Contamination of Groundwater in Fraser Valley/Impacts on Salmon-Bearing Streams

Contamination of Groundwater in the Fraser Valley

The contamination of groundwater and the lowering of groundwater levels are of great concern to stewards restoring salmon-bearing streams in the Fraser Valley. For this reason, SEHAB hosted a ninety minute public forum on these issues on Friday February 17th in Langley at the Coast Hotel and Conference Centre, 20393 Fraser Highway.

There were four presentations, each followed by Q and A.

  1. Managing Groundwater Resources in Langley - Antigone Dixon-Warren, Hydrogeologist (Township of Langley) Description of groundwater in Langley. Why groundwater is important. What are the issues/challenges? What has the Township done to protect resources? What does the Township hope to do in the future? (View Presentation)
  2. Nitrate Contamination of Groundwater Under Intensively Farmed Areas—The Abbotsford Aquifer Experience – Kim Sutherland, M.Sc., P.Ag. (BC Ministry of Agriculture) Changes in agricultural practices over the past ten years. Uneven results in nitrate levels. Rethinking the problem. (View Presentation)
  3. Protection of the Valley’s Fish-Bearing Streams – Greg Savard, Regional Director, Conservation and Protection Branch, Fisheries and Oceans Canada (View Presentation)
  4. Effecting Change in Practices – David Tattam (Farmer/consultant) will present the BC Environmental Farm Plan as a resource for stewards who are creating dialogues with farmers, and for farmers wanting to change their farming practices. (View Presentation)

Kim Sutherland, MSc., P.Ag.
Kim Sutherland has longstanding interest in intensive agriculture production systems and its impact on the environment. She is from a farm in Saskatchewan, has degrees in agriculture and hydrogeology, and has worked in the private sector as a contaminant hydrogeologist and on environmental programming for intensive livestock operations. For the past five years, she has worked with the BC Government in both their Agriculture and Environment Ministries on many aspects of their nutrient management program, including the design of on-farm nutrient management plans, municipal bylaws for groundwater protection and supporting regional and sector initiatives in nutrient management planning. Her current work is focusing on supporting advanced nutrient management planning and groundwater protection program development for sustaining the very intensive agriculture production system in the Lower Fraser Valley.

Antigone Dixon-Warren, MSc, PGeo
Ms Dixon-Warren has been the Groundwater Specialist for the Township of Langley since July 2004. Prior to working for the Township, she spent 4 ½ years working as project geoscientist at the Illinois State Geological Survey in Champaign, Illinois. She has a bachelor of science in geography and master’s degree in Earth Sciences, both obtained from Simon Fraser University.

Greg Savard, Regional Director, Conservation and Protection. Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Greg Savard has worked for Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) for almost 28 years. In his time with DFO, Greg has gained an excellent understanding of the fisheries resource through a wide exposure to some very complex fisheries management, enforcement and habitat management issues.
Greg joined the Department as a fishery officer in 1978 and worked in the fisheries management and enforcement field for the first 15 years of his career. During this time he worked in Kitimat, the Vancouver Regional office, Prince Rupert (twice), Prince George, Bella Coola, Sandspit and Port Hardy.
From 1993 to 2002 Greg held various fisheries management positions in Prince Rupert, Campbell River, Nanaimo and the Vancouver Regional office. From 2002 to 2004 he worked as an Area Director in the Central Coast and in the Lower Fraser area. Most recently (March 2004), he’s held the position of Director of Conservation and Protection where he oversees the Pacific Region’s enforcement programs.

David Tattam
David Tattam is a third generation farmer who owned and operated a family dairy farm for 22 years in Vancouver Island’s Cowichan Valley. He is currently farming part-time, growing and selling hay from that same farm. He is also in the beginning stages of developing a trout farm on the property.     Prior to farming, David attended the Vermilion Agricultural College in Alberta, majoring in animal science and farm management.
Following his full-time farming tenure, he completed the Resource Management Officer Technology program at Malaspina University College.
Since then, he has worked in a number of different capacities:

  • Resource Management Officer, Saskatchewan Fisheries Branch
  • BC Park Ranger
  • Stewardship Coordinator with Island Farmers' Alliance (IFA) under DFO's Habitat Conservation and Stewardship Program. That role has evolved into a position as a Planning Advisor with the IFA, delivering the Environmental Farm Plan Program to farmers on Southern Vancouver Island.