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 (T2) will see the degradation of the quality of life for thousands of Lower Mainland residents; the industrialization of prime agricultural land; and the loss of globally-significant habitat for salmon, migrating birds and orca whales.
Port Metro Vancouver - Stop Ignoring the Science Surrounding Shorebird Feeding on Roberts Bank, According to a New Study
The latest scientific paper on biofilm feeding by shorebirds on Roberts Bank, jointly-authored by a team from Simon Fraser University and Environment Canada, has just been released in the January 2015 edition of the “Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science Journal” – an international multidisciplinary journal.
This new and important research clearly demonstrates – once again – the critical importance of Roberts Bank in supporting internationally significant populations of migratory shorebirds and Western Sandpipers in particular.
Key points in the paper include:
- Western sandpipers and dunlin follow ebbing tides while foraging on stopovers.
- Tide following foraging behaviour is stronger for dunlin than western sandpipers.
- Western sandpiper foraging distribution matched biofilm availability. (meaning that this is their preferred food despite other options being available)
- Biofilm, an energy source for shorebirds, merits conservation consideration.
As the paper documents, shorebird species rely on habitats like Roberts Bank, yet these species are becoming increasingly threatened by industrial development. A prime example of this is Port Metro Vancouver’s plans to build a massive man-made island on Roberts Bank for a second container terminal.
Based on the study that lead to the publication of this research paper, it is clear that the intertidal biofilm that is present on Roberts Bank plays an important role in shorebird diets – the western sandpiper in particular. Daily averages of more than 100,000 sandpipers concentrate at Roberts Bank during the northward migration. The paper specifically recommends that environmental assessments for coastal development and conservation strategies for shorebirds need to explicitly consider the physical and biotic processes that produce and replenish biofilm. The conservation implications are clear. The environmental quality of biofilm rich stop-over sites must be maintained so that biofilm availability for shorebirds remains adequate. Therefore there has to be a major conservation priority to safeguard the Roberts Bank habitat, thus ensuring that biofilm availability. What does that involve - no more port development, no more land reclamation for industrial uses.
In related news the country of Panama has just announced new legislation which will protect a key area of wetlands in the Bay of Panama, home to migratory shorebirds including the western sandpiper. Under the new law, already in effect, construction is banned in a 210,000 acre stretch of the Bay of Panama.
If Panama can do it why cannot Canada?
Port Metro Vancouver – are you listening?
If you wish to access the full research paper please follow this link:
Alternatively if you would like a copy then please email us at email@example.com
Latest PMV Stats Show Terminal 2 Not Justified
Port Metro Vancouver finally released its 2014 year end container statistics. No wonder they took so long – the actual containers handled (TEUs – Twenty Foot Equivalent Units) came in well below their latest forecast. As recently as June 2014 PMV had been projecting an annual increase of over 6 percent to almost 3 million TEUs. However 2014 actually ended with them handling just over 2.9 million TEUs, a one year shortfall of almost 90,000 TEUs. In fact as recently as 2011 they were forecasting they would handle almost 3.3 million TEUs in 2014. So even having reduced their forecasts they still fell short. Still that did not stop the Port spin machine kicking into high gear, claiming in the media that 2014 was a record year.
In fact PMV’s own recently-published figures show that there was zero growth in full container shipments in 2014. Even adding in the movement of empty containers, PMV only recorded a 3 percent annual growth over 2013 - and nobody makes money shipping empty containers. What the Port fails to mention is that their 2014 figures were bolstered by the handling of increased US container traffic, as a result of the labour disruptions at US West Coast ports. If it had not been for that bonus they might well have seen a year over year decline in container traffic.
In the last six years PMV has missed its forecast increase each and every year. The actual 6 year compound annual growth rate for total containers is running at 2.63 percent and for full containers at 2.82 percent. Many factors including a repatriation of manufacturing jobs to North America indicate that going forward all PMV can expect is a 4 percent annual growth – perhaps 5 percent at best.
This is supported by recent industry forecasts – including from one of the major shipping lines - suggesting that going forward an annual growth of between 4 and 5 percent is realistic. Despite that PMV has been claiming recently that they will record increased container volumes each and every year going forward of between 6 and 7 percent. How are they going to do that when the last six years show that their compound annual growth is less than 3 percent?
Meanwhile the Port of Prince Rupert has had healthy growth, recording a 15 percent year over year increase for 2014. Prince Rupert container port is in the midst of a phased expansion that will add significant container capacity, sufficient to satisfy Canada’s trading needs for many years to come.
It is time that Port Metro Vancouver stopped the game playing and admitted that a second container terminal on Roberts Bank is not needed now or in the foreseeable future.
The YouTube clip from Citizens Against Port Expansion tells the story.
Video - The Year of Living Fearlessly
January 18 2015
Watch this new video by Citizens Against Port Expansion
Cliff Caprani outlines what we are up against in the months ahead as we work to stop Port Metro Vancouver from building a second container terminal on a huge man-made island in Georgia Strait.
PMV Habitat Restoration a Failure
Port Metro Vancouver (PMV) has had a habitat banking program for some years. The concept works like this - they select an area that they decide they can “improve” and then carry out work on that location. The sole purpose of this program is for PMV to build up credits that it can use to offset damage that it does to the environment in other locations – such as if it were to get permission to build a second container terminal on Roberts Bank.
There is nothing wrong with the concept but there is plenty wrong with the way PMV executes. Recently there has been little or no oversight or control by government agencies, nor does PMV take account of community concerns. A good example was the log clearing that they carried out in Boundary Bay. For this project there was no community consultation, nor did they listen to experts on salt marsh ecology that said it was best to leave the logs where they were. Instead they moved in and destroyed an area that was a valuable food source for raptors and other birds of prey. By removing the logs they also killed off all the voles and other small critters that lived in and under the logs. This destroyed a valuable source of food for the winter of 2013 for the owls, and other birds of prey.
Also, as a result in 2014 it made the salt marsh much more accessible. People were able to tramp over the salt marsh, ride bikes and ATVs and do further damage to what became a fragile environment. Then in late 2014 the first major winter storm brought back the logs, seaweed and other debris, doing even more damage to what is now a fragile environment.
The pictures below tell the tale