The diverse collection of local marine life will be on display this weekend at Willows Beach.
The Friends of Uplands Park has partnered with the Royal BC Museum to hold a Willows Beach Seine Net Sunday morning. The hands-on event will take place at the north end of Willows Beach from 9 to 11 a.m.
“The museum staff will be running a seine net over the eelgrass beds to collect creatures and then bring in the nets to shore. Families can find creatures, put them into little containers of sea water, and have them identified by experts,” said Margaret Lidkea, co-chair of the Friends of Uplands Park. “It will also be low tide so other living things can be found.”
The seine net is one of the museum’s Field Tripper Series celebrating 125 years of the museum doing public programs outdoors.
“The Royal BC Museum wants to document the species that we have here on the coast,” said Lidkea.
A seine net is a long net with floats on the top and weights on the bottom. The net will be dropped from a boat off shore from Willows Beach and people will have ropes attached to either end of the net in order to pull it into shore.
“The netting is very fine so the animals don’t get trapped in it the way they would in a gill net. It’s very good for catching small things,” said Lidkea, who advises people wishing to take part in the seine net to wear boots or water shoes.
The SeaChange Marine Conservation Society has just finished a map of the eel grass off the shore of Oak Bay and will have this on display.
“Eel grass is one of the most important seaweeds that you have because it’s a nursery for many, many species of animals in the ocean,” said Lidkea.
The seine net isn’t the only project the Friends of Uplands Park are currently working on. The group is in the process of planning an educational marine kiosk at Cattle Point. Currently $7,000 has been raised but another $7,000 is needed.
A display of the kiosk as well as information about the flora and fauna of the area will be on hand at Sunday’s event.