From June 21-23rd, 2018 Project Watershed will be transplanting subtidal eelgrass near the community of Bowser. Eelgrass forms an important part of the ‘salmon highway’ by providing foraging and refuge areas for young fish including Pacific salmon. In addition, eelgrass provides food for migratory waterfowl, shelter for invertebrates, and spawning surfaces for Pacific herring. It also sequesters carbon, helping to offset some of the impacts of climate change and stabilizes the substrate and moderates wave energy helping to reduce coastal erosion.
Last year Project Watershed received a 5-year funding contribution from Fisheries and Oceans Canada, through the Oceans Protection Plan (to learn more click here). This funding will allow us to inventory eelgrass, salt marsh and kelp habitats along 120 km of coastline (from the Oyster River Estuary to Annie Creek), develop a Coastal Restoration Plan for the area, and implement restoration projects at sites identified. 500 m2 of eelgrass is planned to be transplanted at the site that has been selected near Bowser. Afterwards the transplants will be monitored on an on-going basis to assess the success of the restoration.
The lead Biologist for this work is Angela Spooner from Sylvan Island Environmental Consulting. Community involvement is key for the success of these restoration projects. We feel that engaging the local community in our restoration activities creates ‘ownership’ of the coastal habitats and builds stewardship of these areas beyond the scope of this project. The hope is to have community volunteers helping with both the restoration and long-term monitoring of the projects. For this particular project teams of volunteers will be tying and bundling eelgrass in preparation for our divers to plant it. If you are interested in learning more about this work or would like to volunteer your time, you can contact Angela directly at: firstname.lastname@example.org