Federal scientists here to study DDT levels in alpine lakes

By David F. Rooney

Two environmental scientists employed by the military are here to study DDT levels in Mount Revelstoke National Park’s alpine lakes.

Nick Battye and Megan Lord-Hoyle are employed by a civilian scientific unit based at Royal Military College in Kingston, Ont. Their group performs scientific studies for a variety of federal departments, including Parks Canada which is employing them to test Eva, Miller, Upper Jade and Lower Jade Lakes for DDT levels.

The duo was flown to Lower Jade Lake — Upper Jade was covered in a two-inch layer of ice — on Tuesday along with Parks’ Photographer and Videographer Rob Buchanan and environmental scientist Sarah Boyle. They carried equipment that would permit them to grab samples form the surface of the lake bottom as well as core samples to a depth of 30 centimetres.

The two want to determine the levels and ages of the residues of DDT and its daughter toxins DDE and DTD. DDT was a powerful pesticide that was widely used in Canada before it was banned in the 1970s. It is still used in parts of Asia and their tests will help determine whether the DDT levels present in the lakes date back to the bad old days of domestic use or whether the the poisons were blown here from regions where they are still used.

The group was flown to Lower Jade by Selkirk Mountain Helicopters Pilot Jamie Ryga and found eight inches of fresh snow awaiting them on the lake shore.

Two federal environmental scientists are in Revelstoke this week to test Eva, Miller, Upper Jade and Lower Jade Lakes in Mount Revelstoke National Park for residue of potent pesticide DDT. One of them, Nick Battye (right) is shown here with Parks Canada environmental scientist Sarah Boyle and Selkirk Mountain Helicopters Pilot Jamie Ryga prior to a flight up to Lower Jade Lake on Tuesday. David F. Rooney
Parks Canada Photographer Rob Buchanan (foreground) gets dressed as federal scientist Megan Lord-Hoyle (left) talks with Parks Canada's Sarah Boyle and her colleague Nick Battye (right) on the shore of Lower Jade Lake shortly after they were dropped off by a helicopter. David F. Rooney
Nick Battye shows off a PONAR device that will be used to scoop surface sediment from the bottom of the alpine lakes on Mount Revelstoke, He and his colleague, Megan Lord-Hoyle also have coring devices for snagging core samples from the floor of the lake. They plan to use a Zodiac to acquire their lake-bottom samples... if they can get out on the water. Lower Jade was ice-free, but Upper Jade, which is just 300 metre higher, was covered by a two-inch layer of ice. David F. Rooney photo
A chopper piloted by Jamie Ryga brings a Zodiac to Lower Jade Lake for use by scientists studying DDT levels in Mount Revelstoke National Park's alpine lakes. David F. Rooney photo
Pilot Jamie Ryga (left, behind the helicopter) stashes a long line used to bring a Zodiac to Lower Jade Lake. David F. Rooney photo
Parks' Photographer Rob Buchanan and scientists Sara Boyle. Nick Battye and Megan Lord-Hoyle huddle close to the ground — okay, the eight-inches of snow that covered it — as helicopter pilot Jamie Ryga and The Current's David Rooney take off in a Selkirk Mountain Helicopters chopper. David F. Rooney photo