Riparian well defined

In determining the importance of the watershed that connects with our shoreline, the word Riparian often surfaces. In the National Energy Board KM/TMX hearings, the pdf enclosed was one of the reports presented. It gives a well-researched description of the definition of Riparian along with the implications for development which impinges upon such areas.

This was originally filed at :

QUOTE” “Role of Riparian Habitat in Streams Why is the Riparian Area Important? Riparian areas and the vegetation and structure associated with this component of aquatic environments in streams and lakes comprise critical habitats for many species, including commercial, recreational and aboriginal (CRA) fishery fishes. A riparian zone, or riparian area, is the water/land interface between the terrestrial upland area and a river or stream (Figure 1). Plant communities along the edge of streams or lakes are usually referred to as the riparian vegetation (Figure 2). The plant community within a riparian area often is dominated by hydrophilic species, but not always (Figure 2). In British Columbia watercourses that support CRA fisheries rely profoundly on intact and functional riparian areas (viz., Forest and Range Practices Act Table 1; Riparian Areas Regulation Table 2). To reiterate, the scientific literature is very clear that riparian areas comprise critical habitats for both fishes and other species (Wenger 1999, Broadmeadow and Nisbet 2004). The role of riparian habitats is elegantly described by excerpts in the following quotes: Riparian buffers are important for good water quality [in streams]. Riparian zones help to prevent [deleterious] sediment[s], nitrogen, phosphorus, pesticides and other pollutants from C301 – Salmon River Enhancement Society 3 reaching a stream. Riparian buffers are most effective at improving water quality when they include a native grass or herbaceous filter strip along with deep rooted trees and shrubs along the stream. Riparian vegetation is a major source of energy and nutrients for stream communities. They are especially important in small, headwater streams where up to 99% of the energy input may be from woody debris and leaf litter. [Invertebrates associated with this and instream vegetation contribute as fish food.] Overhanging riparian vegetation keeps streams cool, [and] this is especially important for…mountain trout [i.e., salmonid] populations. Riparian buffers provide valuable habitat for wildlife. In addition to providing food and cover they are an important corridor or travel [path]way[s] for a variety of wildlife. Forested streamsides benefit game species [e.g., deer and bear]…and nongame species like migratory songbirds. Riparian vegetation slows floodwaters, thereby helping to maintain stable streambanks and protect downstream property. By slowing down floodwaters and rainwater runoff, the riparian vegetation allows water to soak into the ground and recharge groundwater. Slowing floodwaters allows the riparian zone to function as a site of sediment deposition, trapping sediments that build stream banks and would otherwise degrade our streams and rivers. [ Accessed 6 July 2015.] The critical nature of riparian areas to a properly functioning stream cannot be overstated. As Tschaplinski and Pike (2009), in their analysis of the function of riparian areas to British Columbia streams, point out “No other landscape features within forests provide linkages that are as extensive and complex as those provided by riparian ecotones.” Tschaplinski and Pike (2009) go further to indicate that riparian areas contain and support many of the highest-value resources in natural forests and quote Hartman and Scrivener (1990) as evidence. In another citation, Gregory et al. (1991) indicate that the plant and animal communities in riparian areas frequently have the highest species richness found in forests. The issues relating to riparian areas are particularly relevant to the Trans Mountain Expansion Project (TMEP) as many of the streams crossed by the pipeline construction are typical of the watercourses that Tschaplinski and Pike (2009) and others refer to in respect to the importance of the role of riparian vegetation and the zone as fish habitat. And riparian areas are key habitats that TMEP will destroy as a function of crossing the streams where trenching will take place.See the full PDF:Ripariandefinition-_IR_From_Salmon_River_Enhancement_Society_to_Pipeup_-_A4Q7W6_SRES_RESPONSE_compressed_-_A4R4F2


Herring Spawn Video from Denman Island

Why are BC residents so concerned about what might happen to their coastline from an increase in shipping and oil tankers?

We don’t have a scene like this video portrays in Metchosin, although we do get frenzy feeding by birds and mammals in the fall at Race Rocks but we do have forage fish which live on our beaches and provide year round food for the ecosystem.

