Geochemical and Biological Response of an Intertidal Ecosystem to Localized Restoration Efforts: Squamish East Delta

Author: 
Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Scholarly level: 
Graduate student (Masters)
Date created: 
2017-04
Keywords: 
Benthic ecology
Estuaries
Intertidal flats
Macroinvertebrates
Restoration
Sediment
Abstract: 

Geochemical and biological attributes of three intertidal areas in the Squamish Estuary with different levels of disturbance (low, medium, and high) were assessed to determine short-­term ecosystem responses to localized restoration efforts conducted one year previously on a former log handing site. Sediment and macroinvertebrate variables were analyzed among sites to characterize the ecosystems response and provide insight on the nature and process of an assisted successional trajectory. Invertebrate composition and biomass were lowest on the site with the highest level of disturbance. The high disturbance site also contained the highest percentage of fine sand (0.0067 mm to 0.25 mm). This confirms that in the short term there are distinct site responses to disturbance and ameliorative restoration efforts – even in a highly dynamic estuarine environment. The medium site contained more invertebrates than the low disturbance site indicating that something other than localized disturbance is affecting the invertebrate community on the low site. All sites exhibited a less-­rich and less diverse invertebrate community than that of historical records (circa. 1970-­1980). Invertebrate = community in the east delta today is more typical of estuarine environments with higher salinity levels -­ which indicates more widespread levels of disturbance throughout the Estuary is affecting the study sites. This study highlights the importance of considering temporal and spatial scales when setting restoration goals, objectives and creating monitoring plans. Additional monitoring of sediment, invertebrate, and other variables on restored and reference sites is recommended to characterize typical recolonization and reassembly attributes of restoring intertidal estuaries in coastal British Columbia. This would provide evidence and rigor in determining effective restoration techniques and management strategies for a critical and increasingly threatened ecosystem.

Language: 
English
Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
Rights: 
Rights remain with the author.
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Leah Bendell
Department: 
Environment: Ecological Restoration Program
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.Sc.
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