Sasha Barnes

Living the intertidal life at Witty’s Lagoon

With sand-covered toes and wet hands, children got a close look at squirming, slimy and clawed sea creatures on Tuesday.

With sand-covered toes and wet hands, children got a close look at squirming, slimy and clawed sea creatures on Tuesday.

In the morning, divers entered the ocean at Witty’s Lagoon and came out with living treasures to share with children and adults for the popular Marine Day event.

Divers resurfaced with creatures great and small, such as sunflower starfish, hairy helmet crabs and sea lemons. The creatures where temporarily housed in small plastic swimming pools shaded by tents.

Capital Regional District Parks, Habitat Acquisition Trust and Sea Change staff demonstrated how to handle the sea life and explained a few interesting facts about them too.

Sea cucumbers look “spiky” to scare other animals away, but really they are soft to touch, Reed Osler, a CRD Park interpreter told a group of curious kids.

“They are trying to trick you,” she said.

If a predator decides to pursue the sea cucumber for a meal, the cuke has another mode of defence up its sleeve.

“A sea cucumber can throw up his insides (organs) and hope the predator goes after them instead,” Osler said. “He can grow them back.”

Beach-goers observed a sea star in the process of growing back lost limbs, possibility after they were eaten by another creature.

“That’s the thing with sea stars, they can grow their arms back,” Osler explained.

Witty’s intertidal beach area in Metchosin teemed with families, kids and groups excited to explore the lagoon and get a glimpse of its residents.

“We get hundreds of people here,” said Laurie Sthamann, communications coordinator for CRD Parks. “We do this to raise awareness for sea life.”

Other activities at Marine Day included a puppet show, beach bingo and a scavenger hunt.

“This is a great event. It teaches the children about nature and building respect for nature,” said Howard Barnes, who brought his four children to the event from Cowichan Bay.

Event organizers also wanted to deliver a message to the participants about the importance of safeguarding these rich habitats.

“It is important that people know what’s at the bottom of Bilston Creek,” Todd Carnahan, land coordinator for HAT. “Choices people make upstream impact Witty’s Lagoon.”

For people who live upstream of Bilston Creek, Carnahan said keeping compost, pet waste and manure away from the creek is important.

“The nutrients can get into the water and takes the oxygen out … that kills the trout.”

Another issue is eroding land upstream. The soil in the water adds nutrients as well as sediment.

“Witty’s Lagoon is filling with sediment,” Carnahan said. “Some day it may be a wet meadow instead of a intertidal area.”

reporter@goldstreamgazette.com

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Pandemic spurs egg-citement for backyard chickens in Greater Victoria

Fowl surge in popularity during COVID-19 pandemic

Pandemic profiles: Passion at the heart of community businesses

Businesses rely on community support to stay open

Saanich looks at allowing alcohol in parks after North Vancouver gives the green light

Bylaw allowing liquor in parks ‘a very positive idea,’ mayor says

Organizer, Victoria councillor, VicPD talk about upcoming rally for Black lives

‘It’s a simple ask’: Peace rally for Black lives organizer asks people to listen

PHOTOS: Dozens show up to rebuild vandalized Victoria people-less protest

Chalk messages of support surround the fountain in Centennial Square

‘I’m pissed, I’m outraged’: Federal minister calls out police violence against Indigenous people

Indigenous Minister Marc Miller spoke on recent incidents, including fatal shooting of a B.C. woman

Kelowna Mountie who punched suspect identified, condemned by sister

‘How did he get away with this? How is this justifiable?’

PHOTOS: Anti-racism protesters gather in communities across B.C.

More protests are expected through the weekend

POLL: Are you sending your children back to school this month?

Classrooms looked decidedly different when students headed back to school for the… Continue reading

Pair accused of ‘horrific’ assault at Vancouver’s Oppenheimer Park at large

Police say Jason Tapp, 30, and Nicole Edwards, 33, did not show up to meet their bail supervisor this week

No charges to be laid against 22 northern B.C. pipeline protesters

Twenty-two people were arrested in February, but Crown has decided not to pursue charges

Plan in place for BC Ferries to start increasing service levels

Ferry corporation reaches temporary service level agreement with province

B.C. starts to see employment return under COVID-19 rules

Jobless rate for young people still over 20% in May

Most Read