards, notably Indigenous Nations. The initiative will begin in the urbanized Fraser River and Salish Sea watersheds, with the possibility of a BC-wide expansion. The collaborative process considers the needs of community collaborators at the conception, design, implementation and dissemination phases and considers processes for input from multiple parties at each stage.
Read our report on contaminants in the Semá:th X̱ó:tsa (Sumas Lake) region
A lake re-emerges: Analysis of contaminants in the Semá:th X̱ó:tsa (Sumas Lake) region following the BC floods of 2021
Citation: Ross, P.S., Walters, K.E., Yunker, M. and B. Lo. 2022. A lake re-emerges: Analysis of contaminants in the Semá:th X̱ó:tsa (Sumas Lake) region following the BC floods of 2021. Raincoast Conservation Foundation. Sidney BC Canada. ISBN 978-1-9993892-6-0 www.raincoast.org/reports/flood-water/
November 2022 | ISBN 978-1-9993892-6-0
Written by Peter S. Ross, Kristen Walters, Mark Yunker, and Bonnie Lo
Get in touch
Consultation at the start and throughout the program’s timeline will foster acceptance within communities, encourage participation and sharing, create a robust network of custodians, and deliver informed data and priorities to homeowners, communities, Indigenous Nations, stakeholders and authorities.
If you answer ‘yes’ to any of these questions, we’d like to hear from you.
A version of this article was published by Vancouver Sun on December 8, 2022. In November 2021, we viewed with alarm the unfolding flood disaster in southern BC. With government agencies…
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Last year, we launched our Healthy Waters Program to provide a much-needed community-oriented water pollution monitoring capacity, and bring insight into the health of water for people and for the…