Don’t miss this video from Denman Island :

Tower Point Subdivision

I went over to Tower Point today to get a better sense of the seafront north of the Tower Point portion of Witty’s lagoon CRD park. It is part of  a subdivision proposal. This is a good example of natural Capital of the Municipality. Public access to this area would be possible by all of the other holders of property in the subdivision, as well as the public. With the pressures from increasing population in the neighbouring communities of Langford and Colwood the value of this area kept as public property would be very high.
2015-04-13 towerpointproperty

The shorefront on the property north of Tower Point which  is subject to a subdivision proposal

From an APRM newsletter:
Parkland Acquisition at Subdivision: Under section 941 of the Local Government ACT, the owner of land being subdivided must provide park land when three or more additional lots are being created and at least one of the parcels is 3 Hs(4.94 acres) or smaller.  The amount of parkland that is required, without compensation, is 5% of the land being proposed for subdivision….where the local govenment has the authority to decides whether it wants 5% deducation or cash-in-lieu, it is up to Council (unless specifically delegated to the Approving Officer) to determine the amount (up to 5%) and location.
…where the OCP has policies and designations for future parks, the local government can decide whether to accept land or cash-oin-lieu  Absent such policies, the landowner decides, with the compensation equal to market value of the entire parcel prior to its subdivision but it has preliminary approval for subdivision…

The shoreline location— see red arrow and bracket on the right.

The shorefront here would make a very good addition to the part of Witty’s Lagoon regional park which is locted at Tower Point . Residents of the community made a submission at tonight’s council meeting pointing out the advantages of a park dedication for a strip along the shoreline. It is hoped that the council, when provided with the final version of the application will recommend this park border extension.

I also took some pictures of the wildflowers and features of the shoreline in the park at Tower Point bordering this subdivision. See in the next blog.

Why Sand Is Disappearing ( from beaches)


The heavily impacted Weir’s Beach which has experienced considerable sand loss in recent years largely due to bad management of the shoreline.

This article highlights a good example how human interference ( anthropogenic) in a number of ways can result in the loss of Natural Capital and long term sustainability . 

The beaches of Metchosin are not immune  to the forces of Climate change and uninformed decisions of upland landowners and municipal governments which refuse to enact rigid Shoreline Development Bylaws. 

This has been quoted  from: The NYT Opinion Pages    NOV. 4, 2014

” BERKELEY, Calif. — To those of us who visit beaches only in summer, they seem as permanent a part of our natural heritage as the Rocky Mountains and the Great Lakes. But shore dwellers know differently. Beaches are the most transitory of landscapes, and sand beaches the most vulnerable of all. During big storms, especially in winter, they can simply vanish, only to magically reappear in time for the summer season.

It could once be said that “a beach is a place where sand stops to rest for a moment before resuming its journey to somewhere else,” as the naturalist D. W. Bennett wrote in the book “Living With the New Jersey Shore.” Sand moved along the shore and from beach to sea bottom and back again, forming shorelines and barrier islands that until recently were able to repair themselves on a regular basis, producing the illusion of permanence.

Today, however, 75 to 90 percent of the world’s natural sand beaches are disappearing, due partly to rising sea levels and increased storm action, but also to massive erosion caused by the human development of shores. Many low-lying barrier islands are already submerged.

Yet the extent of this global crisis is obscured because so-called beach nourishment projects attempt to hold sand in place and repair the damage by the time summer people return, creating the illusion of an eternal shore.

Before next summer, endless lines of dump trucks will have filled in bare spots and restored dunes. Virginia Beach alone has been restored more than 50 times. In recent decades, East Coast barrier islands have used 23 million loads of sand, much of it mined inland and the rest dredged from coastal waters — a practice that disturbs the sea bottom, creating turbidity that kills coral beds and damages spawning grounds, which hurts inshore fisheries.

The sand and gravel business is now growing faster than the economy as a whole. In the United States, the market for mined sand has become a billion-dollar annual business, growing at 10 percent a year since 2008. Interior mining operations use huge machines working in open pits to dig down under the earth’s surface to get sand left behind by ancient glaciers. But as demand has risen — and the damming of rivers has held back the flow of sand from mountainous interiors — natural sources of sand have been shrinking.

One might think that desert sand would be a ready substitute, but its grains are finer and smoother; they don’t adhere to rougher sand grains, and tend to blow away. As a result, the desert state of Dubai brings sand for its beaches all the way from Australia.

