Thu, Dec 1, 2022 9:30am – 3:00pm
Human sewage and wastewater are having profound effects on the marine environment, human communities and businesses surrounding Baynes Sound. The Steering Committee of the Baynes Sound/Lambert Channel EcoForum has organized our next session around this critical challenge.
The nature of this working session requires limited seating. We invite you to reserve your seat now for Thursday, December 1, 2022, between 9:30am and 3:00pm at Vancouver Island University’s Deep Bay Marine Station.
This EcoForum will provide an opportunity for local, regional, provincial, federal and First Nations governments, industry, and conservation groups to participate in a learning exchange. Facilitated discussions will help identify solutions and the steps needed to nurture a healthy marine ecosystem.
A finalized programme is coming soon. Here is the tentative agenda:
The Morning Session:
9:15 – 9:30 AM Find the room, settle in, grab a coffee, say hello
9:30 – 9:45 AM
Land acknowledgment /Opening and Updates from Steering Committee
9:45 -10:30 AM
NEW DATA ON A DEADLY PROBLEM
Contamination of Pacific oysters by human norovirus is a major impediment to sustainable shellfish farming in coastal waters of British Columbia. Human noroviruses are not marine viruses. They originate from a human source. A barrier to effective management is a paucity of data on how far human noroviruses can disperse in coastal waters of British Columbia from boats, leaking septic fields and sewer overflows. To address this limitation, Dr. Tim Green from Vancouver Island University developed a high-throughput norovirus sequencing assay to assist the epidemiological objectives of tracking specific genotypes of human norovirus through space and time in Baynes Sound. The Sound was chosen because this site is where most farmed oysters and clams are harvested in British Columbia. Data from this study suggests tidal currents can disperse human norovirus up to 15 kilometers and human norovirus persists for up to 28 days in coastal waters of British Columbia. Overlaying data from the spatial-temporal model of norovirus in sentinel oysters with sewage plume maps in Google Earth indicates that small craft harbors and urban settings pose a significant risk to shellfish farming operations in the region.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN WE FLUSH
There are 9,000 septic systems in the rural areas of the Comox Valley Regional District. Many of them have been in operation for decades. This joint presentation by Comox Valley Regional District Manager of Liquid Waste Planning Darry Monteith and Island Health water consultant Nancy Clements will look at recent analysis of septic system records in several areas surrounding Baynes Sound. How are problematic areas identified? And what measures could be put into place to mitigate impacts?
11:00-11:15 AM. Stretch your legs, grab a snack
VIEW FROM THE TRENCHES
Denman-based hydrogeologist Steve Carballeira has years of experience with rural, residential septic systems and the people who own them. He says most of us have no idea what happens when we flush, and that public education is key. Older homes, failing septic systems and the obstacles to changes – a firsthand look.
Contamination of the marine environment has negatively impacted K’ómoks First Nation’s marine harvesting rights. However, the sewage infrastructure required to stop this contamination has the potential to impact K’ómoks heritage sites. This presentation will review major K’ómoks heritage sites with a view towards designing infrastructure that minimizes impacts to these historically, culturally, and spiritually important places. (TBA)
11:45AM - NOON
Facilitator Jessie Hemphill will set the stage for the afternoon session participant discussions and ways to identify paths to improvements.
Lunch provided by SweetPea catering.
THE AFTERNOON SESSION
Using the information from the morning’s presentations, participants will divide into break out tables to identify priorities and collaborative actions. EcoForum steering committee member Dorrie Woodward (need for action) and facilitator Jessie Hemphill (how to get there) set the stage.
Potential table discussions
The Guiding Question:
Using the information from the day’s presentations and break out discussions, facilitator Jessie Hemphill will guide participants in identifying concrete and collaborative big steps to improve and protect marine life in Baynes Sound.
15:00PM. Safe Travel Home
About the EcoForum
The Baynes Sound Lambert Channel Ecological Forum is a meeting of groups with a stake in the health of the marine ecosystem in Baynes Sound and Lambert Channel. Groups include First Nations, all levels of government, industry, NGO's, academia, and others. Information and discussion from Forum meetings lead to a clearer understanding of issues for all stakeholders who can take this new understanding back to their organizations with recommendations for change in their area of influence. The Forum is a catalyst for change but is not an entity unto itself. It is a connector between organizations with common interests and issues. To learn more about the EcoForum visit our website. Click here to let us know you are able to attend.
I believe it is open to all, but you must email RSVP if you intend to go.