Eelgrass deposits at Medicine Beach on Pender Island. Photo supplied

Comox Valley Nature meeting features a presentation on a Salish Sea habitat recovery program

Comox Valley Nature is hosting Ann Eriksson for an illustrated talk entitled, Salish Sea Nearshore Habitat Recovery Project (SSNHRP), Sunday, March 17, 7 p.m. in the Rotary Room of the Filberg Seniors Centre, 411 Anderton Ave. in Courtenay.

SeaChange Marine Conservation Society is a not-for-profit marine conservation organization based in Brentwood Bay.

Since 1998, SeaChange has focused on conservation and restoration of marine life in the Salish Sea, primarily through education and the recovery of native eelgrass (Zostera marina) habitats.

In 2017, SeaChange was granted funding support from the Coastal Restoration Fund through the Department of Fisheries and Oceans for a five-year project, the Salish Sea Nearshore Habitat Recovery Project (2017-2022).

The goal of this project is to recover ecosystem health and increase resiliency of nearshore marine intertidal and subtidal habitats for all species of salmon, and the critical forage fish upon which they depend and are most affected by anthropogenic activities.

Activities include removal of underwater debris to expand potential eelgrass habitat, restoration of damaged, degraded or destroyed eelgrass habitats, and improvement of marine riparian areas where feasible in sites utilized by juvenile salmon and spawning forage fish. This regional approach is possible because of successful long-term partnerships with local First Nations, BC Parks, other community and stewardship groups, local businesses, and Fisheries and Oceans Canada. Come and hear about progress of the project and how you can get involved.

Eriksson is the SSNHRP technical co-ordinator for the Gulf Island region. She lives on Thetis Island and is a founding director of the Thetis Island Nature Conservancy. Her most recent book, Dive In! Exploring Our Connection with the Ocean is a non-fiction title for children about ocean conservation.

This is an excellent opportunity for the public to learn more about the Salish Sea Nearshore Habitat Recovery Project.

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