"To promote, maintain, and monitor the health of Gabriola Island uplands, backshore, shoreline and intertidal ecosystems, including beaches, bluffs, estuaries."
WHO WE ARE
GISKA is a group of dedicated volunteers who live on Gabriola Island, and are committed to caring for the shores of Gabriola, including marine riparian zones, beaches, estuaries and bays and their nearshore habitats for the benefit of the marine ecosystem and its inhabitants.
What Have We Done So Far?
GABRIOLA EELGRASS MAPPING group helped SEACHANGE and the ISLANDS TRUST create a map of the eelgrass beds on Gabriola. Eelgrass is integral to the health of our nearshore marine ecosystem. One of the many functions of eelgrass is to provide a ‘nursery’ for small fish and other marine life during their juvenile stages. The Eelgrass Map is now part of the Gabriola Islands Trust Official Community Plan and is an important element to provide direction on where to safely integrate built environments such as docks and wharfs.
HELP THE KELP was a group of islanders founded by Ken Capon and continued by Michael Mehta to investigate, map, and restore a healthy bull kelp ecosystem. Volunteers studied kelp beds around Gabriola, began the task of mapping, monitoring and restoring kelp in the nearshore ecosystem by establishing a spore-based planting protocol.
HELP THE KELP had a presence on social media thanks to Michele FireRiverheart, attended conferences and reported findings on their web page. Former HELP THE KELPers support the formation of a group of volunteers and scientists to provide citizen science and stewardship of the important ecosystem in the nearshore environment.
SOME COOL FACTS
Numbers speak for themselves
Years of Experience
What Is Next?
AREAS OF INTEREST
Areas of Interest include the following:
- Kelp mapping and community outreach/education
- Eelgrass monitoring
- Community outreach/education
- Forage fish mapping and education
- Annual shoreline cleanup
- Creosote piling wrapping strategy to improve the health of Herring spawn habitat
Please take a look at our Projects page that describes the work that we are doing. Here are some examples:
- Forage fish beach spawning monitoring. This program is a partnership with the Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Region Research Institute (MABRRI) at VIU and volunteers on Gabriola are sampling monthly at a number of Gabriola's beaches to look for surf smelt and sand lance eggs.
- Protection of eelgrass. We are partnering with SeaChange to effect protection of eelgrass from damage at anchorages around Gabriola. We are working to create signs that can be placed onshore to inform the public as to where eelgrass beds are located, and provide information on best practices for anchoring so as to avoid these precious beds.
- Marine debris removal. We are partnering with the Dead Boat Society and SeaChange to carry out beach cleanups, educate the public about the new legislation around abandoned boats, and with removal of abandoned craft and debris both on and underwater.