The year is winding down. Daylight hours shrink as we slide towards the solstice. Before long we’ll begin again the slow ascent to brighter, warmer days. It’s a good time for reflection, for assessing the year past, and for planning the year to come. In many ways, 2022 was an unremarkable year for BWS. We continued to do all our core activities; we sampled our creeks, measured flow at our gauging stations, and processed data from our groundwater sensors. We collected and sorted at least three bazillion cans and bottles. (The Refundables Program is a major component of our budget.) And we worked with the University of Victoria for a second straight year, probing the depths, to give us a better understanding of our aquifers. The only thing out of the ordinary was a small sampling project designed to see if the chemical 6PPD-Q is being washed into Wilfred Creek from the highway.
But upon relection, a year that appears unremarkable is actually the basis for our next leap forward. The 6PPD-Q sampling is a good example. It was going to be a one-time project, designed and organized by our friends at BC Conservation Foundation (BCCF). This chemical is an additive used in the manufacture of tires and has been turning up in urban creeks where it kills fish. BCCF asked for our help taking the samples. The plan required a sample to be taken the day before a significant rain, the day of the rain, and then the day after the rain. This made for tricky logistics, especially in a year with so little rain. But thanks to our amazing, dedicated BWS volunteers, this was handled without a problem. Now BCCF is considering a longer term program to monitor for 6PPD-Q and perhaps expand the sampling to more creeks. This collaboration would push BWS beyond the realm of our established water quality programs and into an area of research where safe levels have yet to be determined and effects on fish and humans are still being studied.
Our existing water quality data, all five years of it, will be entering the research arena as well. We are preparing to publish to a national water quality database. The database allows researchers and policymakers to easily access our data alongside data from other groups like ours across Canada and beyond. And for the first time, we are going to hire someone outside BWS to provide us with needed technical expertise. We are contracting with an environmental firm to do some detailed mapping of one of our creeks and a consulting firm that specializes in hydrogeology to provide guidance with our expansion plans.
It’s easy to get lost in reflections of the past and plans for the future. But right now, at this balance point between one year and the next, we prefer to focus on the moment at hand, our friends, our family, and you, the community that supports us.
Thank you, and happy holidays!