Generating History

High clouds settled in today and there were even a few minute raindrops for a short time in the late morning and early evening. Hazy marine air was evident along the coast to Victoria while across on the American side, it looked like it might really be raining in the Elwha Valley, Olympic National Park. The barometer continues its slow slide, which started last Thursday. The westerly wind is forecast again for tomorrow and it has already started.

A Humpback Whale feeding and resting to the south of the rocks and Killer Whales to the west, continued to draw whale–watching boats from Victoria and a total of 22 were noted in the Ecological Reserve today, mostly observing pinnipeds (Steller’s and California Sea Lions, Harbour and Elephant Seals). One commercial, charter, fishing boat also stopped by to watch the sea lions.

One of the Brown Pelicans came back today and some members of the Victoria Historical Society group saw it on their way out to the island. Three groups of twelve people each had historical tours of Race Rocks today.

The historians were very interested in Garry Fletcher’s on-site presentations about the history of Great Race Island, the 500 year-old plus, indigenous rock cairns and the 154 year history of the Lighthouse. Race Rocks is designated as a heritage site but that only means it is registered in Ottawa, not offered any conservation protection. The Race Rocks Ecological Reserve protects Race Rocks’ biodiversity and natural history and is part of BC Parks, but it does not include human history.

Federal law passed specifically three years ago to protect historical lighthouses does not apply to the six original Imperial Lighthouses, of which this is one. Race Rocks  light-tower pre-dates the confederation of Canada and it is the only stone-constructed light tower and one of a handful of standing stone structures this old, in western Canada. It needs protection. You can learn more about its’ fascinating history through this web-site under history. There is even historical video footage of the demolition of the historic, granite, light-keeper’s house in the 1960s by bulldozer and explosives. Fisgard Light which was completed six weeks before Race Rocks is a much less impressive brick tower and is endowed with full heritage protection by Parks Canada.

With 37 visitors to attend to, I did not spend much time making ecological observations today. I did a few maintenance chores before they arrived, washing windows, sweeping the main walk-way with an historical broom and weed-eating around the fly wheels of an old Fairbanks-Morse engine from the turn of the last century, with an historical weed-eater from late in the last century. There are quite a few pieces of old Fairbanks-Morse machinery lying around that could be of historical interest. Here is a YouTube link to a similar 1906 Fairbanks-Morse engine, running. What a beast.

My last tasks of the day are to move deionized water, delivered with the guests by Courtney on MV Second Nature, up to the energy building, and to make fresh water with the desalinator, while the historic Lister generator tops up the batteries which are powered mostly by solar panels.

Day 2: Solar panel maintenance

Wednesday June 5/13
Day two: Fog and moderate winds early in the morning. A good part of the morning was spent cleaning the Solar panels on the roof of the Energy building of all the accumulated bird guano. I took note of the power output pre-cleaning : 650W;  it jumped to 980W after being cleaned.

One pleasure boat in the Reserve this morning 0945hrs

We were visited by BC Parks’ new Area Supervisor to familiarise herself with the site and the Race Rocks File; and to meet the crew.

A trip with BC Parks Staff to Race Rocks

On the morning of Wednesday June  6 , I went with Andy MacDonald,  the Vancouver Island Region (South) Parks and Protected Areas Section Head, and  Zsana Tulcsik, the new BC Parks Area Supervisor from the Goldstream Office out to the Race Rocks Ecological Reserve. ( A report by Garry Fletcher, Race Rocks ER warden)

College staff member Erik Schauff skippered Second Nature and we met Chris Blondeau , Director of Operations for Pearson College UWC  on the jetty. He is the relief ecoguardian at  Race Rocks for the week .

The elephant seals co-operated and were basking in the sun on the grass in the centre of the island. There were 4-  2 year olds and one large older Male, which may have been Chunk … the inflamed  right eye from an injury administered by Misery was a good identification mark.

Two Northern sea lions were observed in the water . I thought it was notable that there were very few harbour seals which usually have pups at this time of year, and none on the southern islets where they usually haul out. I will have to check over the next few days on the tower camera, as they may have been out foraging.

