2017 Mayne Island Eelgrass SurveySun 25 June 2017 by Tom Lightfoot in News
On the weekend of June 3-4, members of the Vancouver Apneist Freediving Club participated in the 9th annual eelgrass survey on Mayne Island. This was our fourth in Miners Bay, part of a three year rotation with two other bays on the island.
These surveys are organized by the Mayne Island Conservancy and are used to monitor the size and health of the eelgrass beds. Eelgrass is important habitat for a variety of marine life as well as an important carbon sink.
Freedivers act as the eyes on the ground in these surveys to map out the edges of the eelgrass beds. An accompanying kakaker records GPS positions as well as noting depth, bottom type and any other notable findings. In the end, we get a polygon that outlines the location of the eelgrass bed. Over the years, we are monitoring how that polygon changes. And it does change. This year we failed to find eelgrass in a fairly large section just to the north of the dock that had been there in the previous surveys. It wasn't obvious why this section is now bare.
Map comparing this year's survey data with previous years, with thanks to Izaiah from the Mayne Island Conservancy.
Big thanks to Don, Penny, Olli, Peter, Jean, Luca, Erik and Kerry for coming out with me to the 9th annual eelgrass survey on Mayne Island. As always, we had great weather and great reception from the folks on Mayne Island.
Special thanks go to Peter and Olli for driving and to Don and Penny for supplying boat support. And of course thanks to Leanna Boyer for making it all happen, the Mayne Island Conservancy (Abbie and Izaiah) for their support, and Helen for putting us up in her cabin.
Kerry took some GREAT pictures this trip. Some of them are posted here but the rest can be found on her Flickr account.
Next year's survey on Mayne Island will be in Horton Bay in May.