Porteau Cove BioBlitz - A success!

Photo by Katie Nicholl.

This past Sunday, Oct 20th was the Porteau Cove BioBlitz. Participants came from Vancouver, Lions Bay and as far as Ontario to explore our coast. We had some members of the West Vancouver Streamkeepers and the Future of Howe Sound Society present as well. The aim was to uncover the biodiversity at our coast, specifically in the intertidal zone.

The bioblitz began in the morning at Porteau Cove Provincial Park. Eighteen participants were greeted by blue skies and fresh coffee which was donated by the awesome people at Ethical Bean. We started the bioblitz by exploring the south beach of Porteau Cove. As the sun rose over the mountains, everyone started to identify the species in the intertidal zone. The tide dropped down as the morning progressed which began to reveal more species as we moved from the upper to the middle intertidal zone. Participants worked in groups to help each other, but also used ID books. A lot of help in identifying species came from Josh Silberg who is a Masters Candidate at SFU. It was important to look around and not just at the waters edge, because there were some amazing birds present such as a Great Blue Heron, Bald Eagles and at least six Black Oystercatchers which are an important indicator of rocky intertidal community health.

After refuelling with lunch and coffee, the bioblitz continued on the north beach of Porteau Cove Provincial Park. This beach seemed to be less used by people which is why we performed an intertidal quadrat study there. A quadrat study is useful in strategically identifying the biodiversity and species abundance in an area. It is also useful because it can be performed at the same place year after year which is helpful in identifying changes occurring in the ocean, land and the space between those. Since it is Autumn, the lowest tide occurs before the sun is even thinking about rising. When we ran the study, we used the second low tide, which gave us a glimpse of how the biodiversity increases the closer we are to the water. I was so excited by how passionate everybody was and how well everyone worked together. From what we can tell, there has never been a quadrat study done at Porteau Cove Provincial Park, so we will be the first entry of hopefully many. The data from the quadrat study was sent to the Georgia Strait Alliance and BC Parks.

The great biodiversity of our coastal waters makes them extremely important. Citizen science is one way to engage in your environment both to become familiar with it and to help protect it. The participants of the bioblitz were citizen scientists on Sunday and helped both to contribute to the understanding of this area and to protect its biodiversity. Having this shoreline as a park also helps to protect these waters and the biodiversity.

Thanks to all the participants who came out for the day at Porteau Cove Provincial Park. I also want to thank Ethical Bean for donating coffee and a door prize to the event. Keep an eye out for more events in our BC parks put on by CPAWS by checking the events page.


Kate MacMillan is a CPAWS-BC Wild Ambassador. Click here to find out more about the program and to apply.

Top photo credit: Katie Nicholl. Bottom photo credit: Joshua Silberg.


Photo by Josh Silberg.