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31-May-2023

GFL team search for herring spawn

Members of GFL’s Squamish, British Columbia team have been helping to monitor herring spawn on the shores of the Howe Sound.

Members of GFL’s Squamish, British Columbia team have been helping to monitor herring spawn on the shores of the Howe Sound.

“It’s been amazing for GFL to donate to this grassroots initiative,“ Customer Service Representative Eden Imbeau said. “Through volunteering, we have expanded our network and made wonderful new connections.”

Through the Full Circle Project, GFL donated CAD $5,000 to the Makeway Charitable Society/ Howe Sound Marine Stewardship Initiative. The donation has gone towards boat maintenance, microscopes, and other dedicated supplies to ensure volunteer safety.

This FCP project has also helped to fund the initiative to survey, monitor and comment on herring presence in the Howe Sound, which all local rivers drain into, and is the mouth of the Pacific Ocean for the Sea to Sky Corridor. 

“It’s been a natural progression of community involvement over the years, and it made sense for GFL to partner with this local initiative focused on bettering the environment,” Imbeau said.

Imbeau and Controller Assistant Tyler Hart have been kayaking the Mamquam Blind Channel, observing the coastal lines for herring spawn.

For about 30 years, the Howe Sound biosphere did not see any herring due to mining and other industrial influences.

Remediation in the area has successfully brought sea life back into the Howe Sound, including the dolphins and orca whales that follow the herring as a food source.

Herrings are critical to our ecosystems as they rank low on the food chain and feed the predators, so ensuring the eggs can latch somewhere is crucial.

“We wanted to help provide the resources necessary, whether big or small, to ensure this project’s short and long-term success,” Hart said.

The Herring project has also incorporated Squamish’s youth to help with observations. The kids at the St’a7mes school helped to build racks of hemlock and cedar trees to place in the water and built anchors by weaving cedar bark and jutte. These racks are to help offer a place where herring eggs can attach.

“It’s fantastic to see these local collaborations come together including the local youth, Squamish Nation and the Marine Stewardship Initiative,” Hart said. “The project will impact future generations of sea life, and the more awareness we can create about this, the better.”

 The Squamish team looks forward to continuing their support and learning more about the findings from their observations.

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