Against Port Expansion in the Fraser Estuary BC
APE (Against Port Expansion in the Fraser Estuary BC) is a group of concerned citizens who recognize that plans for container terminal expansion on Roberts Bank (RBT2) will see the loss of globally-significant wetlands and habitat (classified as a Globally Significant Important Bird and Biodiversity Area - IBA) for migratory birds, shorebirds, waterfowl, salmon, herring, crabs and orca whales; degradation of the quality of life for thousands of Lower Mainland residents; and the industrialization of prime agricultural land.
NOW THE PANEL REPORT IS OUT, WE NEED YOUR HELP. THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT CABINET NOW HAS TO DECIDE WHETHER TO APPROVE RBT2. SIGN TNE PETITON TO TELL THEM TO DENY APPROVAL
This is a new petition. Here in the link:
See what others are doing to stop RBT2:
Natural Legacies versus Waste
Wrtie Your MP - Stop RBT2
Do you want to STOP RBT2?
The federal politicians need to hear from you, their constituents. If you live in:
- North Vancouver – contact Jonathan Wilkinson - firstname.lastname@example.org
- Burnaby – contact Terry Beech - Terry.Beech@parl.gc.ca
- Vancouver – contact - Joyce Murray email@example.com
- Delta – contact Carla Qualtrough - Carla.Qualtrough.C1A@parl.gc.ca
- Fisheries Minister - contact Bernadette Jordan - firstname.lastname@example.org
- Infrastructure Minister - contact Catherine McKenna - email@example.com
What are they meeting about? Likely about biofilm, a very thin slimy substance that coats the surface of the mudflats of Roberts Bank and plays a key role in making its ecosystem hugely productive for the wildlife that relies on it especially, migratory shorebirds and in particular the Western Sanpiper. That biofilm and its unique properties is crucial to the birds very survival and yet these rich mudflats on Roberts Bank risk being decimated by RBT2.
Scientific American - RBT2 Threatens Migratory Birds
Will the federal government rely on science and facts in its decison on the Port of Vancouver's proposed Roberts Bank Terminal 2 project?
That is the stark choice. Does the government rely on Environment Canada science, supported by independent peer-reviewed scientists who are respected internatinally? Or do they accept the Port's paid for science, which has never been peer-reviewed and is not supported by any sicentists or science-based organizations that are indpendent of (i.e. not paid for or under contract to) the Port. There is nothing wrong with the Port's data. It is the self-serving manner in which they have interpreted it. They decided on the answer that they wanted from the science and them twisted interpretation of the data to get the results that they needed. They then compounded that error by suggesting that the biofilm that the project will destroy can be "created". This despite the fact there are no expamples of "biofilm creation" of the size and magnitiude of what the Port is suggesting. Even the Federal Review Panel stated that :
"There exists considerable uncertainty around the possibility that loss of productive biofilm habitat could be mitigated by the large-scale re-creation of biofilm habitat capable of supporting shorebirds, including appropriate bottom sediment characteristicsand salinity conditions."
The latest issue of Scientific American carries an article about Roberts Bank:
"Slimy mudflat biofilm feeds migratory birds - and could be threatened."
The independent science is overwhelming. The scientific perspectives expressed in the article state what has been said many times over by scientists independent of the Port of Vancouver
The federal government can no longer ignore the obvious. Roberts Bank must be protected from any further industrial/port development. If the current government is serious about protecting important wetlands then it must deny approval for the the container terminal project.
To do otherwise will bring Canada international embarrassment and condemnation. Roberts Bank by the way is a Ramsar wetlands site of international importance and the Port project would degrade that site. Canada is a signatory to this UN treaty. It needs to uphold the treaty’s values and say no to Roberts Bank Terminal 2.
Please tell Minister Wilkinson at email firstname.lastname@example.org to listen to science and deny approval of RBT2.
Need help with a letter? Here is a word version ready for you to send, or amend as you wish:
How to Stop RBT2
- How the decision process works
- Who the decision makers are
- An analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of getting RBT2 approval denied
- The Port Authority’s strategy to get to YES.
- Suggested actions to take
- Reference material
- A list of groups opposing RBT2
- The latest APE Press Release
Is Port of Vancouver Desperate - or What?
How Desperate Is the Port?
