The B.E.A.C.H. Program

Forage fish spawning survey in Roberts Bay

The Beach Education And Conservation of Habitat (BEACH) Program

Our beaches are under threat from multiple sources, including pollution, overland flow erosion, storm drain outfalls, garbage, sea-level rise, climate-related storm activity and backshore development.

The Beach Education and Conservation of Habitat (BEACH) Program provides Victoria area residents with opportunities to gain hands-on experience in beach conservation and protection. Often delivered during beach cleanup events, our program addresses these threats and supports environmental stewardship through education and citizen science.

Our program supports environmental stewardship through education and citizen science.

VICTORIA, B.C.: APRIL 22, 2009 -North Saanich Middle School students(left to right)Fiona Kelley, Kali McDougall and Quiana Foster sift through the sand to pick up garbage from Patricia Bay in Victoria, B.C. April  22, 2009.  'Creatures of HabitatÍ Day of Action 2009 is timed with Earth Day. This event involves 700 Grade 6 students from School District #63, as well as over 100 volunteers: high school and university students, seniors, non-profit organizations and corporations. (DARREN STONE, TIMES COLONIST). For City story by Lindsay Kines

Public Education

Although many people know their beaches intimately, they don’t always know how a beach was formed and that it is constantly changing. Along with education about dynamic beach processes, we teach stewards to identify developing or imminent environmental threats.

The BEACH Program provides information and training on Observe, Record, Report protocols established by Fisheries and Oceans Canada. Armed with this knowledge, stewards are better able to help mitigate threats to beaches by lobbying and supporting activities, such as beach protection, nourishment and restoration.

We also hold public meetings, seminars and presentations to illustrate the impact of residential development, climate change and other threats to shoreline ecosystems.

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Forage Fish Spawning Surveys

We provide on-site training in scientific data collection, using citizen-science protocols associated with forage fish studies, beach seining and related scientific programs.

Forage fish are small schooling fish, such as Pacific sand lance, surf smelt, Pacific herring and anchovies. These species are critical components of the ocean food web, feeding on phytoplankton and zooplankton and transferring this energy to salmon, seabirds and marine mammals.

While often abundant, forage fish spawning beaches are undergoing a coastal squeeze, experiencing the effects of shoreline development on land and climatic conditions from the sea.

Forage fish beach spawning surveys are important for increasing our knowledge of Pacific sand lance and surf smelt spawning behaviour and their use of intertidal beaches for spawning.

We are collaborating with the Strait of Georgia Data Centre, Pacific Salmon Foundation and Institute for the Ocean and Fisheries (UBC) to gather forage fish ecosystem information on local beaches. This information will be used to inform decisions that impact intertidal areas and contribute to other nearshore research projects throughout the Salish Sea.

Shoreline and Estuary Restoration Projects

The Songhees Walkway Pocket Beach Restoration

The Craigflower Creek Estuary Restoration

Beach Cleans

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"... The restoration project's historical review reveals layers of cultural heritage buried beneath industrial endeavors. However, with a keen focus on preserving both ecological and cultural values, we embarked on a journey to revive this vital piece of history."

Our Craigflower Creek tidal marsh restoration project begins in July 2024. Sign up for our newsletter to learn more. Or, sign up to volunteer with this and other restoration projects.

Plastics and other artificial material in the ocean are a critical threat to wildlife and are an environmental concern that needs to be addressed. Moreover, garbage in streams and terrestrial areas is detrimental to sensitive habitats and the flora and fauna within, including salmonids.