Kevin Hossack of Team Good People adds to his pile as Jennifer Lawson and Bruce Cates look on during a clean-up of Japanese sargassum at Maple Bay on Sunday, July 25.
Lawson organized the event to help prevent the spread of the invasive species in the bay.
Lawson, an internationally recognized artist who lives in the area, said the invasive weed called Japanese sargassum has been spreading through Maple Bay for the past several years and has now arrived at the far end of Sansum Narrows.
She said sargassum is very tall and aggressive and, at low tide, it lays across the top of the water looking “brown and ugly”.
Lawson said there are millions of seeds on every plant, and they are released and being spread through the bay with every wave, tide and paddle stroke, covering more of the bay every year.
“We fear that the bay may be headed to being mono-culture, in which the sargassum will wipe out all the beautiful diversity of species we have here,” she said in the run-up to the event. “The heat this summer has helped the sargassum spread in the bay more rapidly than before.”
Originally from Japan, it is thought the sargassum gained worldwide distribution on ships and other means.
On North America’s west coast, sargassum currently has a range stretching from Campbell River to Baja, California.