GATEWAY PROJECT: BAD NEWS for BURNS BOG

Burns Bog (Maqwum) – also known as the “Lungs of the Lower Mainland” – is a huge (40 sq.km.) peat bog occupying about a quarter of Delta, BC, the largest domed peat bog on the west coast of North America. Maqwum is its indigenous name.

Burns Bog is globally unique on the basis of its chemistry, form, flora and size. Despite significant disturbances to the ecosystem – including development, extensive peat mining and fire – Burns Bog remains an important contributor to the region’s ecology and sustains a wide variety of flora and fauna, including many rare species.  Its nickname ‘the Lungs of the Lower Mainland’ refers to the bog’s role as a climate regulator, as well as its function as an effective carbon sink (absorbing carbon from the atmosphere and lowering C02 levels).  Numerous zoning codes have been enacted to protect the bog from development and retain its original state, in hopes of preservation for future generations.

According to Environment Canada and other groups, the bog ecosystem is under threat from the proposed South Fraser Perimeter Road, a new 4-lane expressway that is part of the BC Ministry of Transportation’s Gateway Program currently under construction (expected to be completed by 2013).

One of the main objectives of the Gateway Program is to reduce congestion-related idling by freeing up the traffic movement south of the Fraser River.  Although the Province’s environmental assessment projects that SFPR will reduce congestion-related pollution, overall pollution as well as truck traffic will be significantly increased. This is a deep concern for many citizens and local environmentalists pushing for a decrease in our greenhouse gas emissions.

While the SFPR does not go through the Burns Bog Ecological Conservancy Area, there is concern that it will adversely affect the Conservancy area and surrounding hydrology.  In response to the mitigation measures proposed by the SFPR Project, the Environmental Stewardship Branch of Environment Canada wrote that “… the changes are not sufficient to alleviate its concerns related to the impacts of the Project on Pacific Water Shrew (PWS), hydrology, aerial deposition, and ecological integrity of Burns Bog.”.*

Burns Bog has been listed as threatened by the International Mire Conservation Group because of the impacts of the SFPR.

Burns Bog Conversation Society is working to protect this globally unique ecological wonder in Delta, BC

SIGN THIS PETITION:  Burns Bog UNESCO World Heritage Site designation – HERE:
http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/burnsbogunesco/)

Here’s my signature:
Name: Sarah Chesterman on May 22, 2011
Comment: This precious ecosystem must be protected! Its importance as a carbon sink and the “lungs of the Lower Mainland” have already been recognized and established, and the detrimental effects of paving it over would be catastrophical – not only for the health of all Lower Mainland residents, but for the wildlife species at risk that rely on its riches. Restoring this bog ecosystem and preserving its integrity – keeping in line with the tenets outlined in http://www.smartgrowth.bc.ca – are the only actions that serve the public’s best interests, along with addressing and shouldering our global responsibilities. Ignoring opportunities to respect the land that feeds us and become sustainable would be BC’s greatest downfall of all… “We cannot change the past but we can shape the future by our actions.”
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LINKS:
* Info from http://www.absoluteastronomy.com/
Burns Bog Conservation Society:  http://www.burnsbog.org/bog//
The Corporation of Delta’s Burns Bog site:  http://www.burnsbog.ca/

[Pics from Flemming’s Churchill Fellowship blog, http://flemmingulf.wordpress.com/]

YESS! GoV’T said ‘NO’ to Prosperity Mine!

Course, i was (and am) over-the-moon @ the Federal announcement (government’s announcement) that Taseko Mines Ltd. will NOT be allowed to go ahead with its proposed ‘Prosperity Mine’ – a project which i and many others, including the Council of Canadians, David Suzuki Foundation and Friends of Nemaiah Valley, had vehemently opposed due to the environmental destruction it would cause.
Prosperity Mine would have decimated old-growth forests, wildlife habitat (of grizzly bears, cougars, wolves – even the last of North America’s wild horses) as well as the sustainable livelihoods of local First Nations people, guest ranchers etc.  Aside from the fact that Nemaiah Valley – a remote wilderness in BC’s Chilcotins – is one of my fave places in the world…

Here’s the Nemaiah Valley i know and love:
If the Federal government HAD approved the mine, it would have been the first time they had acted against the recommendations of its Environmental Review panel (CEAA) – which formally denounced the Prosperity proposal for its many adverse environmental effects that would be “irreversible, longterm and impossible to mitigate”. So why the announcements – within a day or 2 – of Campbell’s resignation as BC’s premier, along with Jim Prentice stepping down as Minister of the Environment?  If these events ARE related it’s no doubt because the BC Liberals, led by Gordon Campbell, had already given Prosperity Mine their provincial seal of approval back in 2008 – which flew in the face of Campbell’s pre-Olympics Action Plan 2007 promise to support tourism, particularly small-business entrepreneurs, in every way possible.
Federal approval of this heinous project would also have insulted the First Nations people (Tsilhqot’in) who have lived in this region and managed its wilderness as responsible stewards for centuries:  Despite Premier Campbell’s promise to prioritize better relations with BC’s native people  in all future land matters, the Tsilhqot’in  were not properly consulted on this matter.  Never mind the fact that trout-rich Fish Lake (the location of the proposed gold/copper mine, which would have had to be drained to make way for a mine-waste tailings pond, right at a main watershed to the Fraser River) is situated in an area literally surrounded by protected areas, ecological zones, provincial parks and wildlife habitats (see Google map of Cariboo-Chilcotin). Zoom out of Fish Lake on a map and you can see it’s flanked by Big Creek Provincial Park, Nunsti Provincial Park, Tatlayoko Protected Area, Ts’ylos Provincial Park – behind which lies Spruce Lake Protected Area and, beyond that, Churn Creek Protected Area.
As is obvious looking on a map, the Cariboo-Chilcotin is not called BC’s ‘last frontier’ for nothing: just up to the north of Nemaiah Valley and Big Creek Provincial Park you can see the devastating results of BC’s forestry industry, with vast treeless chunks or patches testifying decades of clearcutting:  the price paid by BC’s wilderness.
If Taseko Mines Ltd. (owned by Hunter Dickinson, a company well-known in places like Tibet for its ruthless mining activities) plans to redouble its efforts to make Prosperity Mine a reality, resistance by those who recognize the priceless value of BC’s wilderness territories will be – justifiably – even fiercer than ever, gold/copper open-pit mining being one of the most environmentally destructive human activities on the planet…
Here are some further useful links on the topic:

http://www.miningwatch.ca/
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