And now there is a global beach-quality sand shortage, caused by the industries that have come to rely on it. Sand is vital to the manufacturing of abrasives, glass, plastics, microchips and even toothpaste, and, most recently, to the process of hydraulic fracturing. The quality of silicate sand found in the northern Midwest has produced what is being called a “sand rush” there, more than doubling regional sand pit mining since 2009.

But the greatest industrial consumer of all is the concrete industry. Sand from Port Washington on Long Island — 140 million cubic yards of it — built the tunnels and sidewalks of Manhattan from the 1880s onward. Concrete still takes 80 percent of all that mining can deliver. Apart from water and air, sand is the natural element most in demand around the world, a situation that puts the preservation of beaches and their flora and fauna in great danger. Today, a branch of Cemex, one of the world’s largest cement suppliers, is still busy on the shores of Monterey Bay in California, where its operations endanger several protected species.

The huge sand mining operations emerging worldwide, many of them illegal, are happening out of sight and out of mind, as far as the developed world is concerned. But in India, where the government has stepped in to limit sand mining along its shores, illegal mining operations by what is now referred to as the “sand mafia” defy these regulations. In Sierra Leone, poor villagers are encouraged to sell off their sand to illegal operations, ruining their own shores for fishing. Some Indonesian sand islands have been devastated by sand mining.

It is time for us to understand where sand comes from and where it is going. Sand was once locked up in mountains and it took eons of erosion before it was released into rivers and made its way to the sea. As Rachel Carson wrote in 1958, “in every curving beach, in every grain of sand, there is a story of the earth.” Now those grains are sequestered yet again — often in the very concrete sea walls that contribute to beach erosion.

We need to stop taking sand for granted and think of it as an endangered natural resource. Glass and concrete can be recycled back into sand, but there will never be enough to meet the demand of every resort. So we need better conservation plans for shore and coastal areas. Beach replenishment — the mining and trucking and dredging of sand to meet tourist expectations — must be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, with environmental considerations taking top priority. Only this will ensure that the story of the earth will still have subsequent chapters told in grains of sand.

Sharing our Shoreline

Values and Views
Island Trust Communities
Marine By Nature
The Islands within the Salish Sea have been  shaped by ancient glaciers and modern oceanic forces. Whether you visit the islands seasonally or live here year round, Islanders treasure the marine environment.  The North Pender Local Trust Committee has developed this brochure to introduce you to where sensitive marine habitats exist, how you can recognize them, and what simple steps you can take to ensure our local waters continue to support a vibrant and abundant marine ecosystem.

This PDF has been produced by the North Pender Island Local Trust Committee: Sharing Our shorelines_lowres


Clean Water
Shoreline erosion
Coastal Bluffs and Shoreline beaches
Marine Riparian Vegetation
Intertidal Habitats
Beach-spawning Forage Fish
Eelgrass habitats
Kelp Forests and Rocky Reefs
Marine shorelines as critical fish habitats

The Link between Salmon and Forest Ecosystem Productivity

In the past few years, Dr. Tom Reimchen of the University of Victoria and his students have established clear relationships between the health of Coastal forest ecosystems and the ocean through the food webs involving salmon.  Below are links from the publications of Dr. Tom Reimchen to  some of the research articles and papers they have published on this topic:

49.    Reimchen, T. E. 2000a.  Some ecological and evolutionary aspects of bear – salmon interactions in coastal British ColumbiaCan. J. Zool. 78: 448-457.  (.pdf version)

60.    Hocking, M. D. & T. E. Reimchen. 2002. Salmon-derived nitrogen in terrestrial invertebrates from coniferous forests of the Pacific Northwest. BioMedCentral Ecology 2:4-14. ( ) (.pdf version)

63.    Reimchen, T. E.  D. Mathewson, M. D. Hocking, J. Moran and D. Harris. 2003. Isotopic evidence for enrichment of salmon-derived nutrients in vegetation, soil and  insects in riparian zones in coastal British Columbia. American Fisheries Society Symposium 34: 59-69. (.pdf version)

66.    Mathewson, D.,  M.H. Hocking, and T. E. Reimchen . 2003.  Nitrogen uptake in riparian plant communities across a sharp ecological boundary of salmon density. BioMedCentral Ecology 2003:4. (.pdf version)

