Why habitat restoration is important

Many coastal ecosystems have suffered degradation from human-induced impacts that has compromised their ecological functions. The deposition of additional sediment, debris and solid structures often smother subtidal and intertidal infaunal marine life. This may create barren tracts of sea floor which lack 3-dimensional habitat structure and points of attachment for kelp and algae. As well, the decomposition of submerged woody debris from log handling activities robs these sites of vital dissolved oxygen required for benthic and other aquatic organisms to thrive.

Intertidal salt marsh and sea grasses are two high value marine habitats found along the coast of B.C. which provide critical food sources and shelter to a variety of marine organisms, stabilize coastlines and marine sediments and act as valuable carbon sinks. These habitats can be impacted by the placement of artificial structures such as boat ramps, wharfs, or shoreline fills associated with coastal development projects and the loss of these habitats has detrimental effects which are felt throughout the marine food web.

In some cases we can rehabilitate habitats in order to give existing species an opportunity to thrive again. For example, transplanting eelgrass or sedges into an area developed for their long term survival. In other cases, we can create new habitat, for example by creating new freshwater channels and ponds, to offer species connectivity between existing habitats so they may expand their range and population.An idea is that a diversity of habitats provides for a diversity of species and some of those species (e.g. fisheries), are vital to human well-being as food, as jobs and for their indirect importance (e.g. Chinook as food for orcas). A diversity of well functioning habitats are more resilient to increased forest fires, flood events and extreme temperatures, part of the adverse impacts of climate change.
M.C. Wright are leaders in aquatic habitat restoration both in the marine and freshwater environments. See our habitat banking and habitat restoration pages for more info.