Dedicated to Protecting & Preserving
Special Places for Future Generations

Volunteers Needed for Kelp Mapping Project

Last year, volunteers from PICA helped with an ongoing bull kelp mapping project being run jointly by Sea Change and University of Victoria. Bull Kelp (Nereocysitis luetkeana) is a large seaweed that comprise underwater forests in coastal waters from Alaska to California, and are common to the Gulf Islands and the Salish Sea. They are very important to the ecosystems of the coast as they provide habitat to an incredible variety of organisms, from plankton to crustaceans, snails to small salmon, sea otters to waterfowl. Unfortunately, bull kelp forests are vulnerable to changes in the ecosystems in which they live.  They are negatively affected by changes in temperature and salinity of the water, increased silt and toxins in runoff and an increase in creatures that feed on the kelp. (Declines in sea otter populations in the past and the current collapse of starfish populations have lead to a great increase in the numbers of sea urchin, who love to munch on kelp).

It appears that the kelp forests in the Salish Sea are declining. This of great concern, but there is little data about the previous sizes of kelp beds other than anecdotal observations of long time residents of the area.  In order to reliably measure the changes in kelp beds, base line data has to be obtained.  Researchers Leanna Boyer from Sea Change and Sarah Schroeder from the University of Victoria, and other volunteers have been mapping and monitoring kelp beds in the Salish Sea, using a combination of satellite photos and on-the-water-mapping using hand held GPS devices.

PICA plans to be monitoring the kelp again around Pender this year on August 18, 19, and 20.  We need about seven volunteers who can go out in kayaks or canoes to map the beds.  We plan an evening training session on land on Friday evening and a short training session on the water before we start mapping on Saturday morning.  We will map for two hours each day at low tide (kelp beds are easier to see at low tide, and sticking to this timetable allows for standardization in data from other areas and years of mapping).  If we don't complete the mapping on the 20th, those who have time (and energy) can help finish things up on the 21st.  Timing will depend upon the weather and water conditions.

If you are available and willing to help, it would be very much appreciated.  Please call me at 250-539-8843 or email me at elizabethmiles999@gmail.com.  Or if you know anyone who may be interested, please forward this e-mail to them.  It would be helpful if you report any significant kelp beds you see from the shore or when out on the water.

Elizabeth Miles

2017 PICA Annual Report

The American bullfrog (Lithobates catesbeianus or Rana catesbeiana) has a large robust body that can reach 20 centimeters in length. They are green or brown in colour and have yellow or pale cream to white throats.  American bullfrogs displace native frogs in habitats they invade by outcompeting and depleting the food sources of native frogs.  Their colonization of lakes is followed by decline in the native red-legged frog and pacific chorus frog populations.

PICA colaborates with Parks Canada on the invasive American bullfrog problem, with work sessions planned for later this fall.

With Roe Lake sightings, Parks Canada is working towards removal of one individual, seen earlier in the spring.

Invasive American bullfrog - rana catesbeiana
Invasives Wanted Dead -  By Graham Boffey

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On March 17 arborist Rob Maxwell cut down an old friend, an ancient Medicine Beach arbutus whose exposed roots from recent saturating rains indicated that it was a danger to hikers on the trail. 
We'll miss it.
 Photos here

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The Salmon are Back!
Bowen Island, Howe Sound
 A documentary video by Bob Turner

2016 AGM Agenda and Reports with photos
Photos from our 2016 Earth Day Beach Cleanup

Pender Islands Covenants


Medicine Beach marsh 

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Woodwinds Covenant

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Purple Martin Recovery Program

Bring Back the Bluebirds

heron summer 2017

The Summer
2017 edition
of the Islands
Trust newsletter

The Heron

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view from the Medicine Beach parking lot

Medicine Beach Covenant

the trail though the woods

PICA has added two doggy-pots to the Medicine Beach Nature Sanctuary, one near the parking lot, and the other on the trail from Aldridge Road.  Please use them.  There are also new signs marking trails.  Help us protect this conservation covenant by staying on the marked trails.  PHOTOS


Entrance to Brooks Point trail
from Gowland Point road on South Pender Island


Chocolate Lily at Brooks Point

The textures of Brooks Point

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Nature Canada

August  2014