EZ-ID Guides

Our beaches are absolute treasures!

The Salish Sea* is home to an amazing variety of species. Three factors: salinity, energy from wind and waves, and substrate determine the plant and animal complement of marine habitats (and human intervention can play a part in altering any one of them). A shoreline tour of the Salish Sea will reveal habitats with almost every conceivable combination of these.  From marine high energy rocky beaches along the Strait of Juan de Fuca and the San Juan Archipelago to long sandy spits and quiet protected estuarine lagoons, a beachcomber can't help but encounter hundreds of invertebrate, fish, and seaweed species, each settled into its own niche.

Nitrogen rich water from the Pacific, entering the Salish Sea through the Strait of Juan de Fuca, provides the nutrient base for the formation of new marine life. In the spring, when the hours of daylight increase, photosynthesizing phytoplankton "bloom", setting off a reproduction explosion that works its way through the entire marine food web.  Soon the Salish Sea is teeming with new invertebrate and fish life.

Very old life exists in the Salish Sea as well. Some of our invertebrate species live well over 100 years. As you explore this beautiful and fascinating shoreline, tread carefully and respect the animal life you encounter. Follow the links at left or right to the EZ-ID Guides for animals, seaweeds, sea grasses and shore plants. Take the time to look and learn. We think you'll be amazed!

*The Salish Sea encompasses Puget Sound, the Straits of Georgia, and the Straits of Juan de Fuca. Its waters are shared by British Columbia, Canada & Washington State. The name honors the Coastal Salish Peoples who historically inhabited this coastline. (See MAP).

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Last updated October 2007

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