Re: Prehistoric Glass Sponge Reefs Preserved, April 15 news story.
I was pleased to read your coverage of the Howe Sound glass sponge reefs and of the recent announcement by the B.C. government to extend Halkett Bay Marine Provincial Park to include significant glass sponge gardens off the southeast corner of Gambier Island.
As someone who was involved in the Halkett Park effort, I feel it necessary to point out that there is a lot more to this story than your article acknowledges. While our MLA Jordan Sturdy absolutely deserves the credit he is given, to reduce the boundary changes to simply “representing scientists’ concerns on the political stage,” is shortchanging some heroic work done by two citizen scientists who live in Howe Sound and whose passion and tenacity brought all of this into being.
Glen Dennison lives in Lions Bay, works in Vancouver, and has spent virtually every weekend for over three decades, mapping, diving, studying and protecting the glass sponges in Howe Sound. Adam Taylor is a fifth generation Bowen Islander who also works all week before spending a ton of time diving in Howe Sound. Like Glen, Adam has been an amazing voice, teaching so many of us about the importance of these prehistoric and fragile glass sponge systems, both as habitat and as providers of significant filtration. And as Adam and Glen constantly remind us, Howe Sound is the only place in the world where glass sponge reefs and gardens are shallow enough to be reached by air diving.
Two years ago, these two men decided to approach BC Parks about extending the Halkett Park boundary. They mobilized a large circle of partners to help push the idea forward. They gathered support from Squamish First Nations, the David Suzuki Foundation, local conservancies, marine organizations, consulting park planners, etc. as well as pushing hard at the political process.
They ramped up their ongoing education of all the involved parties, and through their focus and persistence, were the key drivers to this successful outcome.
So while scientists’ concerns were certainly heard, this day is much more about the success of high-quality citizen science. Thank you Glen and Adam.
Howe Sound campaign lead, The David Suzuki Foundation
What are your thoughts? Send us a letter via email by clicking here or post a comment below.