Explore intertidal eelgrass meadows and learn about the animals that live in this important habitat at a beach seine this summer!
Most of us have probably encountered eelgrass – from spending hours in the ocean alongside these green ribbons, or exploring eelgrass-filled mudflats. Eelgrass meadows create habitat for a myriad of coastal species and act as a highly productive ecosystem. And it’s thanks to eelgrass that today’s halibut fish fry or tonight’s salmon dinner is possible. The meadows form a buffer in the water that softens the impact of waves and currents, reducing coastal erosion and creating a calm habitat. This provides a nursery for many juvenile fish, including rockfish, salmon and halibut, and also provides an ideal habitat for herring to spawn. These fish are preyed upon by waterfowl such as: Great Blue Heron, migrating shorebirds and ducks. In addition, eelgrass blades act as a substrate for diatoms and other algae, which get grazed upon by many eelgrass-dwelling invertebrates such as nudibranchs, crabs and shrimp.
We will work together to pull the seine net up on to the beach, and learn how to handle the animals we catch with care. All animals collected will be gently returned to the ocean.
Gumboots recommended – this program will run rain or shine!