The glaucous-winged gulls are well into nesting season, with several nests containing three eggs. The image from the window of the science centre shows the distribution of pairs. Another picture above shows a nest precariously close to the elephant seal  haulout spot.

There was an abundance of pigeon guillemots on all corners of the island where they have their nesting burrows. They should be visible on camera 5 now out near the edge of the cliff to the west.  They have certainly been a success story in increasing numbers in the past few years. There must be well over 60 pairs nesting in the hidden burrows under the rocks. Ironically good habitat has been produced in several areas because of  human activity in the past by the blasting  of rock for the helipad construction by the Coastguard, and other construction on the islands done in the 1900s before it was an ecological reserve. This is a rare example of habitat enhancement that humans can claim, as usually it is the other way around.

On the return to the docks we were impressed with the clumps of Thrift in full bloom. Chris mentioned that the Black Oystercatchers had been in the area on the rock right off the sidewalk by the docks and we soon spotted the nest. This is the same area they have used for many years. The videos of the hatching oystercatchers in this link  are from the same area.

In addition to the vast monocultures of pineapple weed as shown above, this is the second year we have noted large patches of Fiddleneck, Amsinckia spectabilis in the same compacted and richly fertilized areas where the grass was killed out by the sealions and intense Canada Goose grazing.

Race Rocks Advisory Board Resource Documents

This file is designed for the use of the Race Rocks Advisory Board in order to make available in one index, the resources that are most relevant to the Marine Protected Area Designation Process.

Last update Origin EXISTING VERSION Update version or suggested
changes now in progress– contributions from RRAB members welcome..
2010 DFO DFO Response to RRPAB member questions
2010 Ryan Murphy Draft Socio-Economic Overview: Nov 2010
2010 DFO RRPAB DRAFT Ecological Overview: Nov 2010
2010 DFO Agenda for November 2010 meeting
2010 DFO Draft 1.of Management Plan.
2010 DFO DFO Communications Page with Agenda and Draft or Final version of minutes
( to May 2010 meeting only)
2010 RRPAB Values Input Table Update.Values Input Table of Lester Pearson College (version with embedded links for examples)
2010 The Race Rocks Marine Protected Area Advisory Board: Index of Events and Documents.
2002 RRAB Draft Management Plan for MPA
2002 PC Parks
2009 DFO Socioeconomic Base Case Update for Race Rocks Proposed Marine Protected Area
1999 G.Fletcher.
Gaps in research .. RREO workshop 1999
2001 DFO Race Rocks Pilot Marine Protected Area, An Ecological Overview, Wright and Pringle, IOS 2001 25mb PDF file Changes needed- R. Murphy
2009 G.Fletcher.
Marine Protected Area General References
2002 Sean Leroy LeRoy, S., 2002. Public Process and the Creation of a Marine Protected Area at Race Rocks, British Columbia.
Master’s Thesis. School of Community and Regional Planning, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, B.C.
2009 G.Fletcher.
First Nations and , the Race Rocks Area includes a link to RRAB involvement .
2009 G.Fletcher.
Management Issues: INDEX of the environmental disturbances by humans at Race Rocks.
2009 G.Fletcher.
Ecosystem Index page linking existing inventories, taxonomy and data collection
2009 G.Fletcher.
Education resources index page
2009 G.Fletcher.
MPA benefits
2009 G.Fletcher.
MPA boundary history
2009 G.Fletcher.
Guest research being done at Race Rocks, 1999-2010
2010 G.Fletcher.
New updates to the and site.
2010 G.Fletcher.
DFO finances on RRAB Process 1999-2010-index
Condensed version with graphs and summary only.
reinstalled sept 2, 2011
2010 DFO The Oceans Act, 1996 current to March 25, 2010
2010 DFO
Boundary MAPProposed boundary areas
2010 DFO
Boundary MAPProposed boundary areas detail
2010 rrpa meeting Draft of recommendations from the Meeting called by RRPAB members.
2010 G.Fletcher.
Reflections on the Role of Education and Outreach
in the MPA Designation Process, 1998-2010.
2010 Shaw Ocean Discovery centre The Case for RR MPA in 2010
The Case for Race Rocks Marine Protected Area in 2010

