Event Title

Five years of Eelgrass Habitat Restoration in the K’ómoks Estuary, BC Canada

Presentation Abstract

Eelgrass (Zostera marina) meadows are important components of near-shore marine ecosystems that support and shelter many fish and invertebrates, including juvenile salmon. Because eelgrass reproduction in the Salish Sea is primarily through rhizome spread rather than seed dispersal, areas void of eelgrass due to disturbance are slow to recover even though historical disturbances of river dredging, log storage, mining and mill activities have ceased in the area.

Through funding by PSF, RecFish (DFO), CEC-NAPECA, volunteers and contractors; Comox Valley Project Watershed (CVPW) has been successfully transplanting eelgrass from donor beds to establish new beds in previously disturbed areas of the K'ómoks Estuary for the past five years. In July 2015, CVPW carried out a subtidal eelgrass planting of approximately 1000 m2;making their total of subtidal and intertidal combined restoration areas approximately 6500 m2. In 2013 a 3400 m2 transplant was the largest single effort to date. Follow up dive surveys have assessed this transplant as 95% successfully established and it was noted that there were also shoot growth by seed dispersal within the transplant beds.

Eelgrass transplant restoration efforts provide both ecological and social benefit to the Comox Valley. Eelgrass meadow restoration is not only a benefit to salmon recovery but also contributes to climate adaptation strategies. Community involvement through volunteerism, media releases, social media and education opportunities continue to provide information to the public on the importance of the eelgrass ecosystem as a key habitat for fish (especially salmon), as part of the marine food web, shoreline protection from storm surges, shoreline erosion stabilization and carbon sequestration from the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

Session Title

Bringing Communities Together to Embark on Major Estuarine Restoration

Conference Track

Protection, Remediation and Restoration

Conference Name

Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference (2016 : Vancouver, B.C.)

Document Type

Event

Location

2016SSEC

Type of Presentation

Oral

Contributing Repository

Digital content made available by University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University.

Rights

This resource is displayed for educational purposes only and may be subject to U.S. and international copyright laws. For more information about rights or obtaining copies of this resource, please contact University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA 98225-9103, USA (360-650-7534; heritage.resources@wwu.edu) and refer to the collection name and identifier. Any materials cited must be attributed to the Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference Records, University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University.

Type

Text

Language

English

Format

application/pdf

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Five years of Eelgrass Habitat Restoration in the K’ómoks Estuary, BC Canada

2016SSEC

Eelgrass (Zostera marina) meadows are important components of near-shore marine ecosystems that support and shelter many fish and invertebrates, including juvenile salmon. Because eelgrass reproduction in the Salish Sea is primarily through rhizome spread rather than seed dispersal, areas void of eelgrass due to disturbance are slow to recover even though historical disturbances of river dredging, log storage, mining and mill activities have ceased in the area.

Through funding by PSF, RecFish (DFO), CEC-NAPECA, volunteers and contractors; Comox Valley Project Watershed (CVPW) has been successfully transplanting eelgrass from donor beds to establish new beds in previously disturbed areas of the K'ómoks Estuary for the past five years. In July 2015, CVPW carried out a subtidal eelgrass planting of approximately 1000 m2;making their total of subtidal and intertidal combined restoration areas approximately 6500 m2. In 2013 a 3400 m2 transplant was the largest single effort to date. Follow up dive surveys have assessed this transplant as 95% successfully established and it was noted that there were also shoot growth by seed dispersal within the transplant beds.

Eelgrass transplant restoration efforts provide both ecological and social benefit to the Comox Valley. Eelgrass meadow restoration is not only a benefit to salmon recovery but also contributes to climate adaptation strategies. Community involvement through volunteerism, media releases, social media and education opportunities continue to provide information to the public on the importance of the eelgrass ecosystem as a key habitat for fish (especially salmon), as part of the marine food web, shoreline protection from storm surges, shoreline erosion stabilization and carbon sequestration from the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.