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Ducks Unlimited launches 'largest conservation campaign ever' to save wetlands
Colette Derworiz, Calgary Herald October 2, 2015
Ducks Unlimited is launching a $2-billion campaign to save North America’s wetlands.
On Saturday, the organization is holding a public event in Calgary to launch Rescue Our Wetlands — a conservation and fundraising campaign that stretches across Canada, the United States and Mexico.
“It’s likely the largest conservation campaign ever initiated, certainly in North America and maybe in the world,” said Greg Siekaniec, chief executive officer for Ducks Unlimited. “The Ducks Unlimited Canada portion is $500 million.
“We have a conservation mission that is to preserve wetlands and grassland habitat on the ground.”
The campaign, which is taking place over seven years, will reach out to conservation-minded donors and organizations, and rely on matching government programs. It will then be used to fund habitat conservation and restoration, public policy initiatives, national education programs and wetland research.
“Wetlands are becoming in short supply in many parts of Canada,” said Siekaniec, noting some areas have lost up to 70 per cent of the wetlands that were once there. “The land conversion continues at a very rapid rate and we’ve learned that wetlands are important to have on the landscape.”
Wetlands clean water, serve as critical habitat for wildlife, help mitigate climate change, provide flood and drought protection and serve as natural spaces for recreation and education.
In August 2014, the Alberta government dedicated $31 million over three years to two programs aimed at restoring wetlands and fish habitats that were destroyed in the 2013 flood. It acknowledged a healthy watershed is one of the best defences against floods and droughts.
The Ducks Unlimited campaign, which started with a quiet phase in January 2012, will build on those types of government programs.
It has already raised $287 million of the $500 million needed in Canada.
“We’ve got really strong momentum right now,” said Siekaniec. “We’re going to give it everything we can between our board of directors, our employees within the organization, our volunteers.
“Everybody is pulling together in a really tight, co-ordinated fundraising effort.”
The campaign will launched publicly with a family-friendly event from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday at the Ducks Unlimited Canada Marsh at Bow Habitat Station, 1440-17A Street S.E. in Calgary.
MUN water-drinking restrictions lifted except at Queen’s College
The Telegram September 27, 2015
MUN and the Chief Medical Officer of Health agree: water at the university’s St. John’s campus is drinkable.
Memorial University has lifted drinking water restrictions, saying the most recent in a series of water-quality test results show that the average exposure levels in samples from the university are within the Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality.
“The results we’ve received to date indicate that lead exposure from drinking water is not a concern on campus, with only a few localized issues related to things like stagnant water, individual fittings and low volume, that have been addressed,” Kent Decker, vice-president of administration and finance for the university, said in a water quality update.
“Our health and safety experts are more than comfortable that these levels are safe. They do recommend that the best sources of drinking water are the chilled and filtered stations and washrooms are not a recommended source of potable drinking water.”
One localized issue is at Queen’s College, where bottled water will continue to be made available due to what MUN calls “previously identified water quality issues.”
After tests first showed elevated levels of lead in the drinking water in July, the university underwent several followup rounds of testing, taking hundreds of samples over the past few months.
Samples would first be drawn after water had been stagnant for eight to 24 hours, as those samples would contain the highest possible concentration of lead. Then, after water has been flowing for some time, another sample would be taken.
According to a statement from the university, none of the most recent flush samples — 86 from the arts and administration building and 70 from the science building — exceeded Health Canada’s guidelines for lead or any other metal.
Some of the stagnant samples, taken from biotechnology, computing services and the library, showed elevated levels. The university said it will continue to work on improving water quality; it has already removed some old fountain sand installed filters at water bottle-filling stations.
The biotechnology building now has a lead-removing filter system in the kitchen/lounge sink (BT-3015); a water bottle-filling stations has been added to the chemistry building and another will be put in the biotechnology building; a fountain with a filter has been installed in computing services; and bottled water will continue to be available at Queen’s College.
“The steps Memorial has put in place are appropriate and I would have no concern personally consuming the drinking water at the university,” said Dr. David Allison, Chief Medical Officer of Health.