The Johan Ashuvud Memorial

It is unlikely that the creation of the Race Rocks Ecological Reserve in 1980 would have happened except for the efforts of an 18 year old Pearson College student from Sweden.

johan Johan Ashuvud, a student from 1978-1980, was in the Marine Science class and the Diving Service as part of IB his program at the college.
He devoted a great amount of energy in helping to direct a group of students in an extensive diving and research program in order to demonstrate the need for a Reserve at Race Rocks.

dv1Johan Ashuvud SCUBA diving at Race Rocks 1979




ellisIn the fall of 1979 he helped organize a workshop to investigate the creation of a reserve at Race Rocks involving provincial and university officials. Johan was instrumental in drawing up the draft proposal with staff of the Ecological reserves branch of the Parks Department in the provincial government and even helped in guiding the Deputy Minister of Parks on an underwater tour of the reserve.

sw4mJens Jensen from Denmark,and Johan Asuvud attach a transect line onto the top of the rarely exposed Rosedale Reef, South of Race Rocks at an extreme low tide.  At that point they were standing on the most southerly point in Western Canada!

Jballanac27-1ohan’s underwater photography was the first done by students of the college and was to become very valuable in helping to promote conservation of the beautiful life forms there
A gallery of some of his work is available here.

celeb80When the Ecological Reserve at Race Rocks was declared in 1980 by the provincial government, the group of students who had worked on the proposal made a celebratory trip to Race Rocks to tell the lightkeepers Trev and Flo Anderson of the great news. (Johan is on crutches after returning from a holiday in Mexico where he had had a collision with a bus!)

sw7A few weeks later, Trev and Flo invited the core group back to present the “Order of Race Rocks” for the great work done. Johan (center of photo) and other divers with whom he had worked, were given the special presentation by Trev and Flo Anderson to express their thanks for the work done.
When Johan graduated from Pearson College, he went on to the School of Economics in Stockholm, Sweden, where he obtained his Master’s degree in Environmental Economics. His first job was in Costa Rica with the International Union for the Conservancy of Nature (IUCN). There he continued his interest in getting special places preserved, as he worked to convince officials in Parks Departments of Central American governments to preserve their Natural Heritage.

Almost 10 years after he left Pearson College, on a trip back to Sweden in April of 1988, Johan died in a car accident. Our college community was deeply saddened by this tragic event. Johan left his wife and a soon to be born daughter.
Johan would be the first to urge young people from all countries to never give up with environmental concerns. He proved to us that youth can make a significant impact in the world by getting actively involved in working to preserve such special places as Race Rocks.

In 2000, The family of Johan contributed the Johan Ashuvud Memorial Fund to be administered in Trust by Lester B. Pearson College . The purpose of the fund is to support with the annual proceeds environmental activities, research and projects undertaken by present and former students of Pearson related to the Race Rocks Marine Reserve.

  • In June 2000, Several students with faculty member Garry Fletcher did a week-long series of webcasts from the Ecological reserve for the Johan Ashuvud Week
  • In June 2001, students Damien Guihen and Jean Olivier Dalphond spent several weeks at Race Rocks, doing webcasts, and producing QuickTime Virtual Reality and QuickTime Videos for the archives of
  • In June 2002 four students are doing an educational webcasting program from Race Rocks.
  • Almost every year since 2002, a few students from the college stay behind after others leave at the end of the term in May to go to Race Rocks for a project week which we still call “The Johan Ashuvud Week”

One of the last papers published by Johan on his work for the IUCN in Central America :

Ashuvud, Johan, “Environmental Conservation for Development in Central America” C. Folke and T. Kåberger ed. Linking the Natural Environment and the Economy: Essays from the Eco-Eco Group, (Boston, MA: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1991): 253-270.

ASACODE, Asociación San Migueleña para la Conservación y el Desarrollo, tiene un Albergue para la recepción de turismo en una finca dedicada al manejo integral del bosque, que fue donada por UICN y que lleva el nombre de Johan Ashuvud.

