A new TRU-led research project, funded by Genome British Columbia (Genome BC) and Genome Canada, aims to improve the strategies for monitoring the impact of Mount Polley Mine tailings breach on the ecosystem and to provide recommendations for environmental remediation.
The project is being led by Dr. Lauchlan Fraser from Thompson Rivers University (TRU), Dr. Heath Garris, a post?doctoral fellow in Natural Resource Sciences also at TRU, and Dr. Sue Baldwin, a Professor in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering at the University of British Columbia.
“Being able to respond to emerging issues in a timely manner is of great significance and one of the reasons that Genome BC has made funding quickly available,” says Dr. Alan Winter, President and CEO of Genome BC.
Dr. Fraser is speaking about this research at a public event at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops tonight from 5:30 – 7:00pm. This free public event, Bringing Genomics Home: Responding to the Mount Polley Mine Breach, is part of Genome BC’s community outreach series. Registration is required: www.genomebc.ca/kamloops.
“Genomics technologies may provide the key to both understanding the elements necessary to recreate functional ecosystems and provide sufficient benchmarks for success,” says Dr. Fraser, a Professor in the Natural Resource Sciences. “I am looking forward to sharing information about this research project with the Kamloops community.”
The main objectives of the project are to:
- Determine the likelihood of long-term metal leaching into the watershed;
- Improve tools for monitoring passive bioremediation in soil and water;
- Develop molecular markers of metals removal and soil rehabilitation, and
- Conduct controlled bioaugmentation/biostimulation trials.
Entitled “Metagenomics to assess impacts of the Mount Polley Mine tailings dam breach on associated ecosystems” the project is valued at close to $300,000. Other funders include Mount Polley Mine (Imperial Metals), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and Mitacs.
“We are pleased that our university and our researchers are able to play such an important role in understanding the environmental impact of the collapse of the Mount Polley Mine,” says Dr. Alan Shaver, President and Vice-Chancellor of TRU.
About Genome British Columbia:
Genome British Columbia is a catalyst for the life sciences cluster on Canada’s West Coast, and manages a cumulative portfolio of over $660M in 211 research projects and science and technology platforms. Working with governments, academia and industry across sectors such as forestry, fisheries and aquaculture, agri-food, energy and mining, environment, and human health, the goal of the organization is to generate social and economic benefits for British Columbia and Canada. Genome BC is supported by the Province of British Columbia, the Government of Canada through Genome Canada and Western Economic Diversification Canada and more than 300 international public and private co-funding partners. www.genomebc.ca
About Genome Canada
Genome Canada is a not-for-profit organization that acts as a catalyst for developing and applying genomics and genomic-based technologies across multiple sectors to create economic and social benefits for Canadians. For more information, visit www.genomecanada.ca.
- Mining accounts for 30,000 jobs in British Columbia and $8-billion in revenues annually. It is a major economic driver and a key pillar of the economy.
- There are 19 active mines in our province including Mount Polley Mine.
- On August 4, 2014 the Mount Polley Mine tailings dam breached, sending large amounts of mine?influenced, untreated water and sediment into the natural watershed and local lakes. The knock-on effects are still being assessed but what is known is that better tools are needed to reclaim mine wastes.
- Bioremediation has been a part of mining for decades however, genomics is enabling new tools to fully understand the intricacies of how microbes work in the mining environment. Applications of genomics to mining ranges from mineral sourcing aboveground to tailing ponds remediation.
- The Mount Polley Mine tailings dam breach sent 24 million cubic meters of mine?influenced, non?treated water and mine tailings sediment into the natural watershed, covering 25 hectares of lake?associated wetland, 45 hectares of riparian area.
- The breach released sediment and dissolved contaminants to Polley Lake, and Quesnel Lake.
- There is still a risk of contamination further downstream into the Fraser River.
Thompson Rivers University issued a retraction and apology yesterday to more than 400 people for an erroneous communication advising them they had been accepted into the Fall 2015 intake for the Bachelor of Science Nursing (BScN) degree program. The incorrect communication resulted from a technical error in a mail merge process in the Admission Office.
