Apparently it really is safe to go back in the water off Sunset and Second beaches.
The beaches were closed recently to swimming, wading and other water activities, and according to Vancouver Coastal Health, it was our extended warm spell combined with an increase in sunbathers, dogs, geese and boaters that helped elevate E. coli counts to the point the water was deemed unsafe.
Water samples taken at Jericho Beach had indicated rising E. coli levels as well but not nearly as extreme as Sunset and Second. As of Aug. 9, the E. coli count at Sunset Beach was 320 compared to 210 at Second and 56 at Jericho.
The health authority carried out repeated daily sampling of the water until the E. coli count dropped below the acceptable Canadian guidelines for recreational water quality of 200 colony-forming units per 100 millilitres of water. As of last Thursday, those numbers had dropped to 120 at Second Beach and 140 at Sunset.
Of course, after watching way too many TV shows during Discovery Channel’s Shark Week, including Sharknado, I’m probably not going back in the water any time soon anyway.
I’ll be writing a longer story for Friday’s edition of the Courier about the celebrations and events taking place this upcoming weekend in Stanley Park in honour of the city’s 125th birthday, but in the meanwhile here’s a teaser.
The Stanley Park Ecology Society is celebrating the occasion with what it’s calling the BioBlitz, Aug. 24 and 25, an apt description since it includes dozens of events at various locations all held within two days. In fact there are so many events, it was tough to decide which ones to include in this column, so anyone interested should really check out the society’s website. But here are some highlights, including Upcycling English Ivy and Stanley Park Night Walk at Second Beach, the Wildlife Safari Walk and Bat Mist Netting Survey out of Lumberman’s Arch, and the Amphibian and Reptile Walk and Tracking Down Nature for Wildlife Photography Walk beginning at Lost Lagoon. For a complete schedule and map of events, visit stanleyparkecology.ca.
Engage and educate
The Vancouver Aquarium is also getting involved in Celebrate! Stanley Park celebrations taking place this weekend.
The aquarium’s mobile education program, the Aquavan, will be at Lumberman’s Arch Aug. 24 and 25 to provide up close and personal encounters with a variety of live marine invertebrates, including live sea stars, crabs, anemones and sea urchins. For more information, visit vanaqua.org.
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