I have just gotten back from my workshop in Tofino, BC., and I have sad ecological news. The tide pools that I have raved about, that I look forward to seeing and photographing so much are basically decimated. I saw none of the giant, colorful sea stars that the Pacific coast is so famous for and very little of the coexisting critters- eel grass, anemones, chitons all either absent or in bad shape.

The reason is that there is a pernicious disease called wasting disease that has wiped out 95% of the sea stars on Vancouver Island. Wasting disease is well established from southeast Alaska to California causing all west coast tide pools and the intertidal ecology to suffer. The exact cause of wasting disease is unknown- a virus is the most common explanation- and there are no solutions other then time and hope.

Makes you wonder how long humans can mess with the oceans and be oblivious to the damage. Oh, by the way, I also found out that the city of Victoria, BC, home of Bouchart Gardens and thousands of US tourists every year dumps their raw sewage directly into the ocean untreated. That’s right, all the sewage for a city of almost 80,000 people is dumped into the ocean. What a hideous combination of arrogance and ignorance.