Fraser River - Bird watching
Osprey health indicates water quality
Each day, the pulp mills along the Fraser discharge more than 500,000 m3
(cubic metres) of toxic effluent into the water. The poisons work their way
through the food chain, accumulating in fish and fish-eating birds such as the
Osprey eggs are collected from nests at sites located just above and below
these pulp mills. The eggs are carefully analyzed for two dangerously toxic
chemicals found in the pulp and paper industry's waste water - dioxins and furans.
Newly-hatched ospreys are being closely watched by scientists and environmentalists
near Kamloops and Quesnel. Their growth rates are being measured and their survival
rates monitored. Ospreys feed exclusively on fish, which makes them such good
indicators of river health. By studying certain species like the osprey that
are sensitive to environmental change, scientists can get a picture of changes
in environmental quality.
Another bird, the heron, lays eggs which provide a measure of how successful
limits on pulp mill contaminants have been.
Scientists have developed a way to reduce the toxins by using a new technology
to bleach wood pulp. The federal and provincial governments have legislated
that the amount of chemicals in the effluent be reduced to zero by the year
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