Saturday May 25th was a great day to explore and learn about the mudflats in the K’omoks Estuary. A group of 20 attended the Project Watershed event lead by biologist, Michele Jones, as she revealed some of the secrets of the foreshore and intertidal areas.
Jones started the afternoon off with an interactive demonstration illustrating what occurs when salt and fresh water meet. She went on to inform the group that the fresh water wedge that comes from the rivers draining into the Estuary can extend out past Tree Island on a calm day.
Finally geared with gumboots, participants headed down to the mudflats, pausing to learn the difference between sedges, reeds and grasses which grow along the foreshore. They went on to explore the mud and tidal pools, streams, old fish trap stakes, and mud “homes”. It was a very low tide that day and the group wandered out to land that is usually covered in water. “It seemed like you could walk right over to Comox” one of the participants exclaimed.
The search for eelgrass beds further out on the flats was called off due to the changing tide, however, a few strands were found and studied. Michele explained how eelgrass provides critical habitat for fish, where they find food and protection from predators. Eelgrass is amazing. It can grow up to 3 cm in length per day and attain lengths of 2-3 meters. It also produces four to five crops in a season, making it even more effective than trees and field crops for carbon sequestration.
This event was part of the “Keeping It Living Campaign” to raise funds and awareness about our Estuary; the most important estuary on Vancouver Island. Another component of the Campaign is an art auction and competition which is up at Zocalo Cafe. Bids on artworks and votes for People Choice will be accepted until 9pm on June 8th. Reserve bids for auction items range from $15 to $3000. All reserve bids are below retail value. Art can be viewed online at www.keepingitliving.ca. Look out for more Estuary events as part of Elevate the Arts!