Get Involved
Habitat Photos
Contact Us

Shorekeeper's FAQ's

-Where is the Intertidal Zone?
-What are Some Human Impacts to the Intertidal Zone?
-Are There any Species That Have Recently Been Introduced to the B.C. Coast?
-Why are Eelgrass Beds so Important?
-What Happens to Shorekeeper Survey Data?
-Who Analyses the Shorekeeper Data?
-Are There Other Stewardship Programs?
Sea Urchins
Where is the Intertidal Zone? Top
> The intertidal zone is the area of a beach that is exposed at low tides. To be exact, it is the area between the higher high water mark and the lower low water mark.

What are Some Human Impacts to the Intertidal Zone? Top
> Surface runoff from urban areas and farms, human and industrial sewage can lead to eutrophication (excessive nutrients) in the marine environment. Also, pollution in the form of heavy metals and chemicals  can have toxic effects on marine life.
Foot traffic on beaches, crushes plants and animals,  has been documented to alter the diversity of organisms. Breakwaters can alter current patterns and sediment deposition.

Are there non-native species of marine invertebrates that have been introduced on to the B.C. coast? Top
> Yes, there are many non-native species that have  established here. The Pacific Oyster and the Japanese Littleneck Clam both were intentionally introduced earlier in the 20th Century. There are also several unintentionally introduced species. These include the Varnish or Mahogany clam and most recently, the European green crab.
> The varnish clam or mahogany clam (Nuttallia obscurata) was accidentally introduced to the Strait of Georgia some six years ago, most likely brought via the ballast water from freighters arriving from Asia. Varnish clams have since spread throughout the Strait of Georgia and are also found in adjacent American waters. Recently, they have also been found in Barkley Sound on the west coast of Vancouver Island.
> The European green crab was first reported in the San Francisco Bay area in the late 1980s. It is thought to have been introduced via ballast water discharges from freighters. Since then the species has expanded its range northward from infected areas most likely by transport in coastal currents but also via oyster seed transports for mariculture operations. The European green crab now occurs on the Oregon and Washington coasts and in the summer of 1999, European green crabs were found in Barkley Sound on the west coast of Vancouver Island and in September, the first specimen was caught in the Gorge waterway in Victoria, B.C. There is a great deal of concern about the potential impact of this species. The Green crab feeds on bivalves (clams, mussels and oysters) as well as on other species of crab. There is concern about the impact of this species on the Shellfish Aquaculture industry as well as on Dungeness crab populations. Link to Green Crab page.

Why are Eelgrass Beds so Important? Top
> Eelgrass beds support a complex community including small schooling fish and a rich variety of epiphytic plants and animals. Fish, particularly juvenile salmonids, but also juvenile lingcod, find refuge from predators among the fronds. In February and March schools of Pacific herring congregate to spawn in this protective community and thousands of gulls, ducks, loons, grebes, seals and sea lions come to feed on the herring.

Where does the Shorekeeper survey data go? Top
> The data are stored in the Shorekeepers' Information Management Application which is an MS Access database. You will be able to get a copy of the database and enter your data to it. Once entered you will be able to create data summary reports directly from the database.

Who Analyses the Shorekeeper Data? Top
> The data you collect, along with data from other survey groups, will be analysed by scientists at DFO. If you would like to assist with this analysis, contact us.

Are There Other Stewardship Programs? Top
> Yes. There are other intertidal surveying methodologies available. Many with a greater focus on public education and environment awareness. There are also subtidal monitoring projects, wetland stewardship and stream stewardship projects. All build on the interest and demand from communities to become involved in stewardship of marine and coastal ecosystems.

We provide here a list of some of these initiatives for your interest and so that you can chose the stewardship method that best suits your needs and monitoring objectives.