Whether discarded accidentally or deliberately, all of the shoreline litter we find in Canada is the result of human activities. From food wrappers, beverage containers and cigarette butts to fishing line, nets and oil bottles, aquatic litter can leach harmful chemicals into the water, be accidentally eaten by wildlife, or entangle aquatic animals such as otters, sea turtles and birds.

Vancouver Aquarium and WWF-Canada have a formal partnership to grow the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup direct action conservation program — the largest shoreline cleanup program in Canada and third largest in the world. Presented by Loblaw Companies Limited (Loblaw), the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup engages thousands of Canadians annually to clean up their local shorelines through the removal of shoreline litter. Through individual action, nearly one million kilograms of shoreline litter has been removed from these fragile ecosystems since 1997.

The 2011 cleanup takes place September 17-25 across Canada. This week-long opportunity ends on BC Rivers Day which was established 30 years ago. The Rivers Day approach “seeks to raise public understanding of rivers and the many benefits they provide to us — clean water, spawning salmon, historic trade and exploration routes, a place to play.” It is a model that has been adopted nationally, and more recently, internationally (

To celebrate both initiatives, on September 25th, Comox Valley based Project Watershed has registered to clean up three shoreline sites along the Courtenay River Estuary: the Airpark, Simms Park and St Josephs/Port Augusta Park. These three sites form a V – like the heart-shaped Estuary itself.

Members of the Comox Valley Naturalists and employees of Comox Valley Kayaks & Canoes will be partnering with Project Watershed volunteers for this event. Members of the public are encouraged to join in. Shoreline work parties will take place between 10 AM and 12 Noon on September 25th and the water clean-up will occur later in the day. Gloves will be provided thanks to North Island Labs and Mark’s Work Wearhouse.

Everyone interested in participating in keeping their environment healthy is asked to go online at to join Project Watershed at one of their sites, chose another site to sponsor or obtain further details about the event. For further information on Project Watershed activities go to or call 250-703-2871.

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