Who We are:
The SCWG is a consortium of community and conservation groups, First Nations, government agencies, researchers, consultants and students. We work to conserve and restore the ecological integrity of seagrass and other nearshore ecosystems in British Columbia by promoting research, inventories, communication and partnerships.
What’s the problem:
As coastal British Columbia human population increases so do impacts to eelgrass meadows and other nearshore habitat. It has been estimated that Puget Sound has lost over 70% by of its seagrass beds in the past 100 years. Global estimates are 30% with an astounding rate of 7% per year. The loss in B.C. waters is largely unknown. This fact was the impetus for forming the Seagrass Conservation Working Group.
What’s the value of seagrass?:
The Seagrass Conservation Working Group efforts focus on the native eelgrass species Zostera marina. Eelgrass plays a critical role in the health of nearshore ecosystems. Eelgrass meadows are nurseries, nutrient cyclers, carbon sequesters, sediment stabilizers and provide habitat refugia and food for 80% of commercially valuable fish and shellfish at some point in their life cycle. Eelgrass meadows are sentinels of change in coastal zones. Although our focus is eelgrass, some of our members are skilled in bull kelp monitoring as well.
We endeavour to work collaboratively with community groups, First Nations, researchers and all levels of government to conserve eelgrass and other nearshore habitats. We use science-based methods for mapping, monitoring and restoring eelgrass meadows and depend on citizen scientists carry out our work on the sea. When we are not on the water we focus our efforts on developing stewardship resources, tools for local governments and regional conservation planning, and strategic conservation and restoration actions.
What you can do/ what we need:
• Volunteer on the ground for eelgrass monitoring and restoration and/or bull kelp monitoring • Geospatial analysis support • Develop a scientific study to fill knowledge gaps • Donate images for website and stewardship presentations
Invite us to do a presentation in your community or become a community coordinator and we’ll train you how to map and monitor eelgrass or bull kelp!