Category Archives: Study

Fishing and camping on the Kitimat River

BC launching major study of Kitimat River, Kitimat Arm water quality

The Environmental Protection Division of BC’s Ministry of Environment is launching a major study of the water quality in the Kitimat valley, first on the Kitimat River and some of its tributaries and later on the Kitimat Arm of Douglas Channel. There has been no regular sampling by the province in Kitimat since 1995 (while other organizations such as the District of Kitimat have been sampling). Jessica Penno, from the regional operations branch in Smithers, held a meeting for stakeholders at Riverlodge on Monday night.…

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A seagrass meadow.
(Christoffer Boström)

Eel grass really a flower that stores more carbon than tropical forests, genome reveals

Eel grass is not a seaweed but a flowering plant that migrated to the sea, say scientists who have now mapped the eel grass genome. The study also shows that eel grass ( Zostera marina) is crucial in absorbing carbon dioxide in the soft sediments of the coasts. Eel grasses form a carbon dioxide sink: “they store more carbon than tropical forests,” says Jeanine Olsen of the University of Groningen in the Netherlands who led the study. Coastal sea grass ecosystems cover some 200,000 square…

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A chart from the UBC study shows possible decline in fish species under different climate scenarios.  (PLOS1)

Prepare now for drastic climate change, UBC study warns First Nations’ fishery, other stakeholders

Fewer salmon; many more sardines. That’s one of the predictions from a new study from the University of British Columbia, looking at the future of the fishery on the coast. The study concentrates on the First Nations fishery and warns that aboriginal people could face a catastrophic decline in the harvest of traditional species, especially salmon and herring roe on kelp over the next thirty years, a decline that will also have an equally devastating effect on commercial and recreational fishing. The main cause of…

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BC Environment Appeal Board upholds Rio Tinto sulphur dioxide emissions in Kitimat airshed

The British Columbia Environmental Appeal Board has upheld Rio Tinto’s plans for sulphur dioxide emissions in the Kitimat airshed and dismissed the appeal from residents Emily Toews and Elisabeth Stannus. The 113 page decision was released by the EAB late on December 23. It contains a series of recommendations for further studies and monitoring of the health of Kitimat residents. In effect, the EAB is asking the province (which is all it can do) to spend money and create a new bureaucracy at a time…

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The Exxon Valdez  aground on Bligh Reef in Prince William Sound in May 1989. (NOAA)

“Very low levels” of Exxon Valdez oil threaten salmon and herring survival 25 years later

“Very low levels” of crude oil from the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill in Prince William Sound, Alaska, are a threat to the survival of herring and pink salmon that spawn in the region, according to a study released today by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The study shows that embryonic salmon and herring exposed to very low levels of crude oil can develop hidden heart defects that compromise their later survival. That means that the Exxon Valdez spill on March 24, 1989 may…

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Post-doctoral fellow Barry Madison works with the fish in Valerie Langlois' lab. (Queen's University)

Dilbit dangerous to young fish, laboratory study shows

Diluted bitumen, also known as dilbit, a mixture of oil sands bitumen and natural gas dilutants can seriously harm fish populations, according to research study at Queen’s University and the Royal Military College of Canada published this week. At toxic concentrations, effects of dilbit on exposed fish included deformities and clear signs of genetic and physiological stress at hatch, plus abnormal or uninflated swim bladders, an internal gas-filled organ that allows fish to control their buoyancy. Exposure to dilbit reduces their rate of survival by…

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Fault zone map Douglas Chanel

New Douglas Channel geological studies near completion

Three studies of the geology of Douglas Channel are near completion and publication, according to Natural Resources Canada. That news comes as studies, released today, warn of a major megathrust earthquake on the fault west of Haida Gwaii. Northwest Coast Energy News asked the Geological Survey of Canada if there were any recent updates available after the agency said that a survey had located a “possible fault” on Hawkesbury Island during studies for the Enbridge Northern Gateway Joint Review Panel. “Devastating megathrust earthquake” a “substantial…

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Kitimat Emergency Coordinator Bob McLeod

Is Kitimat ready for a “big one?”

Studies of the October 2012 magnitude 7.8 Haida Gwaii earthquake show that the region is vulnerable to a “major megathrust” earthquake along a newly confirmed fault line west of the islands. That earthquake was felt in Kitimat and Kitamaat Village and a tsunami warning was issued within a few minutes. So have the District of Kitimat, the Haisla Nation Council or Rio Tinto Alcan changed or upgrading their earthquake and tsunami plans in the past couple of years? “Devastating megathrust earthquake” a “substantial hazard” for…

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Area of the proposed Prince Rupert air shed study. (Environment BC)

BC orders Prince Rupert air shed study with wider scope than the Kitimat report

The province of British Columbia has posted a request for bids for an extensive air shed study for Prince Rupert, a study that has much wider scope that the controversial Kitimat air shed study. The maximum cost for the study is set at $500,000. The BC Bid site is asking for  a study of potential impacts to the environment and human health of air emissions from a range of existing and proposed industrial facilities in the Prince Rupert airshed, further referred to as Prince Rupert…

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Pteropod

Ocean acidification growing risk to west coast fishery, including crab and salmon, US studies show

The United States says acidification of the oceans means there is an already growing risk to the northwest coast fishery, including crab and salmon, according to studies released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. As more carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere and absorbed by the oceans, the water is becoming more acidic and that affects many species, especially shellfish, dissolving the shells. A NOAA study released today of environmental and economic risks to the Alaska fishery says: Many of Alaska’s nutritionally and…

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