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.
Spring has sprung and we are busy planning for Earth Week 2021! Earth Week is April 16 – 22, and we will be celebrating our love for this planet with a host of activities to support the health of our Lands and Waters.
With the crocuses and daffodils in bloom and herring in the news I think we can say it is spring. Spring means another season of intertidal forage fish field validation is complete.
Spring – a great time for planting in your garden and in the intertidal/subtidal zones. Once again Project Watershed will be working to restore eelgrass (Zostera marina) habitats by undertaking transplants in areas where the eelgrass is sparse or missing as determined by our coastal nearshore habitat mapping work.
The condemned office building at Kus-kus-sum, formerly known as Field Sawmill, came down March 23, 2021. Comox Valley Project Watershed Society, with funding from the Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program, led the work.
The Comox Valley Project Watershed Society (Project Watershed) is offering a unique opportunity for a videographer to create a documentary focused on the Kus-kus-sum project.
An important milestone was met on November 30th, 2020 as Project Watershed transferred the remaining funds for the acquisition of Kus-kus-sum to Interfor Corporation LTD.
After a brief hiatus from Project Watershed Jennifer Sutherst has returned to the organization as our Senior Staff Biologist in order to continue to support our sensitive habitat stewardship objectives.
The Board of Directors is proud to announce the recruitment of an Executive Director to the Project Watershed team.