Out of the blue, the Vancouver Port Authority just released a newsletter and video about biofilm on Roberts Bank. Why now?
Seemingly the Port is alarmed that neither the public, environmental organizations, scientists, nor decision-makers are buying into their story that Roberts Bank Terminal 2 (RBT2) will not result in significant adverse effects to Western Sandpipers that rely on fatty acids from biofilm as they make a refuelling stop on their long northward migration to their breeding grounds.
The Port’s newsletter and video contain nothing new but conveniently omit that the Review Panel agrees with Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) that biofilm mitigation is not possible. The Port’s messages conflict directly with findings of federal government scientists as well as independent internationally recognized experts. For example, while the Port claims that the project will result in a direct loss of less than 0.1% of biofilm on Roberts Bank they are ignoring the probability of losing all bird-friendly biofilm on Roberts Bank by removal of the salinity trigger responsible for fatty acid production, critical to Western Sandpipers and many other shorebirds.
The federally-appointed Review Panel is on record as stating:
1). “The (RBT2) proposed offsetting plan, totaling 29 hectares, is not sufficient to compensate for the reduction in productivity associated with the habitat loss of 177 hectares at Roberts Bank”, and
2). “The Panel agrees with ECCC that mudflat creation at Roberts Bank is unproven as a mitigation measure for biofilm and as such cannot be considered feasible until best practices can be developed”.
Federal government scientists as well as independent experts fundamentally disagree with the Port’s consultants and their latest newsletter and video. ECCC has consistently maintained that offsetting high quality biofilm habitat is not feasible and advised that only a project redesign could avoid adverse effects on shorebirds that will inevitably result from changes in biofilm fatty acid production.
Professor Peter G. Beninger (Université de Nantes), internationally recognized authority on biofilm, with over 100 peer-reviewed publications as well as the definitive book on mudflat ecology, stated at the public hearings: “He was of the opinion it was not yet possible to confidently understand how the Project would affect biofilm relative to all nutritional sources of importance to shorebirds, due to limited knowledge of mudflat ecology.”
Dr. Patricia Baird (Kahiltna Research Group), internationally recognized and author of numerous peer-reviewed papers on birds, also presented at the public hearings. As the Panel Report states Dr. Baird said “that many studies had shown that the Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids (PUFAs) in freshwater diatoms were less concentrated than in marine diatoms and that, unlike what the Proponent had stated, not all PUFAs were similar. She mentioned that the Proponent had keyed out diatoms only to genus and stated that the Proponent should have focused on diatom species. Dr. Baird stated that freshwater diatoms would not produce the high concentrations of EPA and DHA on which shorebirds depend.”
The newsletter mentions that the Port is completing a biofilm habitat construction manual. This is a "red herring" as it cannot be compiled without further research towards maintaining fatty acids from biofilm and merely supports the Port position that PUFA are not important and won’t be impacted. Current "Best Practices" is to leave the current biofilm as it is and unimpaired by RBT2.
The Port commitment to work with government and to carry out further research, monitoring and follow-up is meaningless if done after permission to build is granted. Given the probability that follow-up research further confirms there will be a significant adverse effect to the entire species of Western Sandpiper, then Canada will have an internationally embarrassing problem, because as ECCC have repeatedly stated the negative effects will be “immediate, continuous and not mitigable”.
The opinions expressed in the video by Mr. Rourke and Professor Ydenberg cannot be considered independent since both are working for the Port. Their views run counter to experts independent of the Port who presented to the Review Panel. These independent positions are supported by a suite of peer-reviewed studies, two of which have recently published in major scientific journals. 1,2
The newsletter and video appear nothing more than a blatant attempt to influence agencies debating a fair decision on the project. The Port – a federal Crown Agency – is out of line in attempting to compromise the decision making process.
Independent and federal science versus Port science – which should Canadians trust? The decision on RBT2 must be based on science and facts. The choice is clear. Decision makers must rely on credible independent science rather than non-peer reviewed and self-serving Port science.
1. Peak Abundance of Fatty Acids From Intertidal Biofilm in Relation to the Breeding Migration of Shorebirds” (Frontiers in Marine Science Feb 2020)
2. Natural History Observations that Transformed Shorebird Ecology (Ecosphere Naturalist Journal May 2020)