*” Talamancan Ecotourism and Conservation (ATEC) Association, provided training Tourism naturalist guides, who work in Talamanca (local communities). ATEC works as tour operator working directly with the community. * ASACODE, San Miguelena Association for Conservation and Development, has a Hostel for receipt of tourism in an area dedicated to integrated forest management, which was donated by IUCN and named Johan Ashuvud. * There are a number of private initiatives to develop tourism hotels which will generate pressure on the resources of the Refuge.”

In December 2014,  a memorial bronze plaque was installed at Race Rocks to commemorate Johan and the work that he did to help in the creation of the Race Rocks Ecological reserve: Click to enlarge.2014-12-28johanplaque

The plaque can be seen from the remote camera 1. It  faces the tower on the rock near the path intersection below the tower.


Race Rocks Ecological Reserve: An Unusual Model of Reserve Management

The following article is also printed complete with hyperlinks to relevant parts of the Race Rocks website at

On October 3 a group of 20 of the Friends of Ecological Reserves made a trip to Race Rocks in the Pearson College Boats with  Garry Fletcher  and Chris Blondeau, who is the  Pearson College Sea-front Coordinator and Operations Manager of Race Rocks.  This fall has been remarkable in the consistently high population of  Northern and California Sea Lions and  high populations of seagulls and Cormorants on the islands, so it was a good time for the visit after the nesting season.

As a result of questions from members on the trip, I thought it may be useful to update everyone who is interested in the events on the reserve with the present state of the management and financing of Race Rocks.  Lester Pearson College assumed the full management of the facilities and staff at Race Rocks in the fall of 1997 . The light and foghorn had been automated, and the Canadian CoastGuard was retiring the lightkeepers, Mike and Carol Slater.  All the facilities except the light tower and foghorn  were returned to BC  Lands.  An agreement was reached whereby the  island  was leased for long term management and continued use for education and research by  Lester Pearson College .  In  2001,  BC Parks was able to expand the Ecological reserve, which had previously omitted the large island with the facilities, to include all the remaining land area of Great Race Island in addition to the original 256 hectares of Islands and water to the 36 meter depth.

The Slaters were hired by Lester Pearson College to stay on as Ecological Reserve Guardians, providing security and  keeping the diesel generator running, thus ensuring that the college could have full use of the other buildings and facilities on the island. In addition, the daily collection of air and sea temperature and salinity data  was continued, maintaining a valuable long term data base. Operating Costs for the first year were met by an anonymous donor from Ontario. Each year after a special effort has been made by the college to secure the operating funds to carry through to keep the island open.   By the year 2000, a proposal was made to the Millennium Partners Fund of Canada, to help fund the installation of internet facilities and microwave to provide a link to the College for the transmission of Broadband  internet.  A number of partners and sponsors who continue to assist are referenced on the website. Each year since, the college has had to seek funding from a number of sources to keep the island going, since government funding for parks is very hard to come by.

One of the higher costs incurred in the operation is the diesel fuel to run the island’s generators. Last year over $20,000  went into this, so it has been an aim for some time to incorporate alternate energy technology in the operation. It is with great relief that I can now tell you that our efforts are paying off as we now have a company, Clean Current Power Inc. securing  the complete funding and installing at Race Rocks in the next year, an underwater tidal current generator which will have negligible negative environmental impacts.  Although a research prototype, this should generate all the required electrical needs for the island. The diesel generators will become backup utilities.

BC Parks has made a good effort to help with some of the facility costs on the island. Keep in mind that most Ecological Reserves do not have dwellings and facilities such as docks and workshops, so they have provided the funds to mitigate the effects of human sewage from the two houses, with the installation of Composting Toilets in 2003.  The Coast guard, although having no direct financial commitment, has provided technical assistance when necessary.  in 2000 an Advisory Board was set up by DFO for the formation of an Official  Marine Protected Area  under the Oceans Act. The Ecological Reserve is still a Marine Protected Area Designate, since final treaty negotiations have put a hold on complete Marine Protected Area Status. This has meant that no federal funds are available for maintaining the Protected Area.

