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.

Race Rocks Ecological Reserve

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.

There are also live video feeds from Race Rock, with remotely operated cameras, a underwater camera, and a videocam archive available from the website.

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.

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Coordinates: 48°17′56″N 123°31′52″W / 48.299°N 123.531°W / 48.299; -123.531