Citizen scientists sought

Volunteers asked to assist monitoring of potential radiation in B.C.'s coastal waters.

Citizen scientist are being sought across Vancouver Island to collect data for a new, University of Victoria-led radioactivity monitoring network.

The group is looking for volunteers along the B.C. coast to collect water samples and share science-based information on ocean health within their communities.

The InFORM network is monitoring low-level radioactivity that is drifting across the Pacific from the 2011 tsunami and Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in Japan. “There’s great public demand for information about the impact of the disaster on the marine ecosystem and on the health of British Columbians,” says UVic chemical oceanographer Jay Cullen, who heads the network. “Our goal is to provide the public with the best information possible about risks to the environment and their health.”

Volunteers are being sought in 14 areas along the coast: Port Hardy, Port Renfrew, Bamfield, Tofino/Ucluelet, Nootka Island/Tahsis, Winter Harbour, Bella Bella, Hartley Bay, Prince Rupert, Haida Gwaii, Salt Spring Island, Powell River/Sunshine Coast, Vancouver and Victoria.

The goal is a sampling team of 10 to 15 volunteers per area. Water samples will be collected monthly for three years and sent to labs for analysis. “Ideally, the samples would be taken near the coast rather than up inlets,” says Cullen. “And it’s best if the Haida Gwaii samples are obtained on the west side of the islands.” The levels of radioactivity present in water samples will not pose a health risk to volunteers, he stresses.

The InFORM network involves scientists in Canada and the US, health experts and NGOs, but the citizen scientists are critical to its success, says Cullen. “We’re inviting those with a stake and an interest in marine environmental risk assessment to get involved.”

The collected data will be disseminated online and through community meetings up and down the coast. Coastal residents interested in volunteering are asked to contact Cullen before Sept. 30 via a contact form at www.fukushimainform.ca. Once he has compiled a database of interested citizens, the network’s NGO partners will go into the communities to organize the groups.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

North Island Bantam Eagles ice Clippers, clinch Tier 2 league banner

“We will enjoy the moment for now, but… it’s back to work on Tuesday”

Upgrades to Port Hardy arena hinge on grant funding

The district is waiting on grant approval from the Investing in Canada Infrastructure program.

Scarlett Point lighthouse keeper wins a million bucks playing the lottery

“I usually just get a quick pick, so I didn’t expect to win a big prize”

Bradshaw’s Photo Highlight: North Island beauty

“don’t forget to look up and observe the beauty of the whole North Island”

LETTER: Miles put on the car causes North Island driver to reflect

“Up here in Port McNeill we are so blessed with nature’s tranquillity all around us”

VIDEO: Nickelback gears up for nostalgia tour

Canadian band joins Stone Temple Pilots for a summer tour that includes just one stop in Canada

Province asks health-care staff to be ‘vigilant’ in screening for possible coronavirus cases

This comes after U.S. health officials confirmed a case of the virus in Washington State

Boy, 13, arrested after alleged assault involving girl at B.C. middle school

Boy alleged to have used ‘inappropriate levels of force’ to injure the girl

B.C. player becomes only second Canadian to enter Hall of Fame of Baseball

Walker received 76.6 percent of the Baseball Writers of America Association vote

PHOTOS: Heavy snowfall breaks window, causing avalanche into B.C. newsroom office

It was a chaotic start to the week for the Kitimat Northern Sentinel

Canadian law firm launches class action on behalf of Iran flight victims

Flight 752 was shot down by Iran shortly after take off

Mission Hill cellarman fired after mistakenly dumping $162K of wine down the drain

The former employee filed a grievance with the West Kelowna winery but was unsuccesful

Most Read