Monitoring environmental impacts of recreational boat anchoring on eelgrass (Zostera marina L.) and benthic invertebrates in the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve of Canada




Leatherbarrow, Kate Elizabeth

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The goal of this study was to characterize the ecology and recreational boating activity at two popular anchoring sites located in the waters of the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve of Canada (Sidney Spit and Tumbo Island). The three components of the study were to characterize the distribution of eelgrass (Zostera marina L.). build an inventory of anchoring/mooring activity, and characterize the benthic infauna at each site. These observations were used to evaluate the impact of anchoring on the eelgrass and invertebrate communities. No visible loss of eelgrass was documented, but the results at one of the two sites support the hypothesis that benthic communities in high anchoring intensity areas are in poorer health than those in low anchoring intensity or mooring areas, a characteristic of communities residing in disturbed and fragmented eelgrass beds. Recommendations for site management and long-term monitoring are proposed based on these results.



Gulf Islands, Sidney Spit, Tumbo Island, eelgrass