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Rugged Coast research projects are intended to inform the public and stakeholders about the state of the BC coast nearshore environment and impact humankind is having on it. To date the focus has been on understanding the concentration and accumulation of plastic and styrofoam debris.

Current Project:

BC Coast Marine Debris Accumulation Assessment and Mapping

BC West Coast Mapping

01Objective #1

Map marine plastic accumulation locations along BC’s west coast.

Nanaimo BC Coastal Clean Up

02Objective #2

Determine the type and quantity of debris accumulating on the coast.

West Coast Debris Removal

03Objective #3

Prioritize macro plastic removal locations.  Clean-up/ removal priority will be given to sensitive and important habitats that contain a high concentration of plastic debris.

Debris Removal Rates

03Objective #4

Determine the rate of plastic accumulation on priority beaches. Ground surveys on priority beaches will occur post removal and an accumulation rate will be calculated.


Summer of 2017, RCRS completed shoreline surveys between Books Peninsula and Calvert Island. The survey results determined five main accumulation locations.

Summer of 2018, RCRS conducting surveys along Hesquait Peninsula and between Nootka Island and South Books Peninsula.

Summer of 2019, RCRS completed shoreline surveys between Port Hardy and Cape Scott.

Future Project:

BC Coast Suspended Micro Plastic Assessment and Mapping Project

Suspended Micro Plastic Mapping

01Objective #1

Map suspended micro plastic accumulation locations along BC’s west coast.

BC Micro Plastic Accumulation Mapping

02Objective #2

Determine the type and quantity of suspended micro plastic accumulating on the coast.

Micro Plastic Removal Techniques

03Objective #3

Prioritize areas to test suspended micro plastic removal techniques.

Microplastic Contamination Clean Up

03Objective #4

Inform seafood harvesters about potential areas contaminated with microplastics.