Coastal Connections: Exploring the Biology, Ecology, and Geology of The Wild Mile​

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Intertidal zones are being pressured by human-induced climate change making it important to understand how these areas may be changing over time. Our goal was to provide baseline data about the distribution of substrate grain sizes and biodiversity along a rocky intertidal zone in Point Grey Kitsilano. As well, we suggest management strategies to better prevent erosion and support biodiversity.

School:

SFU

Department:

Environmental Science

Course:

Environmental Science Capstone (EVSC 400)

Instructors:

  • Anna Hippmann

City of Vancouver:

  • Bonny Brockenshire
  • Angela Crampton

Student Team:

  • Yu Cao
  • Ching-Wen Chang
  • Sage Dillabough
  • Laila Fawaz
  • Helen Wong

Term:

Spring 2024

Summary

Situated on the shore of Burrard Inlet, the Wild Mile intertidal zone at Point Grey Kitsilano faces the challenge of erosion. Our Research delves into the management of The Wild Mile under a shoreline enhancement project that contributes to the groundwork for development strategies aimed at future preservation of the ecosystem biodiversity.

The persistent threat of erosion poses considerable risk that is only exacerbated by climate change-induced factors such as rising sea levels and increased water energy levels. These environmental shifts not only jeopardize habitat integrity but also heighten the potential repercussions for adjacent cliffside properties.

To analyze the state of the marine foreshore, we created grain size distribution maps, human structure maps, and species map and inventory, aimed at helping quantify biodiversity metrics and track erosion trends over time. In this area there has already been a shoreline enhancement project done with the aim of enhancing habitat opportunities, stabilizing substrates, and curtailing erosion along the sandstone cliff base. Our assessment of flora and fauna indicates that this project has yielded positive outcomes further reinforcing its effectiveness in maintaining ecosystem resilience and biodiversity.

Emerging from our study are a series of recommendations emphasizing the importance of continuous monitoring and management of the Wild Mile. Efficient intertidal zone monitoring includes grain size mapping and flora and fauna documentation. Management strategies include adding sediments to the foreshore areas with the aim of restoring the original architecture plan of the shoreline enhancement project.

Our research underscores the importance of proactive shoreline enhancement measures and the implementation of monitoring protocols to protect the ecological integrity of the Wild Mile and similar coastal rocky intertidal habitats.

 

To nominate our project for HUBBUB 22 People’s Choice Awards, between July 4th and July 10th, go to HUBBUB 22 People’ Choice Voting. 
Winners will be announced on July 11th, 2024 during the CityStudio Youth Summer event Civic Matters: Youth Voices and Your City Hall Campus. 

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