Environmental groups target Semiahmoo Bay

Smart Shores crowdfunding project could make pollution testing affordable

Several environmental organizations have joined forces to launch a project to study pollution in Semiahmoo Bay.

Smart Shores has partnered with Semiahmoo First Nation, Ducks Unlimited, researchers at UBC and five not-for-profit organizations to develop a tool that “could make world-class pollution testing and mapping affordable for small not-for-profits.”

In a press release issued last week, Smart Shores says it’s taking a unique approach by crowdfunding the science, with support of the federally-funded granting agency MEOPAR (Marine Environmental Observation Prediction and Response).

Fathom Fund, a program operated by MEOPAR, will quadruple each dollar contributed to the campaign up to a total budget of $50,000, but only if a crowdfunding target of $12,500 is met.

As of Monday morning, the Kickstarter campaign had raised approximately $6,100.

SEE ALSO: ‘Orange goo’ flows into White Rock’s Semiahmoo Bay.

SEE ALSO: Semiahmoo water fine, but itch persists

“The Semiahmoo First Nation has been prevented from harvesting shellfish in their Traditional Territory since the 1970s due to contamination. The fishery remains closed, not because it’s necessarily still contaminated, but rather because no one has re-tested to confirm otherwise,” the news release states.

“This project can attract the funds required to assess what needs to be done, if anything, to ensure that local shellfish are safe to eat.”

According to the Kickstarter campaign webpage, the project will develop a low-cost test for fertilizers (organphosphates) and hydrocarbons stored in soil and clay. Smart Shores will also develop an algorithm for predicting detailed pollution concentrations throughout a site. It combines low-cost maps built by drones and soil/substrate test results.

“This will produce a detailed map of pollution hot spots, helping to identify where the pollution is coming from and how it is flowing through a site.”

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