Bringing Communities Together to Embark on Major Estuarine Restoration – Scientific Session

Join Project Watershed on April 4th for discussion of our community restoration efforts and research over the last 2 years on Blue Carbon in the K’omoks Estuary. This workshop will provide a sneak peek of the presentations and material that will be discussed at the Salish Sea Conference in April. For details on the day’s workshop, see the schedule of events below.

Blue carbon is carbon dioxide sequestered by marine vegetation. In estuaries, salt marsh vegetation and eelgrass are reported in the literature to be considerably more efficient at carbon sequestration than plants that grow on land. This workshop will focus on eelgrass, specifically Zostera marina, which is native to the Pacific Northwest and some of the approaches to attempt to measure the carbon sequestered. To learn more about our Blue Carbon work click here

The discussion leaders of this workshop are representatives from the Blue Carbon Team assembled by the Comox Valley Project Watershed Society who have studied approaches to measure and evaluate blue carbon in the K’ómoks Estuary on the east coast of Vancouver Island. They include Dr. Paul Horgen, Dr. Royann Petrell, Dr. Will Hintz, Christine Hodgson, M.Sc. and Angela Spooner, M.Sc.

Our approach will encourage participation through discussion and sharing of experiences. Short presentations will provide data collected from our study site; we hope that others can present findings from their study areas. The workshop will end with summary statements from our discussion leaders based on analysis of what has been presented in the workshop.

10:00-10:12 Don Castleden, From Symposium to Action
10:15-10:27 Jennifer Sutherst, Restoration of Saltmarsh Habitat Using Engineered Barrier Islands
10:30-10:45 Questions
10:45-10:57 Dan Bowen, Airpark Lagoon Breach – Restoring Habitat Connectivity for Fish
10:57 – 11:09 Angela Spooner, Five years of Eelgrass Habitat Restoration in the K’omoks Estuary to be discussed by group (Angela may not be able to attend)
11:09 – 11:30 Questions
11:30 – 12:30 Lunch break and poster viewing

POSTER: Dan Bowen & Team, Bull Kelp Restoration Research in K’omoks Estuary
POSTER: Christine Hodgson, Blue Carbon in the Comox Valley: The Benefits of Eelgrass and Salt marsh Restoration in Coastal Communities

12:30-2 – Blue Carbon Workshop Overview and discussion to follow

The first part of the workshop will focus on two key areas.

  1. Mapping of intertidal and subtidal eelgrass – benefits, limitations and challenges.
  2. Core sediment sampling for eelgrass – approaches used, benefits, limitations and challenges. We will use the data we have gathered from the K’ómoks Estuary to illustrate our findings.

The second half of the workshop will examine:

  • Where eelgrass detritus is distributed in the K’ómoks Estuary – including a report of a new and extremely interesting observation of eelgrass detritus shoreline burial,
  • New approaches to follow this detritus with DNA signature sequences,
  • Confirmation of Zostera marina DNA in deep water sediments outside the estuary,
  • How this information can support mapping the distribution of eelgrass carbon in other estuaries, and
  • How understanding the geology and hydraulics of the estuary determines where
    detritus burial occurs.

Seating is limited so please contact us no later than March 30th to arrange for discussion time in the workshop or to indicate your attendance at

Location:  Rose Theatre, 2364 Rosewall Crescent, Courtenay, BC V9N 8R9, Canada