Friends of Silva Bay

Our mission is to cooperatively promote clean waters, healthy habitat and sustainable activities in and around Silva Bay and its watershed.

Nearshore Ecosystems in Silva Bay and the Flat-top Islands

Nearshore ecosystems in Silva Bay and Flat-top Islands include all the rocky intertidal areas and the eelgrass beds; rocky intertidal areas lie between the highest and lowest tidelines while eelgrass beds lie in the intertidal and sub-tidal regions where conditions are right for sediment to collect and the eelgrass to root.

Eelgrass Mapping FoSB data collection project

Mapping: One of the goals of the FoSB is to map all the eelgrass beds in the Silva Bay and Flat Top Islands region.

The FoSB are currently working with the Community Mapping Network to incorporate our eelgrass mapping data into the province wide eelgrass mapping initiative.

To learn about eelgrass ecology and mapping procedures read Methods for Mapping and Monitoring Eelgrass Habitats in British Columbia (PDF). You can contribute to eelgrass monitoring in your area by following standard procedures and entering your data into the Community Mapping Network .

Eelgrass Habitats in Silva Bay and Flat-top Islands

What: Eelgrass is a flowering plant that is found in inter-tidal and sub-tidal areas worldwide. It occurs where there a soft sediment bottom where the roots can take hold in relatively shallow waters.

Why eelgrass is important: Eelgrass beds have been shown as important habitat for many types of invertebrates and fish species. Herring, salmon, rockfish, lingcod, crabs, prawns and many more commercially important species use eelgrass beds, along with numerous other species. Eelgrass also important as it releases oxygen into the surrounding waters as well as creates long blades of grass that are eaten by herbivores, which are important prey items for larger invertebrates and fish.

Why it needs monitoring: Eelgrass is an important habitat that has experienced a global decline. Along with being an important habitat eelgrass beds are also an important environmental indicator that is used by biologists to study the overall health of the ecosystem. By tacking changes to the beds over time we can monitor larger changes in the environment and focus conservation efforts in areas of concern.

Rocky Intertidal

What: Silva Bay has extensive areas of rocky intertidal areas that are home to numerous marine organisms. We are currently working on several interpretive signs that will be posted around the bay to help visitors better understand the variety of marine life that live in Silva Bay and the Flat Top Islands.

If you have any images of intertidal organisms that you would like to contribute to our website please contact the FoSB.

Leather star – Desmerestia imbricate Ochre star – Pisaster ochraceous Sea lettuce – Ulva fenestrate Rockweed – Fucus gardneri

Map of Eelgrass Beds FoSB data collection project

Eelgrass surveys will happen again this summer. Contact Jennifer or Mike if you want to be involved.

Mike Richards
Friends of Silva Bay
Silva Bay, Gabriola Island,
British Columbia, Canada