Could the beach be home to clam beds again?

July 4, 2019
By: 
BSc in Environmental Science Students

Coburg Peninsula is an important part of the Colwood community, commonly used by beachgoers, children, dog walkers and more. The City of Colwood is interested in determining the level of metals in the seabed that may have been introduced by the early industry that operated in the area during the 1800s. Also, this information would be useful in re-establishing Indigenous shellfish harvesting in the intertidal zone of the beach.

As their major project, five extraordinary students of the current BSc in Environmental Science program have been tasked with the analysis of the sediments at the ocean side of the Coburg Peninsula. To get representative samples of the beach, they have collected samples at both high and low tide. Seasonal sampling was chosen due to the high energy transportation of sediments to and from the beach during different seasons.  So far, they have completed two rounds of sampling, and are in the process of analyzing the samples for metal contamination. As part of the project, the group hopes to visit an existing clam garden within the Gulf Islands to better understand how a healthy clam garden functions.

If the Coburg Peninsula is found uncontaminated, recommendations will be made on what steps can be taken to establish a clam garden in collaboration with First Nations.