Other Issues in the Strait

Why Support Georgia Strait Alliance?

10 great reasons to support GSA:

1. The Strait is special.
2. The cause is urgent.
3. We're the ones addressing the cause.
4. We offer practical solutions.
5. We build positive partnerships.
6. We have a history of success.
7. Our programs are powerful.
8. Our team is committed.
9. Your support will go a long way.
10. Your grandchildren will thank you.

 

1. The Strait is special.

Photo by Alan WilsonCountless small creeks and rivers flow into the Strait of Georgia -- along with the mighty Fraser River. All of these bring nutrient rich silt and fresh water, supporting thousands of species of plants and animals. Millions of birds, migrating across three continents and more than 20 countries, depend on the Strait's marshes, eelgrass beds, mudflats, beaches and flooded meadows for their survival (Lambert 1994).

In fact, nowhere along the west coast of North America and no other site across Canada supports this kind of wildlife and biodiversity. The Fraser delta and adjacent Boundary Bay serve as a vital stopping point on the migration route known as the Pacific Flyway, where hundreds of thousands of ducks can arrive every day. The entire world population of 3.6 million Western Sandpipers migrates along the BC coast, with hundreds of thousands stopping in the Strait of Georgia to rest and feed.

Underwater reefs and cliffs provide further habitat for a wide range of undersea life, including the giant Pacific octopus, wolf eels, rockfish and lingcod. Shallow areas support huge schools of spawning herring. Wild salmon migrate up and down the coast, starting and ending their lives in the rivers, streams and creeks that flow into the Strait and its adjoining inlets. These and other fish support seals, dolphins, sea lions and the famous orca, emblem of the BC coast.

But Georgia Strait is not only important for wildlife: the region's human population depends on this ecosystem for work, recreation and a quality of life that makes this such a wonderful place to live. Almost three quarter's of British Columbians live around the Strait.

The waters of the Strait support commercial, sport and aboriginal fishing, shellfish aquaculture, transport and other marine commerce, and the growing tourism sector -- including kayak tours, whale watching, dive charters, cultural awareness tours, accommodation, equipment manufacturing and retailing, outfitting and many other services. From all over the world, people are attracted to our region, drawn by our beautiful, rich coastline.

2. The cause is urgent

Photo by Bryan NicholsOur spectacular inland sea is Canada's most at-risk natural environment, according to Parks Canada.

Urban sprawl, toxic chemicals, industrial pollution, sewage, habitat loss, increase diblit tanker traffic, and other human impacts seriously threaten the Strait, its watersheds and wildlife. More than 60 marine species are now listed as at risk by Canadian, US, BC or Washington State agencies -- among these, our majestic southern resident orcas.

Is there hope? Absolutely. But time is short, so we need to move quickly. In 1998, the Vancouver Sun reported that the consensus of scientists was that "We have less than a lifetime to save the Strait of Georgia".

3. We're the ones addressing the cause

While many organizations are doing a great job at addressing local issues or specific problems within the region, Georgia Strait Alliance is the only citizen's group focused on protecting the marine environment throughout the whole Strait of Georgia.

Our mandate requires us to tackle a wide range of issues, including wild salmon conservation, species at risk, pollution, habitat degradation and protection of marine biodiversity.

We are working to ensure clean air, clean water, abundant wild salmon runs and sustainable economic opportunities for our region, long into the future.

4. We promote practical solutions

ToxicSmart workshopWe're not about doom and gloom! We care for our coastal waters in practical ways that can improve the health of the Strait, its watersheds and its people. For example, our ToxicSmart program helps people eliminate toxic products from their homes and gardens, and our award-winning Green Boating program helps recreational boaters to leave a clean wake throughout the Strait.

In advocating for sewage treatment, we have urged decision-makers to adopt technology that will enable the recovery and use of energy resources that can be obtained through sewage treatment -- helping to reduce local energy costs, greenhouse gases and air pollution while protecting the marine environment from sewage pollution.

Our salmon farming campaign team is working to win transition of the industry to safe, closed containment technology that will protect wild salmon and the marine environment from the impacts of open netcage fish farming.

5. We build positive partnerships

Whether the issue is sewage treatment, salmon aquaculture, green boating or protection of marine habitat, Georgia Strait Alliance brings diverse people together in positive partnerships.

Our working relationships are, like our membership, diverse. We work closely with other conservation groups to address issues such as offshore oil and gas development, salmon farming and protection of species at risk. In our advocacy campaigns, we have also worked closely with First Nations, fishermen, labor unions and others.

