Capital Regional District Harbours Ecological Inventory Pilot

Project Overview:
The Capital Regional District (CRD) of Greater Victoria recently sponsored a pilot project to investigate and determine accurate, economically efficient, and easily repeatable methodologies to update the outdated ecological inventory of the urban harbours. The objective of the ecological inventory and classification is to provide data and maps that can be used to inform land use decisions and direct protection and restoration efforts, as well as show change over time.

For the pilot, six test areas were selected in the urban harbours to investigate three remote imaging methodologies – multispectral satellite imagery; CRD orthophoto base map; and drone (UAV). Sites were chosen to represent the variety of coastal features, habitats and ‘ecological values’ classified in the previous inventory. Biological and physical features of the backshore land, intertidal and nearshore subtidal zones were included. Sites were visited on the ground during summer low tides and observations of physical and biological attributes, along with supporting photographs were mapped directly into high-resolution handheld geospatial data recorder. An additional module to trial automated supervised classification was also done. Suitability of the test classification methods were evaluated using systematic comparison.

In a multi-stakeholder user workshop, recommended methodologies were reviewed, and priority features and indicators were identified in the data. Results of the pilot and workshop helped inform the next steps in determining which methodologies are optimal to conduct an overall ecological inventory and on-line mapping product.