Blue Water Task Force, Partnerships, Youth, Water Quality, Public Notification
February 15 2015

Vancouver Island BWYTF joins Waterkeeper Swim Guide

by Mara Dias

The Vancouver Island Chapter launched its Blue Water Youth Task Force (BWYTF) in June 2014.  They set out to provide water quality information for local surfers and year-round recreational users and have since formed a successul community engagement program by involving local youth and First Nations groups in their water testing program. 

Only six months after their launch, the Vancouver Island BWYTF has joined forces with the Waterkeeper Swim Guide to both build credibility for their Chapter and expand the reach of their water testing program locally and across Canada and the United States.  Locals and visitors alike, can go on-line or download the Swim Guide app to their cell phone, to access timely information on the condition of local beaches on Vancouver Island provided by the Vancouver Island Chapter.  

Kudos Vancouver Island BWYTF!!!

Map of Water Testing Sites on the Waterkeeper Swim Guide, Vancouver Island, Canada
Map of Water Testing Sites on the Waterkeeper Swim Guide, Vancouver Island, Canada

 

This is a great partnership between the Waterkeeper Swim Guide and the Surfrider Foundation's Blue Water Task Force, which we will explore bringing to other locations.   Both the mission of Waterkeeper and the purpose of the Swim Guide align well with Surfrider's mission to protect and enjoy our oceans, waves and beaches.  Read the Waterkeeper Blog post reprinted below welcoming Vancouver Island Surfrider as a measure of Waterkeeper's enthusiasm for this collaboration.

About Waterkeeper Alliance
Founded in 1999 by environmental attorney and activist Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., and several veteran Waterkeeper Organizations, Waterkeeper Alliance is a global movement of on-the-water advocates who patrol and protect over 100,000 miles of rivers, streams and coastlines in North and South America, Europe, Australia, Asia and Africa.
 
Waterkeepers are building Swim Guide for one reason: they want people to explore, enjoy, and fall in love with the beach so that our coastlines and swimming holes will be protected for generations to come.  This free app helps you find your closest beaches, know at a glance which ones are safe for swimming, and share your love of beaches with friends and family.  Go to swimguide.org to view or download the Swim Guide app.

 

Reprinted from the Waterkeeper Swim Guide Blog.

The Surfrider Foundation: for the protection and enjoyment of our world’s oceans, waves, and beaches

The first quality of a water leader is that they know their watermark. A water leader is acutely aware of their connection to our most important resource. And that connection empowers them to dedicate themselves to protecting the bodies of water that shaped them and made them who they are.

That right there describes the work of Surfrider volunteers.

The Surfrider Foundation was started thirty years ago by a handful of surfers who tried, and succeeded, to save their favourite break from becoming unsurfable due to excessive coastal development at Malibu’s Surfrider Beach.

Contaminated runoff from the development had made the surfers sick and environmental degradation was turning their favourite wave break into polluted mush. So they took action to protect what they love.

Today the Surfrider Foundation is one of the biggest, most accomplished, and most adept environmental non-profits in the world working for longterm protection and enjoyment of our recreational waters.

Surfrider Vancouver Island and the Blue Water Youth Task Force
Water quality information for Vancouver Island surfers from Vancouver Island Surfriders

Surfrider Foundation Vancouver Island is one of two Canadian Surfrider chapters. Their mission is the protection and enjoyment of our world’s oceans, waves, and beaches.

Water quality monitoring is one of Surfrider’s core activities. Their volunteer-run monitoring program, which goes by the name of the Blue Water Task Force (BWTF), has been instrumental in gathering recreational water quality information for fresh and marine waters. Data from the BWTF alerts the public to water quality issues and has also spearheaded action to address chronic water pollution problems.

What is special about Surfrider Vancouver Island’s monitoring program, the Blue Water Youth Task Force (BWYTF), is that it engages with and is managed by local youth and First Nations groups, including FUN Society kids camps, YMCA Summer Work Student Exchange, and the ȽÁU, WELṈEW̱ Tribal School.

The BWYTF tests the water at 12 coastal sites around Victoria B.C. as well as at 4 freshwater sites on the island. You can click here to see exactly where they are sampling. And because islanders are out playing in the water year round they test year round.

Their data in incredibly important as information about the island’s recreational waters is currently very limited in frequency as well as in scope. Many popular recreational water sites and surf spots are not tested, leaving both people and the environment vulnerable to the effects of contaminated water.

As of today Surfrider Vancouver Island’s recreational water quality data will be available on Swim Guide.

Thank you Surfrider Vancouver Island!