Our Green Boating program partners with government agencies, port authorities, boating clubs, marinas and marine businesses to carry out boater outreach and education.

GSA and Xwemalhkwu leaders signing protocol agreement. Photo by Eva Manly.Through a formal partnership with the Xwemalhkwu (Homalco) First Nation, we help to address issues of marine resource and habitat protection in their traditional territory.

We have partnered with many businesses to promote sustainability in the region.

Our partnerships also extend beyond political borders. Since the Strait is part of a larger marine ecosystem, we frequently work with organizations in the U.S. who are striving to protect the marine environment of neighbouring Puget Sound.

6. We have a history of success.

Georgia Strait Alliance gets results! To give just a few recent examples:

We've raised the profile of marine species at risk and helped get federal action for conservation, including an Orca Recovery Strategy and Rockfish Conservation Areas. Beyond the border, we helped win listing for the southern resident orcas under the US Endangered Species Act, giving the whales the strongest possible legal protection -- and hope for their survival.

We've reduced sewage pollution in the Strait: in the Lower Mainland, we helped win upgrades of two plants to secondary treatment, and in Victoria, we won a long-overdue directive from the Province, requiring the Capital Regional District to treat its sewage.

We're prevented the establishment of new open netcage fish farms in our region, and we've helped get new closed containment projects approved and underway -- a critical step in converting the industry to safe technology that won't harm the marine environment.

We've helped reduce the use of toxic cleaning, laundry and garden products in homes around the Strait, which in turn has reduced the amount of toxins going into the marine environment.

We've provided our popular Guide to Green Boating, along with absorbent bilge pads to prevent oil spills, to many thousands of boaters around the Strait. The Guide is now used in boating courses by many chapters of the Canadian Power and Sail Squadron, and in 2001 we won the national Canadian Safe Boating Award for Best Environmental Campaign.

See more about our achievements.

7. Our programs are powerful.

Using education, stewardship and advocacy, we tackle critical environmental issues affecting our region and offer practical tools, relevant information and sensible solutions.

Land-based closed containment farm at Cedar. Photo courtesy Agrimarine.Since the early 1990s, Georgia Strait Alliance has worked to protect wild salmon from the impacts of netcage salmon farming. We were one of the first organizations to call for conversion of the industry to closed containment, and we've "walked our talk" by helping to get BC's first commercial scale land-based and in-water salmon closed containment farms approved and underway.

Our advocacy on sewage pollution has resulted in Victoria's commitment to implement treatment, finally putting an end to its longtime practice of dumping its raw sewage into marine waters. But we're not just calling for treatment: we have provided timely information on cutting-edge resource recovery, urging that it be part of Victoria's plan -- saving dollars and putting the energy available from sewage to work in transportation, heating or other local needs.

Our education and stewardship programs are also powerful on a personal level -- helping people to make a big difference to the marine environment through small changes in their own lives. For example:

  • ToxicSmart program participants learn how to improve their family's health and protect the marine environment by identifying toxic products in their homes and gardens and switching to practical, non-toxic alternatives.
  • Straitkeepers become citizen scientists, learning how to monitor the biological diversity of local beaches.
  • Green Boaters learn simple ways to reduce their impact on the marine environment in operating and maintaining their vessels.

8. Our team is committed.

With so many different issues affecting the Strait, Georgia Strait Alliance needs a broad range of expertise. Our staff brings the experience, skills and commitment needed to meet the challenges.

Our hard-working staff is augmented by a diverse and highly skilled Board of Directors and an impressive Advisory Council that includes a former Environment Minister, respected scientists and community leaders.

Our committed team is rounded out by several skilled contractors and a large pool of talented and dedicated volunteers.

9. Your support will go a long way.

The Georgia Strait Alliance is a federally registered charity (charitable registration #13994-2254-RR0001). We rely on the financial support of individuals, organizations and businesses around the region. All cash donations are tax-deductible.

Photo by Laurie MacBrideWe manage our budget carefully, to ensure the best possible value for our members’ dollars. Our administrative and fundraising costs together average only 15% of our annual expenses. This means 85% of your dollars are going directly to our programs, to protect the marine environment of our region.

Donations to Georgia Strait Alliance are leveraged by our partnerships with foundations, government agencies and businesses, so your donation increases in value.

10. Your grandchildren will thank you.

Need we say more?

Please donate today!