The full update from the university can be read here (www.mun.ca/health_safety/Waterqualityupdate.php). To see the water quality testing results, visit www.mun.ca/health_safety/Water_sample_chart.pdf.
City's on the move with latest piece of public art
Michele Jarvie, Calgary Herald September 26, 2015
They say one man’s waste is another man’s art and the city is taking that to heart.
Instead of quietly flushing away, the city is putting the spotlight on a new wastewater station in the northeast. Calgarians are invited to the Saturday night opening (7-8:30 p.m.) of the Forest Lawn Lift Station which houses a new piece of public art.
The station near the intersection of 19th Avenue and 26th Street S.E. provides enough sanitary capacity for the growing east side of Calgary for the next 75-plus years. There are more than 40 stations in the city which lift wastewater from low-lying areas to higher areas.
“Despite their vital role … few people notice these usually nondescript buildings or understand their importance,” says Chris Huston, manager of field services for the city’s water department.
A collaboration between architects, artists and engineers, the new station features an exact, to-scale map of the underground pipes connected to the station. The map uses LED lighting and live data to show, in real time, the water travelling though the system on its way to the Bonnybrook Wastewater Treatment Plant. As the lights change colour, they show what is happening underground.
The station is a project of the city’s Watershed+ program which embeds artists with the Utilities and Environmental Protection (UEP) department. The work is one of several in the city created by Sans facon, a Glasgow-based collective.
Milton without water as Lily Pond dries up again
Kevin Curley, The Telegram September 23, 2015
Local Service District seeks solutions
Lily pond has dried up and once again the citizens of Milton are left without water.
Milton faced this problem last October and the community hooked up to Clarenville at a monthly cost of $50 per household, for seven weeks until the levels of their water source returned to normal.
Craig Pardy, Chair of the Local Service District, told The Packet today that he can’t say definitively when Milton will be hooked up, but the Local Service District has been in talks with Clarenville again.
“We had been tracking it (Lily Pond); getting measurements from the bulkhead and looking at people who have worked with the pond for years and monitoring it. But it seems like it must have hit a critical level and almost emptied,” says Pardy.
On account of the radical drop in water, the intake valve hit the bottom of the pond and had to be elevated.
“The bottom line is that there is not enough water there to continue with,” says Pardy.
Pardy says he wishes this repeat from last year could have been avoided and thinks the community should have sounded the alarm weeks ago.
“There was a lot of collaboration on it and everyone figured she would recover, especially coming into the later part of September,” says Pardy.
Pardy says a public meeting could be on the horizon but a date hasn’t been set.
The provincial government also recently approved Milton for a $400,000 water project, which Pardy says should cure their water woes. However, it’s a matter of finding a temporary solution until that project can be completed.
“Lily Pond recovered last year when we came off it after seven weeks. After seven weeks the water was flowing over the bulkhead. It was full and running out of its containment. So maybe in five or six weeks we may have the pond back,” says Pardy.
“We’ll know now that there is a critical time that we have to come off it in the future.”
Pardy says he has been in talks with the town of Clarenville to make an arrangement similar to what they had last year. An agreement has not been finalized.
“I’m not sure as to what time it is that we can expect to be hooked up. I don’t have that information yet.”
Stay posted to www.thepacket.ca for more details on this story as they develop.
Metro Vancouver water restrictions now at Stage 1
The Canadian Press September 22, 2015
VANCOUVER - Residents in the Vancouver area can turn on their lawn sprinklers in the morning under eased watering restrictions.
Metro Vancouver, the authority that governs water use for 21 local cities and municipalities, has downgraded its water restrictions to Stage 1.
Stage 3 restrictions prohibiting residential lawn watering were implemented in mid-July because hot, dry weather and increased water use dropped the level of local reservoirs.
Metro Vancouver downgraded the restrictions to Stage 2 on Sept. 9, allowing residents to water lawns once a week and wash driveways, sidewalks and parkades for health and safety reasons.
The three local reservoirs now stand at about 60 per cent capacity, which Metro Vancouver says is a result of recent rains and reduced water consumption during cooler weather.
Stage 1 restrictions will remain in place until Oct. 15 and allow residents to water their lawns in the morning but not in the evening when demand for water is highest.
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