Tipping a hat to 2009, and launching our 20th year

Before the month of January creeps away, I wanted to wish everyone a very Happy New Year. I hope it’s one filled with a lot of laughter, good health and plenty of time enjoying our beautiful Georgia Strait.

Now, before we turn the page too quickly on 2009, I’m going to take a moment to acknowledge the year that was. As with so many other charitable not-for-profits, we felt the squeeze of the economic downturn, however, thanks to the hard work of our staff, board, volunteers, and our incredibly generous donors – we were able to move ahead and achieve much that is making the Strait a healthier place to live, for all of us.

Our successes include:

  • A commitment from the Victoria region to treat its sewage, including using technology to recover resources from waste. In December, the Capital Regional District government submitted their plan to the province which is expected to be approved early this year.
  • An order from the Federal government that provides protection for the critical habitat of the southern resident killer whale. Though the work to protect this incredible creature is not over, this was a big step forward.
  • A ruling from the Federal Court against the Department of Fisheries and Oceans for failing to identify the habitat of the Nooksack dace, an endangered fish restricted to only four streams in B.C.’s Lower Mainland. The means that other recovery plans for marine species in the region should be reviewed and any information on critical habitat included.

Browse our website for more on other exciting work done by GSA in 2009.

With the calendar now changed, we are setting our sites on an exciting and eventful 2010. For many, saying “2010” quickly brings to mind a little event happening in Vancouver/Whistler in February. But for all of us at Georgia Strait Alliance, there is something far more significant happening – our 20th anniversary! It’s hard to believe so much time has passed since a group of caring and dedicated people in the Nanaimo area decided that since no one else was speaking for the Strait, they would.

We’ve achieved a great deal in 20 years and we plan to celebrate those achievements throughout the year and the region. Visit our event page in the coming months to see how we’re going to be celebrating!

In addition to honouring the significant work of GSA over the years, we have other goals for 2010. They include:

  • Improving wild salmon health through the closure of 5 active open net-cage salmon farms in Okisollo Channel, known as the Wild Salmon Narrows, and the transition of open net-cage farms to closed containment technology.
  • Ensuring cleaner waters through a commitment from Metro Vancouver to upgrade its primary sewage treatment plants by no later than 2020.
  • Supporting marinas and boating facilities in developing best practices by increasing the number of marinas and boating facilities participating in our unique eco-rating program Clean Marine BC.

And that’s just a taste of what we have planned in our efforts to protect and conserve the Strait of Georgia.

Thanks for all your support in 2009 and we look forward to working – and celebrating – with you in the year ahead.

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