On July 20th, Ramona de Graaf came to Keats Island to teach us more about forage fish and the importance of our foreshores to a healthy marine life. Ramona is a marine biologist based in Tofino who has dedicated her professional career (and much of her personal time) to raising awareness of the importance of forage fish and foreshores.
Ramona proceeded to entertain and educate 35 kids and adults about the fish and eggs that were literally likely right under our feet on West Beach. (Ramona didn’t know if West Beach was an egg bearing beach, but it sure looked to her like it should be). We learned about the life cycle, the breeding habits and how to look for eggs. There was then a demonstration about what kinds of fish are in the first 5 feet of the water’s edge.
Forage fish are those tiny little creatures that feed all the other sea life up the food chain. Salmon, ling cod, crabs, dolphins, killer whales, birds of all kinds all depend on forage fish either because they eat them directly or they eat what eats the forage fish. That is why the name. They breed in abundance and are crucial to all those other more noticeable creatures. Herring, sand lance, anchovy, eulachon, surf smelt… all of these are forage fish. And here’s the thing .. they breed either on the beaches and foreshore or just off the beaches in the eel grass.
Ramona would gladly oversee a group to be beach stewards on Keats … to sample the beach and determine if forage fish are breeding. She is willing to come back as soon as 4 or 5 people volunteer to give a one day training session. (for more about Ramona and forage fish see https://www.facebook.com/foragefish)
Marine biologist, Ramona de Graf, will be visiting us on West Beach at 11:00 am on July 20th! Come learn about the important role our foreshore plays in the health of the marine environment around us. The session is aimed at children and adults. More information available here – foreshore-event-july20-2013
Everyone on Keats is invited to join the KICG on Saturday, June 29th at 1:00 pm for a community meeting to discuss the possibility of creating a walking trail in the park land within the horseshoe. The trail would be accessible by foot only and other activities in the park may be affected. The meeting will take place at the Eastbourne water lot (just north of where Keats Road enters Eastbourne). Information about the park and proposed trail can found at keatsislandconservation.com/projects-initiatives/33-acre-park/
On Saturday April 13th, two representatives of KICG attended a forum on the future of Howe Sound hosted by the Future of Howe Sound Society. Government representatives, First Nations, industry and business associations, and non-profit organizations came together to begin a dialogue on moving forward with a common vision for Howe Sound. Plans are in the works to find a way to develop a comprehensive land and water use management plan, hopefully for the whole of Howe Sound. More information can be found at www.futureofhowesound.org.
Keats Island is a natural paradise. Dozens of varieties of birds visit or live in its trees, the extensive brush or near the shoreline. Many small animals make the their home here and occasionally a larger mammal visits causing waves of intrigue and some concern. Trails crisscross the hills leading past clear evidence of centuries past when Keats was a logging hub and then a homesteading refuge, ending in spectacular views over Howe Sound or the Straight of Georgia.
We come for many reasons but mostly to enjoy nature in all its marvelous intricacy. The beach on a hot summers day, the cool shade of a fern glade, the sight of an eagle soaring overhead. And what we have we want to keep and we want it for others and particularly for the next generation… and the next. And thus was born the Keats Island Conservation Group. The KICG was born out of a desire to preserve the special places of Keats Island, maintain the natural native environment and enhance access to the experiences that are here. We are a loose group at present that welcomes anyone interested in conservation issues. We are working around issues of invasive species, trail access and development, healthy beach life… the list is as diverse as the environment itself. We are considering forming a society, are liaising regularly with Islands Trust and the Sunshine Coast Regional District and would welcome you and your family to participate. Feel free to contact us and join us!!