Race Rocks Marine Protected Area
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Race Rocks is a marine Ecological Reserve in the eastern entrance of the Strait of Juan de Fuca in the Salish Sea. The reserve is a designated Marine Protected Area and has been such since the first bid in 2000 was derailed in Ottawa. Started in 1978 as a marine science project by the students of Pearson College UWC under the supervision and guidance of their teachers, Garry Fletcher and Marks McAvity, in 1980 it became ecological reserve #97 under Provincial B.C. Parks protection. In 1998 it became a Canadian Marine Protected Area designate. It is managed by the staff and students at the college, and is available as a resource for research and education.
Located at a narrow part of the Strait, the area covers 3 square kilometres of ocean, rocks, and reefs, but does not include the small envelope of land with the foghorn and the historic Race Rocks Lighthouse itself. That area is leased by the Canadian Coast Guard. This location makes it highly exposed to the risk of chronic oil spills and catastrophic oil spills from increased tanker traffic in the Strait of Juan de Fuca, especially if the Trans Mountain / Kinder Morgan pipeline proposal proceeds.
An extensive website racerocks.com has been created to provide access to the educational resources of the protected area.
Because of the location in a high current area, there is an exceptional variety of marine life to be found, including marine mammals, sea birds, fish, marine invertebrates, and marine algae and sea grass. It is a haulout area for California and Northern sealions and a birthing rookery for Harbour seals. It is also the most northerly birthing colony on the Pacific Coast of North America for the elephant seal. A detailed taxonomy and species database is maintained on the site.
In 2006 and 2007, the Integrated Energy system was installed at Race Rocks, with solar energy and tidal currents powering the energy needs of the island.
- Home page of racerocks.com and racerocks.ca website
- Current weather from the weather station at Race Rocks
- Images of Race Rocks on Google Earth
- History of Race Rocks Light Station and Ecological Reserve History Index
- Taxonomy and Species Description with images and video
- The ecology of Race Rocks
- The Elephant Seal Colony at Race Rocks.
- The Integrated Energy System ( Tidal and Solar) powering Race Rocks
- The Educational Resources of Race Rocks Index
- First Nations connections to Race Rocks
- The Race Rocks log Regular reports by the Ecoguardians and warden on events in the Ecological reserve.]
- Live remote control video cameras at Race Rocks
- Ecological Reserve Warden Reports
- Research and Publications available for Race Rocks All research carried out since 1980 on the Ecological reserve is entered here]
- Records since 1997 of the attempts to establish an MPA under the Oceans Act at Race Rocks
- Race Rocks on the Friends of Ecological Reserves website
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