Federal scientists who keep a close eye on the Arctic ice cap would like to routinely brief Canadians about extraordinary events unfolding in the North. But newly released federal documents show the Harper government has been thwarting their efforts.
Published: April 30 2014
VANCOUVER — The sandpipers are right on schedule, hundreds of thousands of them touching down on the mudflats just south of the city.
The “peeps” are here to refuel, some almost doubling their weight in just a few days. Then the tiny aerial acrobats liftoff continuing their marathon journey to their breeding grounds in the Arctic.
The world’s western sandpipers migrate up the Pacific coast touching down at the Fraser Delta each spring. They arrive like clockwork to slurp up the gooey biofilm on the mudflats — goo that has created a rather sticky issue for a massive port expansion planned just south of Vancouver.
Port Metro Vancouver believes its megaport, known as Roberts Banks Terminal 2, and the “peeps” can coexist.
Published: February 4, 2014
There were more than 300 nests in the bird colony when the polar bear arrived.
When it meandered off with a belly full of eggs only 24 nests remained, say scientists who witnessed the “near total” destruction of nests on the bird colony off Baffin Island.
It was far from an isolated event, the team from Environment Canada and Carleton University reported Tuesday. Continue reading →
January 9, 2014 – Environment Canada has a phone number for its library in Calgary. But a meteorologist answers, and he can’t say what’s become of the books.
It’s a similar story in Edmonton and Quebec City where federal libraries, with shelves loaded with reference books and scientific reports on everything from beluga whales to songbirds, now exist only in name.
Published December 29, 2013
Mercury wafting out of oilsands operations is impacting an area – or “bull’s-eye” — that extends for about 19,000 square kilometres in northeast Alberta, according to federal scientists.
Levels of the potent neurotoxin found near the massive industrial operation have been found to be up to 16 times higher than “background” levels for the region, says Environment Canada researcher Jane Kirk, who recently reported the findings at an international toxicology conference.
Mercury can bioaccumulate in living creatures and chronic exposure can cause brain damage. It is such a concern that Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq signed an international treaty in October pledging Canada to further reduce releases to the environment. Continue reading →
Alberta’s oilsands operations ~ Queen’s/Environment Canada photo
Story published Jan 8, 2013, A1 Calgary Herald
Margaret Munro, Postmedia News; With Files From Dan Healing, Calgary Herald.
Leading federal and academic scientists have uncovered “compelling” evidence that Alberta’s oilsands operations have been sending toxins into the atmosphere for decades.
The team has found “striking” increases in contaminants known as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) at the bottom of six lakes up to 90 kilometres from the massive oilsands operations in northeastern Alberta.
“Industry’s role as a decades-long contributor of PAHs to oilsands lake ecosystems is now clearly evident,” the team reports in a study published Monday in the U.S. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Continue reading →