70.    Wilkinson, C. E., M. H. Hocking, T. E. Reimchen.  2005.  Uptake of salmon-derived nitrogen by mosses and liverworts in Coastal British Columbia. Oikos 108: 85-98.  (.pdf  version)

76. Hocking, M.D and Reimchen T.E. 2006. Consumption and distribution of salmon (Oncorhynchus spp.) nutrients and energy by terrestrial flies Can. J. of Fish. and Aquatic Sciences 63: 2076-2086. (.pdf version)

87. Christie, K. S.,  M.D. Hocking, and T.E. Reimchen. 2008. Tracing salmon-derived nutrients in riparian foodwebs: isotopic evidence in a ground-foraging passerine.  Can. J. Zool. 86: 1317-1323.  (.pdf version).

98.  Hocking, M.D., R. A. Ring and T. E. Reimchen.  2009. The ecology of terrestrial invertebrates on Pacific salmon carcasses. Ecol. Res. (.pdf version)

102. Darimont. C.T.,  Bryan, H.,  Carlson, S.M.,  Hocking, M.D., MacDuffee, M.,  Paquet, P.C.,  Price, M.H.H.,  Reimchen, T. E.,  Reynolds, J.D., & Wilmers, C.C.  2010.  Salmon for terrestrial protected areas. Conservation Letters 3: 379-389. (.pdf version)

TR12. Reimchen, T. E. 2001. Salmon nutrients, nitrogen isotopes and coastal forests. Ecoforestry 16:13-17. (.pdf version)

TR15. Reimchen, T. E.  2004. Marine and terrestrial ecosystem linkages: the major role of salmon and bears to riparian communities.     Botanical Electronic News. BEN#328.

Metchosin Shoreline Report : MEASC 2013

The Metchosin Environmental Advisory Select Committee of  Metchosin District submitted this report to Council in June  2013.

See the complete report as a  PDF: Metchosin Shoreline Report 2013June 10-2

Executive Summary

The unique values attributed to the Coastal Areas of Metchosin have been recognized both historically and by outside researchers. They have also been outlined at length in the Official Community Plan and other documents produced for the District.

The objective of the Metchosin Shoreline Report is to provide Mayor and Council with a background document and decision-making tools for issues related to Metchosin’s shoreline environment: the jurisdictional boundaries are delineated; examples of ecologically sensitive areas are highlighted; and the biological and geographical values of eight zones of the forty-five km of shoreline are profiled.

The values of biodiversity, education, natural capital, aesthetics, philosophy, and ecotourism are all affected by our coastal areas. Therefore, the risks from human activity on the sustainability of these areas are emphasized.

With the increasing likelihood of changing climatic events impacting on our shoreline, and in order to mitigate these risks, a number of recommendations are proposed for the Municipality to implement:

  1. Create a development permit zone in the area between the end of provincial jurisdiction at the high water mark and the end of the high tide storm-driven wash on the landowner’s property.
  2. Prevent the human caused hardening of the shoreline by sea walls, roadways or bulkheading, and shoreline modifications.
  3. Design a “Coastal Covenant,” which landowners could sign, in order to guarantee the protection of the integrity of their section of shoreline.
  4. Establish and protect vegetation buffer zones along streams and along the total shoreline, including special attention to salt marshes and eelgrass beds.
  5. Protect eelgrass beds by eliminating damage from log booms, docks and other structures.
  6. Divert runoff of fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides from streams and surrounding farmlands away from shoreline, salt marsh, and seagrass habitats.
  7. Develop emergency response plans for the District in the event of a land or ocean-based toxic spill, which could potentially threaten the shoreline.

See the complete report as a  PDF: Metchosin Shoreline Report 2013June 10-2



Macroalgae ( Kelp) beds around Southern Vancouver Island and their role in Carbon Sequestration .

Sometimes viewed as a nuisance for boaters around the shores of Metchosin, kelp beds (Nereocystis luetkeana) are however a valuable species of our natural capital

Nereocystis leutkeana, Bull kelp

Nereocystis luetkeana, Bull kelp

Our kelp beds provide ecosystem services such as habitat for juvenile fish, and marine mammals. Research on macroalgae of the temperate coastal areas in the world  has also shown extremely high rates of photosynthetic capacity and therefore another ecosystem service, in these algal beds, carbon fixation,  In this post I will  annotate  some of the significant research that documents the value of this resource.