It is a big job securing at least  $80,000 a year to keep the island operational. What is really needed is an endowment,  and this we are determined to seek over the next few years.  Keeping observers and cameras on the island has in the last few years served to keep the many users of the area accountable, so that  the ecological integrity of the resource may be sustained. On the home page of  is written : “we humans are never content just to know that a special area exists on this earth. We strive to be there, to touch, to feel, to consume . But therein lies the paradox. In so doing we can destroy the very thing we love.” The aim of the program has always been to make this special ecosystem available to all through the internet.  We have been fortunate to have this opportunity to establish a window into the daily lives of the creatures of a rugged marine island ecosystem. We just hope that we can continue to make the amazing life of these islands available to all.  This spring with the further assistance of Apple Computer, we upgraded our computers and added a new 340 degree robotic camera which provides a much more thorough survey of many parts of the islands from your own computer.

We are grateful for any assistance in the funding of the program at Race Rocks. One can pay by cheque or credit card to The Race Rocks Operating Fund c/o Lester B. Pearson College,  650 Pearson College Drive.  (250) 391-2411. A tax receipt will be provided for amounts over $25.00.

Garry Fletcher, the volunteer warden for Race Rocks Ecological Reserve is the Educational Director of . He has recently retired after teaching for 36 years.  The last  28 of those years have been spent in Biology, Environmental Systems and the SCUBA diving program at Lester B. Pearson College of the Pacific.  Garry now continues with his work on  and serves as a consultant from his home in Metchosin.

Clean Current Presentation on Race Rocks as Possible Demonstration site

This PDF is of a presentation by the staff of Clean Current Power Systems Incorporated that was given to the BC Ministry of Land water and Air Protection and Fisheries and Oceans Canada in May of 2004  to give a background to the Tidal Current Energy proposal and to answer the question ” Does Tidal Turbine Technology fit the Management Plans for Race Rocks Ecological reserve? ”

See the PDFcleancurrentpreso:Race Rocks Tidal Generator


Research and Education Park Use Permit for Tidal Energy Project

The permit for the Tidal Current energy Project at Race Rocks for the time period 2004-2006  is included here:

Research and educational activities may only be undertaken in an ecological reserve, protected area or provincial park (referred to in this application as a “protected area”) when authorized by a valid permit issued by the Ministry of Water, Land and Air Protection (referred to here as “BC Parks”) under the Ecological Reserve Act, Environment and Land Use Act or Park Act.. Research and education activities must contribute to the scientific knowledge of the protected area(s). Only applications that are considered by BC Parks to be compatible with the conservation and recreation objectives identified for the protected area(s) involved in the proposal will be evaluated.

Please complete this application form and submit it with the detailed proposal description, for evaluation, to the Park Use Permits address on page 2 of this application. Supplying insufficient information will delay evaluation. No fee is required.

NOTE: 1. Allow 60 business days for evaluation of this proposal.

2. More information may be requested from the applicant during review of this application.

3. Submission of this application does not entitle the applicant to any rights or permission to proceed with any activity in any protected area.

4. This application is subject to review under the BC Parks Impact Assessment Process.

5. The final report of the research project must be submitted to BC Parks.

6. Any specimens whether biological, fossils, geological or other artifacts, are the property of the provincial government and their disposition will be specified by BC Parks.

7. BC Parks reserves the right to refuse any or all applications.



Pearson College and

Clean Current Power Systems Incorporated


BC #630110


650 Pearson College Drive

336 – 1275 West 6th Avenue








V9C 4H7

V6H 1A6

BUS. PHONE NO. (Area Code):

(250) 391-xxxx

(604) 739-xxxx

FAX NO. (Area Code):

(250) 391-xxxx

(604) 738-xxxx



Glen Darou

DATE OF BIRTH: (dd/mm/yy)



BUS. PHONE NO. (Area Code)

(250) 391-xxxx

(604) 739-xxxx

FAX NO. (Area Code):

(250) 391-xxxx

(604) 738-xxxx


(250) xxx-xxxx

(604) 916-xxxx


Race Rocks Ecological Reserve

PERIOD OF USE (inclusive):

FROM: July 1, 2004 TO: July 1, 2016

List all activities to be undertaken:

Collection of Specimens Survey/Inventory Research
Other(s) (specify):

Please attach a detailed proposal that addresses the following (A-C):

A. Please describe the project and provide the following information:

1. purpose of research or educational activity;

