MEGAREACH PROJECT – Bring Back the Herring Project

The Vision

The Bioregional Marine Sanctuary Vision : “To Restore Natural Animal Populations throughout the Salish Sea Bioregion to more than 50% of historic levels as soon as possible”

Under the MEGAREACH umbrella, we have designed a unique project to spotlight the water quality in reservoirs, rivers, estuaries and the Salish Sea itself.

We are proud of the BC drinking water although there are concerns of bio and pharma pollution – especially estrogen mimickers which are not yet being monitored, but are having a serious affect on all male life in and around the Salish Sea.

The sewage treatment plant discharge is still considered worrying. But hope rises as construction of McLoughlin Point Wastewater Treatment Plant ramps up. 

So it is with both pride and concern we begin this long journey to try to help Doug Tolchin achieve the  Bioregional Marine Sanctuary Vision defined above, and launch this “Bring Back the Herring” Project – putting a spotlight on Water Quality.

Phase 1 (2018)  :  testing the hardware and software in one or two cities – Victoria BC+.  In Victoria, taking samples in three separate places :

  • Oak Bay Water Supply
  • The Gorge – Eel Grass Beds (Herring spawning sites)
  • Clover Point – Salish Sea site of new Sewage Treatment Plant

Phase 2 (2019) : rolling out to sites all around the Salish Sea ; and to sites in other countries


We the 8M people in the 50 cities around the great Salish Sea, from Seattle to Vancouver to Victoria,  need to clean up our water sheds.

Spotlighting water quality will help everyone learn that Salish Sea pollution is much more than just carbon particles but is about man-made chemical pollution, EMF pollution and Algae/Virus genetic modification .

The BBtH system will be built upon the ESRI ArcGIS Online platform  .

It will be useable not just in the Salish Sea Bioregion, but across the Bioregions and Watersheds of the world using a free, open-source software app and data mine.  We call our customized platform “MegaGIS”. 

Scope of the Overall Project

Bringing Back the Herring

Phase 1 : Implementation of ArcGIS  “MegaReachMaps” water quality mapping system and datamine

A short (<12 month) sub-project to test the selected hardware and software on three “issues”  in Victoria. Each issue will require a different sample focus.


We will also populate the datamine during this first pilot with data from Victoria Municipality Water Department inputting manually publicly available data streams and datasets.

The municipality has offered our use of their data. In many cases the data collected is simply stored today in Excel spreadsheets. Our long term goal will be to interface to real-time data sources structured according to International Standards (ISO) classifications.

Philosophy of Hardware Supported : Any and every current and future water quality sensor must be easily adopted into the system.

In Phase 1 we are excited about the HACH system.

The water quality for any given location will be visible on a ArcGIS “Dash Board” and will include a set of dash board “dials” to easily see the status of chemical and biological (pharmacological) water contaminants.

The intent is to allow the public to easily see and track local water quality issues.

As this is an open source project we do not want to inhibit the rapid adoption of this system – as a easy to use, low cost data collection system.

Phase 2 :  Salish Sea BRING BACK THE HERRING Project

Select Municipalities will provide water quality measurements. Local volunteers will manually enter the data.

In some cases we will use HACH DR900 samplers to take our own readings close to Sewage Treatment Plants around the Salish Sea.

Eventually a datamine of water sensors  will be built using data from our sensors placed all around the Salish Sea.

Technically it will integrate a vast network of sensors all around the Salish Sea Bioregion. It will integrate old technology already monitoring reservoirs with our new “open source” network of sensor feeds provided by companies (new and old) and individuals skilled with appropriate technologies.

We are calling this project : Bring Back the Herring Project

To learn more about the water quality issues of the Salish Sea :


Some of Puget Sound’s largest secondary sewage treatment plants. There are 106 publicly-owned sewage treatment plants in the Puget Sound Basin. Many are located on or near to the natal estuaries of threatened chinook salmon runs. All of Puget Sound is considered to be an estuarine ecosystem.



Imagine a sophisticated real-time KPI (Key performance indicator) dashboard – called MegaReachMaps and built upon the ESRI ArcGIS Online platform.

Imagine sensors to measure water quality ( pharma, chemical and bio pollution with advanced viruses and bacteria detection and identification technology) pioneering  the latest developments, miniaturization and cost reduction hardware.

The system would combine proven “best in class” devices and software , with innovative emerging technologies.

GLOBAL OPPORTUNITY : the first publicly available version of the “MegaReachMaps” system will allow any registered user to enter data and attach it to any point on the Earth. The plan is to encourage rapid growth of the global network of “users”. 

We are partnered with MEGAREACH and RAIN.

This project falls “under” the greater vision of Sir Fred Hoyle and Professor Chandra Wickramasinghe’s HOYLE SHIELD Project.


The Project is dedicated to :

Sir Fred Hoyle and Professor Chandra Wickramasinghe’s 40 years collaboration in science.  (see HOYLE SHIELD Project)

Laurie GourlayLaurie capped nearly 30 years of environmental activism in 2017  by launching a petition to have the great Salish Sea, which surrounds southern Vancouver Island and stretches from Seattle to Vancouver and Victoria, designated as a UN World Heritage Site. Laurie was getting close, with more than 15,000 signatures on his petition to date when he sadly passed.

This dedication honours Laurie’s last action to protect this unique part of his and our natural environment, with a look at the threats facing the Salish Sea and the importance of his petition.