“Kelp forests occur in cold, nutrient-rich water and are among the most beautiful and biologically productive habitats in the marine environment. They are found throughout the world in shallow open coastal waters, and the larger forests are restricted to temperatures less than 20ºC, extending to both the Arctic and Antarctic Circles. A dependence upon light for photosynthesis restricts them to clear shallow water and they are rarely much deeper than 15-40m. The kelps have in common a capacity for some of the most remarkable growth rates in the plant kingdom. In southern California, the Macrocystis can grow 30 cm per day.”

Abstract: There has been a good deal of interest in the potential of marine vegetation as a sink for anthropogenic carbon emissions , (Blue Carbon). Marine primary producers contribute at least 50% of the world’s carbon fixation and may account for as much as 71 percent of all carbon storage. In this paper, we analyze the current rate of harvesting of both commercial and growing and wild growing macro algae, as well as their capacity for photosynthetically driven carbon dioxide assimilation and growth. We suggest that carbon dioxide acquisition by marine macroalgae can represent a considerable sink for anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions and the harvesting and appropriate use of macroalgal primary production could play a significant role in carbon sequestration and amelioration of greenhouse gas emissions.


Sea Lettuce, ( Ulva lactuca)

Sea Lettuce, ( Ulva lactuca)

Off the  shores of Weir’s Beach  grows a large bed of Sea lettuce (Ulva lactuca) .  the following article attests to the efficiency of sea lettuce  in carbon dioxide fixation:

Carbon sequestration by a few marine algae: observation and projection

Kaladharan, P and Veena, S and Vivekanandan, E (2009) Carbon sequestration by a few marine algae: observation and projection. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of India, 51 (1). pp. 107-110

Abstract: CO2 sequestration by the marine planktonic microalgae Nannochloropsis salina and Isochrysis galbana as well as macroforms Gracilaria corticata, Sargassum polycystum and Ulva lactuca was estimated under laboratory conditions. The green seaweed U. lactuca registered 100% utilization of CO2 towards carbon fixation from the ambient water up to 15 mg/l and beyond that it declined to 60%. The microalgae were able to utilize 27.7% of dissolved CO2 at 15 mg/l, but did not show any effect either for carbon fixation or for emission at lower and higher levels. Gross primary productivity of these algae were also not affected by increase in the CO2 levels. It is estimated that the seaweed biomass along the Indian coast is capable of utilizing 9052 tCO2/d against emission of 365 tCO2 /d indicating a net carbon credit of 8687 t/d.

  • A detailed mapping of Nereocystis beds  and Ulva lactuca beds on the Coast of Metchosin  should be done to quantify the extent of these resources.


Concerns for the Kelp Resources of Metchosin:

The potential for commercial exploitation of this species is of concern, since he value as habitat for marine animals may far outweigh commercial possibilities. This reference explains the uses of the plant and it does not even include the potential for harvest for biomass , gas extraction:

Both the stipe and the blades of Nereocystis luetkeana are used for fresh and dried foods, nutritional supplements, cosmetic products such as exfoliants, fertilizers, animal feed, dog snacks, and dog shampoo and moisturizer.  Producers have found that it is rich in calcium, magnesium, sodium, iodine, potassium, phosphorus, iron, bulk fiber, and vitamins A, B complex, C, D, E, and K, protein and free amino acids.  It is used as an herbal remedy, with claims that it detoxifies body tissues of heavy metal and radioactive agents, treats thyroid disorders, arthritis and digestive problems; purifies blood, aids in weight loss, eases lymphatic swelling; treats herpes infections, eases inflammation and neuritis, soothes mucuous membranes, and reduces side effects of chemotherapy and radiation.  Other benefits mentioned for Nereocystis luetkeana in the spa include that it is stimulating, firming, revitalizing, tonic and slimming.  Over 25 products have been identified from over 10 different sellers in Canada, the United States, and the Netherlands.


Commercial harvesting is known to occur in British Columbia and California

Harvesting Techniques 

As Nereocystis luetkeana grows in the subtidal and shallow intertidal zones, it is typically harvested from a skiff or small boat with a knife, although in some areas it may be harvested on foot at low tide.


