Stanley Park Intertidal Sampling

On October 9, the first-year cohort went on a field trip to Stanley Park to do intertidal sampling and learn about experimental design. We assisted Dan Esler from the USGS to gather data on the distribution of Pacific blue mussels (Mytilus trossulus) in the intertidal off the northwest side of Stanley Park as part of a larger project on trophic relationships in nearshore marine ecosystems. Continue reading

Project Spotlight: Oliver Denny – Using nematodes as bioindicators

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Ponderosa Pine/Bluebunch wheatgrass Reference Site at Kenna Cartwright Park

Overview:

Ponderosa Pine/Bluebunch wheatgrass ecosystems are threatened by multiple stressors, including the spread of invasive species, and it can be difficult to prioritize sites for restoration treatments. Soil nematode communities respond to ecosystem disturbances, which allows us to use nematodes as bioindicators. My study links the observed nematode community with established indices, allowing nematode analysis to be used as a tool for assessing ecosystem health.

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Upcoming Event: ERSA Welcome Potluck

Join us Friday, September 7th at 5:30 at Guichon Creek at BCIT to  welcome new students in the program and to catch up with past and present students. There will be games, food, and an all-around good time to be had. We hope to see you there!

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We will also be bringing some lawn games, so if you have bocce, croquet, frisbees, a slackline, or other fun games please bring them! We will post a games sign up sheet, so that we know who brought what and can make sure everyone gets their games back at the end of the night 🙂

New Comment (and Compliment) Box

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A beautiful handcrafted comment box has recently been added to the ERSA common room at SFU (TASC II room 7540) and all are encouraged to submit anonymous comments, suggestions and compliments.

These can be suggestions for ERSA (how things are run, major concerns, etc.) that you wish to keep anonymous. We hope this will provide another avenue for communication, transparency and accountability with our student council. As always, you are welcome to come talk to us directly.

The box has already been put to use and received its first bit of feedback, a compliment! The Comment Box will be opened and comments addressed each ERSA meeting. So if you have any comments, compliments or ideas you would like to share, give the Comment Box a try! Also feel free to contact ERSA through email found HERE

Project Spotlight: Ashleigh Westphal – Hydroelectric development and secretive marsh birds

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My project involves working with CWS and its partners to determine how hydroelectric development in the West Kootenays may be impacting marsh bird populations. The Canadian Wildlife Service has been surveying marsh bird species in BC’s Southern Interior Mountains since 2010. These surveys focus on marsh bird species that tend to be more secretive in nature, therefore harder to observe and study. In the West Kootenay region, significant sections of the Columbia and Kootenay Rivers and their tributaries have been impounded or otherwise altered by hydroelectric projects. These projects alter the landscape and ecosystem processes in a variety of ways, altering vegetation communities, flood regimes, and nutrient cycling just to name a few. Additionally, large sections of the Creston Valley floodplain have been altered by agricultural development and diking. In 2016, surveys began in the Columbia Wetlands region of the East Kootenays. These wetlands are relatively unaltered and one of the longest intact wetland complexes in North America.

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Resources: Where to get that ever-important professional development?

Are you looking for opportunities to build skills in data management, project management, and in the field? Workshops and volunteering are a wonderful avenue to do this! The Faculty of Environment (SFU) is hosting a workshop on September 22nd to guide conservation professionals and restoration practitioners in using the Open Source process to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of collaborative efforts of conservation management. To find out more and to register for the event, click here. In addition, the SFU Research Commons offers a variety of workshops to help you build skills in data management, GIS, and scientific writing. Alternatively, check out the College of Applied Biology website for upcoming certification courses to build your repertoire of qualifications in the field. Lastly, don’t forget about all the great skill-building opportunities available through your local ecological society, such as the Stanley Park Ecological Society (SPES).

ID’ing, and surveying, and radio telemetry! Oh my!

As we’ve learned throughout the year, timely monitoring paired with good science is key to developing a baseline of site conditions, and gauging success following restoration. We spent the first few weeks of May learning how to design and implement survey methods in terrestrial and aquatic environments. The first week, focused on terrestrial surveys, included small mammal trapping, radio telemetry, amphibian surveys, as well as bird and vegetation surveys. The highlight of the week was certainly trapping grey voles and deer mice in the old growth and secondary growth at Mission Tree Farm. Fish sampling and ID’ing, in situ water quality analysis, and the Fish Habitat Assessment Procedures (FHAP) were explored during the second week (aquatic). In addition to survey methods, we had our hand at log drilling and cabling. This is a restoration technique in which large woody debris is installed into a river to increase stream complexity for fish. Overall, I’d say those two weeks were an engaging, fun-filled, and great way to end year one of the program!

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Top left to bottom right: Newt caught with a Gee trap; Rock drilling; Grey vole; ID’ing juvenile salmonids; Log drilling; Pole seining; Fish caught in gill net; Tagging a deer mouse; Surveying for nests.

Himalayan Blackberry in Everett Crowley Park

With the support from Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation, Jane Chow is currently monitoring the effect of hand removal and mowing on the regrowth of Himalayan blackberry, an invasive species in the lower mainland. Her capstone project will determine which method is most effective in blackberry removal over one growing season. Jane began her fieldwork in March 2017 with the support of many volunteers to assist with manual removal. She will continue to monitor her experiments until the end of the growing season (i.e., October 2017). BCIT/SFU Supervisor: Scott HarrisonJaneChow_capstonepic

Fraser River Dialogues

On Tuesday, March 7th a small group of us, Brenley, Nicole, Donnah and Caroline, went to the Fraser River Discovery Centre (FRDC) to attend the first of the Fraser River Dialogues. The discussion was led by Dr. Brian Riddell, President and CEO of the Pacific Salmon Foundation, and the FRDC Executive Director. They spent the evening discussing the current state of the Fraser and Pacific salmon and some of the issues associated with salmon in the Fraser today. Many industry partners were present and interested to hear about the ongoing efforts surrounding salmon research and what their industry can do to help ensure they aren’t contributing to the overall issue of salmon decline. The great part about this dialogue series is the open floor questions to get the audience involved and broaden the range of the discussion.

Dr. Riddell was very positive towards the current condition of the Fraser and stated that it isn’t in as bad of a condition as people make it out to be. However, he pointed that the cause of salmon numbers is still an unanswered question and that we must act quickly to find the leading causes before the populations hit a place where they may never be able to recover.

We had a few moments following the discussion to speak with Brian and he was excited to learn about our program. It was great to hear that where we are headed following graduation there is plenty of restoration work! Especially involved with estuaries, rivers and salmon. Our group of young restorationists are the next generation that can help to really make a difference by restoring degraded systems associated with such global issues as declining salmon populations.

Stay tuned to view the whole filming of the discussion on the Pacific Salmon Foundations YouTube page!
https://www.psf.ca
http://fraserriverdiscovery.org
https://www.youtube.com/user/SalmonFoundation