Storm Sewer Marking Project, Phase II

West End, Vancouver

My name is Sean and last year I helped my dad with this grant to paint yellow fish on the storm drains all around our neighborhood with kids from the neighborhood. It was fun and everybody learned a lot about how we can help keep English Bay clean for us and the animals especially the salmon. It was great when we had a big community dinner at the end and everyone from the neighborhood got to eat fresh salmon. The more people learn about how to protect the water then the cleaner it will be. That’s why I wanted to do this project again and help out more. My name is Nigel and I am a friend of Sean’s family. I assisted in carrying out the Storm Sewer Marking project last year. This year we built on and expanded the achievements of last year’s project. The impetus for the project remained the same: as residents of the West End we are all attracted to the beautiful setting, close access to forests, beaches and water. Population density in the West End is quite high and scheduled to get even higher which puts pressure on the natural resources. Last year we learned that everything that goes into any storm drain in Vancouver drains directly into the nearest body of water. For most parts of the West End, that body of water is English Bay. Besides the people who are enjoying the waterfront there is a whole bay teaming with life and we can determine how healthy that ecosystem remains. After doing the research the team reached out to Joanne Day at the Ecosystems Management Branch, Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada who introduced us to her colleague Sandie Hollick-Kenyon who is the Vancouver community advisor liaison and together they suggested that we could engage in a storm drain marking program. This involves marking storm drains with a bright yellow fish image and a phrase such as "Drains to Wildlife Habitat." Last year we were successful at raising awareness among participants about the impact that personal decisions can have on the health of the ecosystem. We began to engage our neighbors about these facts and successfully marked about 20 storm sewer drains in the area. This year we continued to raise community awareness and marked another 25 storm drains in high-visibility areas: near our local school, around our Community Centre (West End) and neighborhood house (GNH) and on highly-travelled areas surrounding English Bay (Davie and Denman). We shared information with our neighbors as we engaged them while marking the storm drains. At the conclusion of the project we held a communal salmon feast for neighborhood residents serving local fresh bbq salmon. Participants shared their experiences and continued to engage members of the community on this topic.