Nereocystis tends to grow in large kelp forests, and the blades create lush surface canopies. Kelp forests provide important sheltering habitat for many marine fishes and invertebrates, including urchins, sea stars, snails and crabs, and are an important food source for sea urchins.  These forests also provide habitat for sea otters since sea otters eat the invertebrates that live on the kelp forest floor and the kelp itself provides a canopy which the otter can anchor to while resting to keep from drifting away.  The anchoring holdfast can reach a diameter of more that a foot, and can harbor its own collection of organisms by offering them protection among the haptera.  Nereocystis luetkeana is the only kelp which will drop spore patches, so that the right concentration of spores lands near the parent’s holdfast.  They grow out continuously from a meristem located at their base and slough off at their older outer tips.  The detritus formed by the sloughing tips has been shown to be an important source of carbon for inshore intertidal communities.  This detritus feeds species such as Blue rockfish (Sebastes mystinus) and many of the filter feeders, such as Pacific Blue Mussels (Mytilus trossulus) in the intertidal zone.  Urchins feed on Nereocystis luetkeana, and conversely this kelp can opportunistically and rapidly colonize areas that have been cleared by urchins.”


Research into the role of marine algae and its importance in contributing to energy flow when they end up on a beach is reported in the following research out of the Bamfield Marine Station:

by Malte Mews, Martin Zimmer, Dennis E. Jelinsk
ABSTRACT: The fate of subtidally drifting macrophytal detritus after its deposition ashore was studied based on short-term mass loss effects and species composition of beach-cast detritus. Different species of macroalgae and seagrass varied in both physical and microbial decay, as well as faunal decomposition rates. Their preferred status as food for detritivorous amphipods also varied. Thus, beach-cast detritus changed in species composition during detritus aging. Estimated turnover rates, based on daily input rates and mass loss rates, ranged from <1 d for Nereocystis luetkeana, Macrocystis integrifolia and Ulva spp. to roughly 30 d for Fucus spp. and Phyllospadix spp. Thus, the dynamics of nutrient fluxes within the marine–terrestrial ecotone depends not only on the spatial distribution and amount of beach-cast detritus, but also on its species composition.
  • Recommendation: The municipality should investigate the possibility of influencing provincial legislation to place a moratorium on the harvest of any natural kelp resources on our shoreline.



Marine Algae of the Metchosin Coastline.

Marine Algae along the Coast of Metchosin contributes to  Biodiversity and to the habitat of the shoreline. The productivity of some of the macroalgae beds is very high, contributing to carbon fixation and a food source for marine ecosystems. Some algae are grazed directly by fish and invertebrates, but many contribute their energy to the ecosystems when they break down in the water column or on the shoreline. The kelp beds of the coastal areas are valuable habitat for larval, and juvenile fish. Thus marine algae contribute to the Natural Capital of our marine systems in a very significant way.


algaeredfenestrThe Algae of Taylor Beach




image005The Race Rocks Digital Herbarium





Marine Plants at Race Rocks




saltwaterArchived Videos of Marine Plants at Race Rocks


Natural Capital of Metchosin’s Coastline

orcamalefemodIn recent years, we have started to acknowledge that “Ecosystem services “ are something to which we must start paying attention as to fail to do so leads to a rapid decline in our quality of life:  Some of the ecosystem services that are part of Natural Capital are defined below, and a link to the Race Rocks website provides a model of how Ecosystem Services may be evaluated in a local ecosystem.

The following materials have been adapted from that resource:
Ecosystem services

‘Ecosystem goods’, such as food, and ‘services’, such as waste assimilation, represent the benefits humans obtain from a properly functioning ecosystem and are usually referred together as ‘ecosystem services’. Unsurprisingly a large number of ecosystem services have been identified, especially for the oceans which cover the majority of the planet and the coastal zone where the majority of humans live.

The items below might have a relevance for Metchosin’s coastal areas.

