‘Astounding’ amount of contaminants found in fish habitat on Sumas Prairie after 2021 floods: study


Fish habitat in the decrease Fraser Valley was found to have an “astounding” amount of contaminants after excessive flooding final fall, in keeping with a brand new study.

The Raincoast Conservation Foundation mentioned extreme vitamins, metals, fecal micro organism, hydrocarbons and pesticides have been detected in 29 floor water samples from the Sumas Prairie in Abbotsford, B.C., over a seven-week interval after the flood.

“The degradation in the well being of Sumas fish habitat grew to become clear throughout this study,” learn a press release launched with the findings on Thursday. 

The study was supported by a quantity of teams together with the Sumas First Nation, Fisheries and Oceans Canada and B.C.’s Ministry of Environment.

The basis famous water high quality in the Sumas Prairie — previously Sumas Lake, earlier than the realm was drained in the Twenties — is “poor, regardless of flooding, having been degraded by agricultural and home actions.”

The Raincoast Conservation Foundation collected water samples from 11 websites in Sumas Prairie between Dec. 15, 2021 and Feb. 2, 2022. The space in blue exhibits the situation of Sumas Lake earlier than it was drained in the Twenties. (Supplied by the Raincoast Conservation Foundation)

A scarcity of historic information makes it tough to know how a lot contamination was a direct consequence of the flood and the way a lot was a pre-existing drawback, it added.

Residents have been warned to remain out of the icy, murky floodwater that swamped the realm final November. Officials warned particles like oil, rubbish, jerry cans and useless animals have been polluting the water.

Soil high quality ‘not compromised’: ministry

Much of B.C.’s meals manufacturing occurs in the Sumas Prairie, a low-lying half of the Fraser Valley about 90 kilometres east of Vancouver. The space is irresistible to some of the biggest agriculture operations in the province for a number of causes: the fields are flat, there is a temperate local weather year-round and it is near the large metropolis.

The soil is powerful, too.

The reality the prairie was previously a shallow lake makes its soil — sandy on the former lake’s edge and clay-like towards its centre — particularly nutrient-rich and appropriate for dozens of varieties of greens and berries, in addition to livestock.

WATCH | The 100-year-old resolution that contributed to Abbotsford flooding:

The 100-year-old resolution that contributed to Abbotsford, B.C., flooding

More than 100 years in the past, a lake outdoors what’s now the Abbotsford, B.C., space was drained to create profitable farmland. Many say that call is an enormous contributor to the devastating flooding.

After the flood, the B.C. Ministry of Agriculture performed a preliminary analysis of soil high quality to find out whether or not the realm would nonetheless be viable for farming.

Roughly two dozen soil samples have been analyzed for contaminants like gasoline, diesel, pesticides, herbicides and asbestos.

“After reviewing the soil high quality outcomes, it was decided the sampled agriculture lands weren’t compromised in the course of the flooding and the integrity of the agricultural meals provide manufacturing for this space stays sturdy,” learn a press release.

An picture of Sumas Lake earlier than it was drained to make manner for farmland. (City of Vancouver Archives)

Raincoast mentioned its evaluation of water in fish habitat found “extreme vitamins, metals, hydrocarbons and pesticides” have been the first pollution of concern.

It additionally mentioned there was “widespread detection” of cocaine and painkillers in its samples, which have been taken from 11 websites between December 2021 and February 2022.

“Our report reveals a collective failure to guard water and fish habitat from contamination arising from a number of actions in B.C. It is our hope that these findings contribute to innovation, stewardship and collective funding in inexperienced infrastructure that protects each communities and fish habitat,” mentioned Peter Ross, a toxicologist and the report’s lead creator.

CBC News has contacted the Ministry of Agriculture to make clear the discrepancy between its soil findings and the water findings in the muse’s report.


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