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Fraser River - Bird watching

Osprey health indicates water quality

More on the Fraser River:
Fraser River:
Caring for a Great Resource

Osprey health indicates water quality

Cariboo Road:
Gold seekers open the interior of British Columbia

Enhancing Creek to Creek:
Uniting to save the Fraser River

Changing Faces:
Immigration trends in British Columbia

Fowl Territory:
Farmers profit by feeding migrating birds

Mountain Marshlands:
Rehabilitation of interior wetlands

A fine mess:
Restoration of a riparian habitat

Stream Makers:
Preparing a nursery for salmon

Tooth or Consequences:
Making good neighbours of beavers

Troubled Waters:
The struggle over salmon fishing

Waste Not:
Poultry manure is recycled into non-polluting pellets

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.

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 2002.

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