Coastal Restoration Update August 2020
Director Bill Heath and bull kelp
Bill Heath interview with Maria Cantazaro
Maria Cantazaro touring Project Watershed’s kelp projects
This year Project Watershed’s Coastal Restoration Project is focused on salt marsh restoration and kelp monitoring. We had to postpone our eelgrass work until next spring, as COVID limitations and a variety of staffing changes diminished our capacity. As eelgrass transplanting has higher success rates when performed in the spring, we feel this is an acceptable adjustment.
With the help of volunteers, we did successful saltmarsh plantings in Fanny Bay (read more…). We also continued to monitor our kelp transplants at Maude Reef and Oyster River. We monitored water quality, temperature and light s at these sites and collected GPS waypoints to determine the exact size of the kelp forest.. We now have three years of data.
This past year we tried a new kelp restoration technique whereby we moved small kelp plants attached to individual rocks from the healthy Oyster River donor site to another area where bull kelp is struggling to grow. Twenty-three of the small bull kelp plants from the Oyster River remain in our transplant area. Unfortunately the rest drifted away – despite attempts to weigh them down – as they grew their floatation increased and they were taken away by the currents.
Project Watershed Director Bill Heath reports “We have done a survey of the red urchin population in the area; the reds have taken over from the green urchins and there is lots of grazing pressure on saccharina and other macroalgae. The transplant area is very dynamic with many different species. On a positive note there is still an enhanced abundance of juvenile rockfish and it is highest near the kelp work.”
Nikki Wright from Seachange Marine Conservation Society and Maria Cantazaro from the Pacific Salmon Foundation (PSF) visited our kelp research site at Oyster River and our saltmarsh projects. Maria is a researcher working for the PSF on a report looking at the importance of nearshore, habitat connectivity and estuarine habitat to Pacific salmon. She is also looking at climate change impacts to these habitats in the Strait of Georgia/Salish Sea and restoration strategies that are being utilized to adapt to these changes. She toured the projects, interviewed directors Dan Bowen and Bill Heath, and captured video of our work. She will be featuring our work as part of her report, when it comes out we will post it to our website.
On Saturday, September 26, forty volunteers pitched in to collect garbage at Kus-kus-sum and Hollyhock Flats as part of the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup. The photos and short video captured from the day illustrate just how industrious it was.
Project Watershed has raised over $2.9 million for Kus-kus-sum and they are closer than ever to acquiring and restoring the site to natural habitat for fish & wildlife, climate change mitigation, reconciliation and community health.
Project Watershed needs volunteers to help us harvest willow cuttings, and then plant them alongside sections of Mallard Creek.
Deanne McRae and Mackenzie Gartside have started something new in downtown Courtenay – The Uplifters Shop. Unlike a normal for profit retail store, most of the items they sell have some kind of charity kickback. In this way the store “lifts up” a variety of charities both local and abroad. One project they are supporting is Project Watershed’s Kus-kus-sum initiative.
Christopher Smith of Glaskrafter Art Glass is generously donating the proceeds from a selection of his beautiful kiln glass salmon sculptures to the Kus-kus-sum project. In fact, he has already donated $1,600 to Kus-kus-sum for a sculpture bought in August.
We were finally able to hold the Paintings, By The Numbers event on Sept 12, 2020. The event raised over $25,000 for Kus-kus-sum and despite the fact that it was very different than we had planned preCOVID, it turned out to be a success.
Join us on September 26th as we participate in the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup. The cleanup will occur on the Kus-kus-sum property and the adjacent Hollyhock flats area. We will start at 10am and go til about noon.
The World Wildlife Fund has released a variety of resources for both professionals and citizen scientists researching forage fish. This includes a spawning survey guidance document, as well as QEP and Citizen Scientist sampling methodologies and data sheets.