Shorezone and Shoreline Habitat Protection
What is shoreline habitat and why is it important?
Shoreline habitats are unique areas greatly influenced by tidal patterns, neighbouring estuaries and wetlands, and human uses. Each shoreline habitat supports a great diversity of life. While many of the habitats thrive, some of them require our attention so that we can monitor our human impact, and not negatively affect the abundance of life in these areas.
How is shoreline habitat monitored?
PRPA has worked with key partners to document existing shoreline habitats around Prince Rupert, the Tsimshian peninsula and the Skeena River using very high-resolution aerial imagery. The photographs and videos of hundreds of kilometres of shoreline were taken while flying several hundred feet over the ground, and spatially referenced by a global positioning system so that accurate latitude and longitude information can be determined for any location in the photo. Lastly, the images are stitched together to create a coastal survey map.
This program will be repeated on a cycle subject to the amount of change that is caused by human or natural forces.
In addition to monitoring, this information can also be critical for response to natural and manmade disasters. The data in these photos can provide emergency and coastal managers with information needed to assess damage, but also to develop recovery strategies, facilitate search and rescue efforts, and identify hazards to navigation and hazardous material spills.
The ShoreZone Imaging Survey was funded by the Prince Rupert Port Authority, Pacific Northwest LNG, Aurora LNG, the Gitxaala Nation, the Metlakatla First Nation, the Nisga’a First Nation, as well as BC Ministry of Environment.
ShoreZone mapping and imagery can be found here.
While ShoreZone imagery specifically, can be found here.
Intertidal Biodiversity Surveys
PRPA has been conducting intertidal transect surveys since 2017. These surveys involve recording the types and number of species found at several intertidal (shoreline) areas on both Kaien and Ridley Island. The data collected from these surveys is used as a baseline to understand current ecosystem health of each area and to understand any impacts from future development.
What determines a threat to shoreline habitat?
Changes in the shape of the shoreline can be analyzed by measuring differences in past and present shoreline locations. By looking at this information over a period of time, we can determine where and how fast shoreline and habitat is changing, which can help with planning for the future. Shoreline change is a prime indicator of coastal environmental resource threat, as these changes can drive the alteration of natural habitats.