2. geographic location(s) of the activity (provide maps to an appropriate scale);

3. scope and objectives of the research or educational activity;

4. proposed methodology;

5. detailed schedule for the project from start to completion with major benchmarks. Indicate how sensitive this schedule is to change (delays in approval, weather, etc.);

6. resources required to undertake and manage the project, including all costs, proposed funding sources and other resources (equipment, supplies etc.);

7. relevance of the proposal to the conservation and education mandate and objectives of the provincial protected area system and how BC Parks will benefit;

8. the reason for, type, number and intended use for each specimen collected;

9. effects on vegetation, wildlife, species and ecosystems at risk and other protected area values;

10. what actions will be undertaken to mitigate impacts on protected area values resulting from the proposed research or educational activity; and

11. what report type(s) (thesis, publication, etc.) are anticipated and when will they be produced.

B. Names of each researcher or educator involved with the project and their

1. academic qualifications;

2. duties with respect to the project; and

3. previous relevant projects and a list of published papers based on activities within protected areas.

C. From the following list, use a “v “ to select all potential adverse impacts of the proposed activity. Provide additional detail for all impacts selected, including proposed mitigation.

Adverse and permanent effects to:

conservation, recreation and/or cultural values

character and aesthetics of the protected area

Adverse effects to:

red/blue-listed species or ecosystems, species at risk, biogeoclimatic representation, etc

critical or geographically unique characteristics

public health and safety

traditional use of the area by First Nations

local communities

recreational use or enjoyment of the protected area (regardless of the intended benefits of the proposed action)

Fees: Fees are not charged for research and education activities.

As required under Section 21 of the Park Act, the applicant agrees to pay the Province the costs incurred by the Province in surveying, cruising, examining and inspecting the area affected by the application; and


Signature of Applicant or Authorized Signatory of Applicants:___________________________


Send completed application and proposal description to:

Ministry of Water, Land and Air Protection Park Use Permits PO Box 9371 Stn Prov Govt Victoria BC V8W 9M3

For more information please call:

Enquiry BC 387.6121 (Victoria), 604.660.2421 (Metro Vancouver) or 1.800.663.7867

Detailed Proposal

Tidal Turbine Generator Replacing Diesel Generators at Race Rocks Ecological Reserve


  1. Purpose of the project

To develop, install and test tidal turbine generator technology used in conjunction with an electricity storage system to replace existing twin 15 kW diesel generators

  1. The turbine generator will be place in 12 metres of water between the main island of Great Race Rock and Middle Island. The location is called “Middle Passage”. The storage system will be located in the existing generator building on the main island of Great Race Rock.

  1. Scope and objectives of research


Produce sufficient energy to displace the existing diesel generation

Create a 3+ metre design directly scalable to 1.0 MW commercial unit.

Validate the design prior to the 1.0 MW program.

Demonstrate the operability and reliability of the unit


Demonstrate generator performance

Develop a control system to maximize power output at a given flow condition

Perform power conditioning based on site requirements


Validate blade and overall hydraulic performance

Quantify starting performance and cut-in speed


Determine deployment configuration

Demonstrate method of deployment

Develop periodic maintenance techniques and schedule


Perform material testing in areas of biofouling and corrosion resistance

Assess materials resistance to impact and erosion

  1. Proposed methodology

  • See 5

  1. Detailed Schedule

This schedule can be completed if permit approvals are obtained by September 1, 2004. Installation will be scheduled in September and October to avoid weather delays. Work will be done in advance whenever possible to avoid nesting seasons and other ecologically sensitive periods.

  1. Clean Current Power Systems will provide funding for the project. Clean Current will obtain its funding from Sale of Common Shares. Costs excluding administrative overhead are as follows:

Cost Items

Cost (CDN$)

Design Engineer (1)


Hydraulics/CFD Engineer (1)


Computer (2)


Software (CFD, Design, Analysis, Optimization)


Prototype Testing (Diffuser, Bearings)




Generator/Power Engineer (1)


Electrical/Mechanical Technician (1)


Computer (1)


Software (FE, Misc.)