These include: gas regulation (e.g. maintaining a balanced chemical composition in the atmosphere), climate regulation (e.g. control of global temperature, precipitation, greenhouse gas regulation, cloud formation)
disturbance regulation (e.g. storm protection, flood control, drought recovery),
water regulation (e.g. regulation of global, regional and local scale hydrology through currents and tides),
water supply (e.g. storage of water returned to land as precipitation),
erosion and sediment transport/deposition (e.g. moving sediments from source areas and replenishing depositional areas),
nutrient cycling e.g. the storage, internal cycling, processing and acquisition of nutrients, nitrogen fixation, phosphorus cycles),
waste treatment (e.g. the breakdown of excess xenic and toxic compounds),
biological control (e.g. the trophic-dynamic regulation of populations),
refugia (e.g. feeding and nursery habitats for resident and transient populations of harvested species),
food production (e.g. the portion of gross primary production which is extracted as food for humans),
raw materials (e.g. the portion of gross primary production which is extracted as fuel or building material),
genetic resources(e.g. sources of unique biological materials for medicines),
recreation (e.g. opportunities for tourism, sport and other outdoor pastimes) and cultural (e.g. opportunities for aesthetic, artistic, educational, spiritual activities).

The value (the theoretical cost of artificially replacing the services were they not to be provided by nature) to humanity of these ecosystem services has been estimated at $8400 billion per year for the open oceans and 1.5 times this for coastal ecosystems. Consumptive use (production of food and raw materials) is a minor (<5%) component and therefore the true value of marine ecosystems is in non- consumptive use. However quantifying such use is notoriously hard.

Adapted from the reference:
The structure and function of ecological systems in relation to property right regimes. In: Hanna, S., Folke, C., Maler, K.G. (Eds.), Rights to Nature. Island Press, Washington, DC, pp. 13 34. Authority. Research Publication No. 35, Townsville, Australia, pp. 83.   ( DOCUMENT ) Author(s) / Editor(s) Costanza, R., Folke, C., 1997.

You can have a look at the model proposed for a project at Race Rocks in this link:  DEFINING THE ECOSYSTEM SERVICES of RACE ROCKS.
It is our hope that while you are helping us to assemble the values of these Ecosystem services for Metchosin’s  you may be motivated to look in your own back yard and start placing a more realistic value on your own Ecosystems’ Services. ” Even today’s technology and knowledge can reduce considerably the human impact on ecosystems. They are unlikely to be deployed fully, however, until ecosystem services cease to be perceived as free and limitless, and their full value is taken into account.”


Patterns of a Conservation Economy: True Cost Pricing

Ecosystem Services:

Ecosystem Services: Benefits Supplied to Human Societies by Natural Ecosystems

Millennium Ecosystem Assessments of the World Health organization

How ecosystem services relate to one another

Ethical Considerations in On-Ground Applications of the Ecosystem Services Concept,  1020 BioScience • December 2012 / Vol. 62 No. 12

Ecosystem Services – Case studies from Australia

Securing Canada’s Natural Capital:

Natural Capital:


References specializing in Marine Ecosystem Services:

Aquatic ecosystems provide many services contributing to human well-being . Maintenance of the integrity and
the restoration of these ecosystems are vital for services such as water replenishment and purification, flood and drought control.

1. Other reference Ecosystem Services: The Role of Natural Capital
A piece that defines the ecosystem services of Race Rocks

2. ECOSYSTEM SERVICES: Benefits Supplied to Human Societies by Natural Ecosystems

3. The encyclopedia of Earth: Marine ecosystem services:

4. Assessing the Non-Market Values of Ecosystem Services provided by Coastal and Marine Systems

5. Economic Valuation of Ecosystem Services

  • “It is most important to raise consciousness of the general public and of public officials and managers of the value of ecosystem services. Here are some ways that individual friends might choose.
    1)    Educate ourselves about ecosystem services.
    2)    Monitor local news for issues that impact ecosystem services to point out areas of public concern when ecosystem services are destroyed or disregarded.
    3)    Speak truth to power — communicate with local officials and congressional representatives about the implications of their decisions on ecosystem services.
    4)    Hold agencies to the environmental and public input requirements of the laws.
    5)    Make certain that preservation of ecosystem services is among the options presented.
    6)    Write letters to the editor to educate the public about ecosystem services”

6: Millennium Ecosystem assessment panel: Ecosystems and Human Well: being wetlands and water.

7.The Ecosystem Services Project

8. Global Warming — Blue Carbon.. A Sierra Club resouce on the value of seagrasses and salt marshes as 50 times more efficient Carbon fixers than forests.