Section II: Living On the Ocean
Until recently we believed the size and chemistry of the sea allowed it to absorb unlimited amounts of garbage, toxic chemicals, and household wastes. Now we realize that like any ecosystem the ocean can only take so much. The marine shore is a unique network of wildlife and habitat. Everything we do on the uplands affects the ability of the shore to buffer and filter out an onslaught of natural and imposed changes.
Considering the way we affect the shore is important. For example, removing coastal vegetation to "clear up" the view may seem essential, but it is also an expensive capital investment and work that must be maintained. On the other hand, pruning a few of the trees directly in our line of sight contributes to a more natural panorama. Lessening our impacts and encouraging natural shorelines means less work, less expense, and more time to relax and enjoy the seashore.
Although laws and regulations limit the kinds of activities that harm the ocean, governments can only reach so far. Individuals are beginning to learn that they can make a positive difference to the health of the land and sea simply by being aware and letting the natural elements of their property flourish. Simply owning land affords you some measure of control over the health of the marine shore.
To order a copy of Caring for Our Shores: A Handbook for Coastal Residents in the Strait of Georgia, contact:
The Cowichan Community Land Trust Society
The Marine Ecology Station
Images used with special permission from Kerry L. Werry. To view more pictures of ocean creatures found in B.C waters, visit the B.C Diving and Marine Life I.D Page.