Bench Testing


Life Testing




Turbine/Generator Assembly


Deployment Structure
Development (Consultant)


Site selection and analysis
Tidal resource assessment
System Design
Power Engineer or Consultant


Electrical & mechanical brake, starter motor, power control system, power conditioning, data acquisition system)


Assy and Installation


Power Storage (Battery)


Material Selection
Development (Consultant)


Component Testing
Environmental Studies/Approvals


Regulatory Approval


Testing Program
Pontoon Boat


Inspections/ Maintenance Plan


Equipment Spares




Sub Total


Rough Order of Magnitude Factor (20%)


Total Cost


  1. This proposal creates renewable energy to displace fossil fuels. The proposal conforms to Page 16 of the Race Rocks management plan for Facility Management


To showcase alternative, low impact technologies”

  1. No specimens will be collected.

  2. Existing buildings and conduits will be used wherever possible. One large hole will be drilled through bedrock to create a conduit for electrical cables (and system monitoring instrumentation) under water to about 3 feet above the high water mark. The purpose is to avoid shoreline turbulence and associated cable damage. Drilling one hole to place a post upon which the turbine generator will be mounted will disturb the bedrock in the middle of the passage.

  3. Scheduling will be used to avoid disturbing birds during nesting season. Consultations with marine biologists will be used to assess impact before deployment of the unit. Underwater cameras will be used to monitor the impact of the turbine generator on fish and ocean mammals.
  4. This will be the first free stream tidal turbine generator installed offshore in Canada and it will attract attention from commercial media. It is expected that Pearson College will publish studies of the ecological impact of this form of renewable energy.

Pearson College Input:

In keeping with our long term commitment to B.C. Parks the Marine Protected Area Initiative of DFO and the First nations to provide a level of stewardship for Xwayen, we would like to highly recommend this project.

The bottom line in our stewardship commitment is to keep the area ecologically sustainable and to ensure long term ecological integrity.

This proposal fills a serious need, the provision of low or no- impact technology for the generation of electricity to ensure our ability to operate in the reserve. We presently power the station and heat the residences with diesel fuel. The potential negative impact of this need on the ecology of the area could be enumerated as follows:

        1. The fuel is supplied to the island on a bi-monthly basis by staff of the college using the boat “ Second Nature” Although we operate under the strictest standards for this transfer, the possibility always exists that a technical problem with the boat, failure

of transfer pumps and hoses, or human error could lead to a serious ecological impact if fuel oil escaped the transfer system.

    • The loud noise caused by the diesel generators is an irritant and has possibly discouraged some marine mammals from hauling out in the area. Harbour seals haul out for birthing in higher numbers a distance away from this otherwise ideal location.

    • The aesthetics on the otherwise pristine environment of the island of the generator noise is a legitimate concern.

    • Five species of Marine birds nest on the island. The constant noise from the generators could be impacting negatively on behaviour: predator response capability, foraging and mating/nesting behaviour.

    • Fuel storage on the island is by double-hulled 1000-gallon tanks which currently meet the required environmental standards but which do have a life span and therefore will eventually need replacement. Also since there are probably no other parallel examples of such diesel oil storage in ecologically sensitive areas, it is doubtful whether existing standards are adequate.

    • The fuel storage tanks on the island are vulnerable in the event of earthquakes.

    • The severe weather that the area experiences on many days of the year and the high tidal currents ( up to 7 Knots) mean that containment of spilled oil by booms would probably be impossible, resulting in severe species loss in the intertidal zones of the islands.

The marine reserve at Race Rocks, power the research and education facility at Race Rocks with a technology that allows for minimum disruption to the ecological integrity and the long term sustainability we see this proposal as a welcome innovation .


Admin Report spring 2002

The New Landlord
Responsibility for Great Race Island has recently reverted back to the Province of British Columbia represented by BC Parks. The Coast Guard has officially turned all surplus buildings and facilities at Race Rocks over to BC Parks for use in support of education, research and the protection of the Marine Protected Area. Before transferring the assets, the Coast Guard completed extensive upgrades of the fuel systems, generators, buildings and other equipment including the large equipment hoist. The Coast Guard retains a small area of land around the historic light tower and responsibility for maintenance of the tower, operation of the light, fog signal and automated weather reporting system.

