Stephen Rees's blog

Thoughts about the relationships between transport and the urban area it serves

Sandpipers’ feeding habits could spell trouble for port expansion

with 2 comments

Spotted Sandpiper

Spotted Sandpiper photo by Mike Baird


We are located on the Pacific flyway. The coast is the path of migration for large numbers of shore birds. The littoral is the place where the birds feed.

An international team has discovered why half the world’s western sandpipers touch down on a specific tidal flat just south of Vancouver every spring. The secret is in the mud, more specifically in the snot-like “biofilm” coating the mud.

The tiny shorebirds, weighing about 30 grams each, suck a remarkable 20 tonnes of the sticky slime off the mud every day as huge flocks swoop down to refuel during the spring migration, the scientists estimate.

And apparently they did not know that. This is a discovery that should stop development at Roberts Bank. There is just one problem that I see – it is already underway

port expansion Roberts Bank BC 2008_0412

This is a picture I took at Roberts Bank on Saturday. One to two million sandpipers arrive here in April and May and snort up the biofilm that is on top of the mud bank. Here.

Ports are a federal jurisdiction. I trust we will see a stop work order issued immediately. Anything less would be a crime, in my opinion.

Actually, this would be good news for all of us – not just the sandpipers. It would restore my faith in the Canadian Environmental Assessment process which so far does not seem to have served us well

Written by Stephen Rees

April 14, 2008 at 5:32 am

2 Responses

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  1. I wish you were right—–we don`t eat sandpipers do we? fishfarms are destoying wild salmon all over this province( aqua-culture farming donated 100 thousand to bc liberals in 2005) WHAT ABOUT THE BOG–what about run of the river—-eagle ridge—-when all the wild salmon are gone,just think how important farm fish become! if we want to be a raw resource mega-giant —then build ports and roads ,bridges, oil and gas drilling offshore–fish farm central–gas wells -mining–clear cut–export raw logs then just do-it—but what infuriates me and makes me want to shove a bar of soap down gordon(the gargler) campbells mouth ——is the fact hes doing it under the guise of greenhouse gas reduction–premier green jeans is nothing but a bold faced liar signed…………………………………………….british columbia ——-official coal supplier of the 2008 bejiing games

    grant g

    April 14, 2008 at 7:05 pm

  2. […] Posted in Environment by Stephen Rees on May 15th, 2008 Pete McMartin catches up on an issue I dealt with here and on Radio Canada back in mid April, in reaction to a Sun story, of […]

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