Presentation Abstract

Canada has vast seagrass ecosystems, yet they are virtually unprotected and experiencing threats associated with accelerating coastal development and climate change eutrophication, sedimentation, and increased temperature. In British Columbia, there is a long history of community effort to protect seagrass, but little formal legislative action. While federal measures are progressing under the convention on biological diversity (CBD), federal efforts will often miss seagrass which occurs only at the coastal margins. Local action is necessary to protect seagrass, though this will be primarily occurring on a case-by-case basis as individual communities and municipalities act to limit or reduce seagrass-harming actions. We propose a bottom-up ecological approach rather than top-down, with the goal of linking predictors of Zostera bed health, with a focus on nutrient loading, to impacts on trophic use by invertebrates and fish. Most importantly, this information will be used directly to inform local communities and governments of the thresholds of nutrient loading at which these negative impacts may occur. Analysis of data from Boundary Bay (49.0352° N, 122.9400° W) will be a priority because of the network of organizations monitoring and working towards local advocacy. Multiple stressors are likely impacting eelgrass habitat of Boundary Bay, including storm-water discharges and agricultural runoff from three rivers discharging into the bay. However, the eelgrass bed in this estuary is still expansive and may provide the opportunity to identify areas of concern, link them to changes in Zostera bed community structure, and mitigate human inputs of nutrients before large scale loss is experienced. The information collected from this study are being used to inform management-driven assessments of eutrophication in coastal environments starting with Boundary Bay, and be used as restoration targets to reduce nutrient and other stressors that indicate a negative impact to Zostera and the invertebrate community.

Session Title

Seagrass Cross-Border Connections: Management

Keywords

Macroalgae, Eelgrass, Nutrient loading, Environmental stressors

Conference Track

SSE4: Ecosystem Management, Policy, and Protection

Conference Name

Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference (Seattle, WA : 2018)

Document Type

Event

SSEC Identifier

SSE4-127

Start Date

5-4-2018 3:45 PM

End Date

5-4-2018 4:00 PM

Type of Presentation

Oral

Contributing Repository

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

Geographic Coverage

Salish Sea (B.C. and Wash.)

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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Apr 5th, 3:45 PM Apr 5th, 4:00 PM

Identifying nutrient thresholds for sustainable local management of British Columbia seagrass beds

Canada has vast seagrass ecosystems, yet they are virtually unprotected and experiencing threats associated with accelerating coastal development and climate change eutrophication, sedimentation, and increased temperature. In British Columbia, there is a long history of community effort to protect seagrass, but little formal legislative action. While federal measures are progressing under the convention on biological diversity (CBD), federal efforts will often miss seagrass which occurs only at the coastal margins. Local action is necessary to protect seagrass, though this will be primarily occurring on a case-by-case basis as individual communities and municipalities act to limit or reduce seagrass-harming actions. We propose a bottom-up ecological approach rather than top-down, with the goal of linking predictors of Zostera bed health, with a focus on nutrient loading, to impacts on trophic use by invertebrates and fish. Most importantly, this information will be used directly to inform local communities and governments of the thresholds of nutrient loading at which these negative impacts may occur. Analysis of data from Boundary Bay (49.0352° N, 122.9400° W) will be a priority because of the network of organizations monitoring and working towards local advocacy. Multiple stressors are likely impacting eelgrass habitat of Boundary Bay, including storm-water discharges and agricultural runoff from three rivers discharging into the bay. However, the eelgrass bed in this estuary is still expansive and may provide the opportunity to identify areas of concern, link them to changes in Zostera bed community structure, and mitigate human inputs of nutrients before large scale loss is experienced. The information collected from this study are being used to inform management-driven assessments of eutrophication in coastal environments starting with Boundary Bay, and be used as restoration targets to reduce nutrient and other stressors that indicate a negative impact to Zostera and the invertebrate community.