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Southern Resident Orcas: Combatting Contaminants for Healthy Habitats

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Did you know that one of the most insidious threats facing the endangered Southern Resident orcas is largely invisible?

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The waters orcas call home contain chemicals that can accumulate up the food chain and cause negative effects to orcas and their prey (Chinook salmon). Environmental Quality Guidelines can be used to assess whether a contaminant is present at a level that poses a risk to the environment.

Join Georgia Strait Alliance and Environment and Climate Change Canada to explore the impacts of contaminants on Southern Resident orcas and what the Government of Canada is doing to tackle this threat.

Speakers:

Shinjini Pilon is a Program Scientist with the Whales Initiative Contaminants Team at Environment and Climate Change Canada. This team is seeking to reduce the threat of contaminants to Southern Resident Killer Whales and other endangered whale species in Canada. Shinjini completed Master’s and PhD degrees at the University of Ottawa in Chemical and Environmental Toxicology. Her prior experience includes researching legacy pollutants in remote First Nations communities in Ontario and toxic algal blooms in several locations across Canada. She also has experience conducting Human Health and Ecological Risk Assessments for contaminated sites. When she’s not working, Shinjini enjoys being outdoors (canoe camping, cross country skiing, and frequenting neighbourhood parks with her daughter).

Kathleen McTavish is an environmental quality guidelines specialist with the National Guidelines and Standards Office (NGSO) of Environment and Climate Change Canada. NGSO develops environmental quality guidelines (EQGs), in various environmental media (water, sediment, tissue, soil, groundwater etc.) for a variety of chemical substances. Kathleen has been working with this group for the past 4 years, with a focus on developing water guidelines for various metals and organic substances. She is also involved with the Whales Initiative, helping recommend and develop EQGs for the protection of Southern Residents and their prey. In her free time, Kathleen enjoys camping, home brewing beer, and going for jogs with her dog.

ACCESSIBILITY NOTES:

This webinar will be hosted on Zoom with live generated captions. In order to get the most out of the experience, participants should have reliable internet connection.

Georgia Strait Alliance is committed to providing accessible and inclusive programming, if you have any questions about the event, or specific needs, please contact kirsten@georgiastrait.org at least 48 hours before the event.

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