Measure seaweed scientifically

One year, I had the bright idea of covering the whole front lawn with seaweed.

Having lived at the water’s edge at the entrance to Baynes Sound for more than 20 years has been a privilege as well as an education. Every year, I gather many trash cans full of seaweed to place upon my seaside veggie garden.

One year, I had the bright idea of covering the whole front lawn with the stuff. I was putting it on about a foot thick when I turned around and looked at the large area I covered I began laughing. A kabillion bugs were jumping out of the seaweed and heading towards the beach a few feet away. I often wonder how they knew which direction to go?

One of your recent letter writers (‘Seaweed is good business,’ Cliff Walker) was incorrect in several areas I would like to address.

Dr. Ian Birtwell, retired DFO scientist, did an academic peer review of published documents pertaining to seaweed and came to his conclusions. This is not anecdotal story telling like the above paragraph. Its scientific data reviewed and restated for public knowledge.

Science does not generally put undergrad students on short, two-month-long projects to study and reach conclusions upon which business will be allowed to change the environment significantly as is being done with a Ministry of Agriculture grant to Clamshell U to hire some students to flag seaweed and see that it floats and re-floats after every storm. A real scientific study would take several years of undertaking, and employ real scientists.

I do acknowledge that after we complained to high heaven about the destruction that these people did to our community garden they participated recently in cleaning up and restoring the area. Much appreciated by the Deep Bay community for sure. But the tracks from their machine are still visible in places.

This indeed is raw resource extraction abusing our community and greatly affecting the ecology of local beaches as well as the oyster and shellfish industry.

One thing that people don’t realize when they smell the rotting seaweed on the beach is that this is a natural process… the seaweed eventually is broken down by feeding bugs, crabs, critters (bear, deer, otter eat it) and the next storm even washes what’s left back into the sea, this then becomes liquefied eventually and is nutrient rich food for shellfish in Baynes Sound.

Len WalkerDeep Bay

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