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

 

 

Just Posted

New accessible playground opens at View Royal’s Eagle View Elementary School

Students overjoyed while faculty and parents feel relief

With $4M investment, Camosun College offers first sonography program on Vancouver Island

Starting in May 2020 students from Vancouver Island can pursue a career in sonography

Greater Victoria developer rushes to demolish historic wall before Oak Bay applies heritage permit

Abstract Development punches holes in one of Oak Bay’s oldest stone walls

$775-million wastewater project on track to be completed on time, within new budget

Esquimalt Mayor Barb Desjardins praises public education aspect of project

Scheer, Trudeau, Singh haggle over potential minority government outcome

If you believe the polls, it appears the Liberals and Conservatives are neck-and-neck

POLL: Do you think the day of the federal election should be a statutory holiday?

Increasing voter turnout has long been a goal of officials across the… Continue reading

Canucks beat Stanley Cup champs 4-3 in a shootout

Leivo nets winner, Vancouver dumps St. Louis for fourth straight win

Campbell River homicide suspects arrested in Vancouver

Two men remain in custody, but have not been charged

‘The more you test, the more you find’: Beef recalls a sign of success, experts say

Despite appearances, experts say a recent rise in major recalls is not a sign of food supply problems

Elizabeth May confirms plan to eliminate fish farming in open ocean pens

Green Party leader stops in Qualicum Beach as part of Island campaign

STRIKE: WFP and USW are back at the table for mediation

“No further updates until either an agreement is reached or one party or the other breaks off talks”

Green Party leader Elizabeth May rolls through Vancouver Island to boost a party stronghold

Mocks media, evokes Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela and promises change

Japanese buyer expands wood pellet contract with B.C.’s Pinnacle

Mitsui and Co. increases contract with Interior energy producer

Most Read