Stoney Creek has been impacted by road salt contamination since the mid-eighties when Simon Fraser University(SFU) built a salt storage shed on the south slope of Burnaby Mountain.  Since 1999, Stoney Creek volunteers have been monitoring water quality and advocating for decreasing contamination from road salt.  For the full story, see the presentation Alan James made to the Ecological Society of America’s convention in New Orleans in August 2018.

In 2011, SFU relocated the salt storage to an enclosed facility and have since been diligent in reducing the salt used for road safety. They are using beet juice brine before salting to make the salt stick better to the roads.  However, salt in the groundwater is still reaching Stoney Creek.  SCEC has embarked on a wider monitoring project to get more data to address this problem. The Stoney Creek Road Salt and Salmon Project aims to identify the extent of road salt contamination in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia and support academic research into the effect of road salt on Chum and Coho salmon as well as its effect on the stream bugs (benthic macro invertebrates). We hope this will eventually lead to salt being classed as a toxic substance requiring a licence to apply it. See the Blog entry for updates.

Poster displayed at the Ecological Society of America Conference.