BC Parks has in turn entered into a 30 year agreement with Pearson College to designate responsibility to the College for the operation of the facilities, delivering education programs, supporting research and providing supervision for the Ecological Reserve and Marine Protected Area. We look forward to working closely with BC Parks to serve as custodians of this precious ecosystem on behalf of the people of British Columbia and Canada.

Community Support
We are fortunate to have strong support and co-operation from the many visitors to the MPA. We continue to work with the eco-tourism and scuba diving operators to ensure their operating guidelines are carefully followed while their many appreciative visitors have the opportunity to experience the remarkable diversity of Race Rocks. This kind of public education is an essential element of promoting public awareness of the value of the MPA initiative. We hope to work with the eco-tourism operators this year to encourage their customers to voluntarily contribute financial support for Race Rocks. We continue to have an excellent working relationship with the operators.

Sports fishers continue to honour their commitment to avoid fishing within the MPA boundary and we have had great cooperation from Sean and the staff at Pedder Bay Marina. DFO staff members have recently strengthened relationships with the local kayaking community as well.

We are also engaged in an effort with the Department of National Defence and DFO in an attempt to mitigate the impacts on the MPA as a consequence of DND activities at the nearby Rocky Point Base.

The Financial Picture
We continue to rely on our many supporters to sustain the operation of Race Rocks MPA and the website. We greatly appreciate the support of many of you who have made donations both large and small. Every donation helps and through the web we have made new donor friends all over the world. We particularly welcome as new supporters, the Ivey Foundation, World Wildlife Fund, Georgia Strait Alliance and a new technology sponsor, Channel Storm from Israel. Apple Canada, Apple Learning Interchange and Akamai continue to be generous and helpful supporters and advisors

Regrettably we are likely to end our fiscal year on June 30, 2002 with an operating shortfall of $27,000 on our budget. Pearson College has undertaken this debt on an interim basis. We are working closely with government agencies to stabilise the financial plan for long term sustainability of the MPA.
Garry and our students continue to develop extraordinary features for the MPA’s award winning website. The use of the site by students, teachers, science centres and cyber visitors from around the world has expanded considerably. Technology has proven to be an effective way to widely share Race Rocks and Canada’s Marine Protected Area strategy without negative impacts. Three of the most popular new resources on the website are the Archives, Daily Log and Race Rocks Taxonomy file features.

Video Archives
A great supplement to our live cameras (because you can be sure to find what you are looking for) is an extensive menu of special topic video clips that are being developed for the site. These are great classroom resources for teachers and on-line learning. Check them out at

Daily Log
Our resident eco-guardians, Mike and Carol Slater have done a great job of telling the Race Rocks story on the web at Everything from an elephant seal invasion, to the surprise hatching of our first Canada Geese chicks a few weeks ago have been faithfully recorded. Information in the Daily Log is also backed up by a data base that will allow us to recover data on various marine mammal and bird sightings as well as visitor and vessel traffic. Over the years this data is bound to be useful to researchers and resource managers.

Race Rocks Taxonomy File
This will be a long term project. Garry is determined that we create a truly innovative and accessable taxonomy file featuring all the species at Race Rocks and utilising the very best of what the web has to offer; video clips, photos, text and Internet links. With the guidance of Garry and our other Biology/Environmental Systems faculty members Catrin Brown and Laura Verhegge, the project is launched with 70 species files established this year. This work in progress is available on the web at

and Next………
We look forward to an interesting summer season. Throughout June we will have a team of students as guests at Race Rocks providing regular webcasts. Check the calendar for the schedule. We hope to raise the funds required to deal with our debt and a few important upgrades on the project. we urgently need to upgrade the sewage facilities on the island by installing composting toilets to eliminate discharge into the MPA there is a remarkable enhanced remote control camera with 360 degree rotation and a much more powerful zoom capability which we hope to acquire we hope to get data from the underwater sensors (which have run well for over a year) available to you on the website

Most of all, we look forward to your continued involvement and support for Race Rocks Marine Protected Area. Thank you for your support.

Angus Matthews
Director of Administration
and Special Projects
Pearson College/Race Rocks