The email indicating acceptance to the BScN was sent in error on Thursday April 16. The email was mistakenly sent to a total of 504 applicants. Of these recipients, seat offers were confirmed for 103 applicants, with the remaining 401 applicants receiving the message in error.
“We are extremely sorry that this error occurred,” said Lindsay Harris, TRU Interim Registrar. “Retraction emails were sent to all affected applicants between 9 pm and 11:30 pm last night. Follow-up communication is a top priority and is being provided promptly.”
Harris confirmed that TRU is conducting an investigation into the processes that led to the technical error and noted that all necessary revisions will be made to reduce the risk of a recurrence.
“The application process for nursing seats is competitive throughout the province,” said Dr. Donna Murnaghan, Dean, TRU School of Nursing. “We understand how awkward this situation is and how disappointed prospective students and their families may be. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this mistake may have caused.”
Applicants affected by this error have been asked to contact Dean Murnaghan directly at 250-852-7288 or the admissions office at 250-828-5036.
Manager Media Relations and Communications
Wally Oppal, Chancellor, Thompson Rivers University
Wally Oppal has dedicated his working life to improving social justice and community safety. He was Crown Counsel and Defence Council on numerous high-profile criminal cases, and in December 2012 delivered Forsaken, a report concluding his duties as the Commissioner of the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry. Born in the Vancouver-Fraserview neighbourhood and raised on Vancouver Island, he attended law school at UBC, after which he operated his own Vancouver-based private practice for 14 years. In 2003 he was appointed to the British Columbia Court of Appeal where he served until 2005 when he resigned to sit in the provincial legislature as Attorney General. That May, he was elected for Vancouver-Fraserview. He served as Attorney General and Minister Responsible for Multiculturalism from 2005-2009. In 2010 he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Laws from the University of the Fraser Valley.
Susan Edgell, host of Midday on CFJC-TV, Kamloops
Susan Edgell is an award-winning journalist who hosts and produces CFJC-TV’s Midday Show, as well as presenting weather on the evening news and anchoring the 6:30 p.m. newscast. Before joining the team at CFJC, Edgell was the primary anchor at a television station in Victoria, B.C. She graduated with honours from the British Columbia Institute of Technology, and holds a degree in Sociology from the University of Victoria. She volunteers for many local charities and is a busy mother of two children.
Lesra Martin, L.L.B, Partner, Martin & Martin Lawyers
At 15, Lesra Martin was living in New York and was functionally illiterate. When presented with the opportunity to obtain an education in Canada, however, he embraced it. Inspired by The Sixteenth Round, Rubin (Hurricane) Carter’s account of his wrongful imprisonment, Martin began writing to Carter in jail, which set into motion a friendship and a five-year legal battle that helped win Carter’s release from prison in 1985. From this friendship came the book Lazarus and The Hurricane, and the subsequent award-winning film, The Hurricane. Martin completed his Honours B.A. in Anthropology from the University of Toronto in 1988, his law degree from Dalhousie Law School in 1997 and went on to serve as a Crown Prosecutor in Kamloops, where he is now a partner in his law firm alongside his wife, Cheryl. Martin, who has appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show and Larry King Live, also works as a motivational speaker, and has appeared before the United Nations. He is the author of The Power of a Promise: Life Lessons Encountered on My Journey from Illiteracy to a Lawyer.
You are invited!
The community is encouraged to attend what promises to be a fun, informative glimpse into some of the most interesting research taking place at universities in Western Canada. Each participant has three minutes to explain his or her body of work before a live audience. The only tool they have at their disposal is a single static slide.
For those who can’t attend in person, the Western Canadian 3MT will be live streamed via: http://original.livestream.com/livetru.
Students graduating from the Bachelor of Fine Arts program host their year-end exhibition from April 17 to May 1 in the TRU Gallery and the various studios in the Visual Arts wing.
Called Untitled 13, the show will feature a range of mediums and sizes.
The show can be viewed Monday through Saturday and generally between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Admission is free.
Amber Michelina Pattie
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