Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Iona Beach

Iona Beach lies at the northwestern corner of Sea Island, near the northern edge of the Fraser River Delta and just north of the runways at Vancouver International (YVR).

It lies in the acute angle formed by two long jetties that open westward onto the Strait of Georgia. The northern of these trains the northernmost distributary of the Fraser; the southern contains two giant pipes that route Vancouver's sewage into the Strait of Georgia.

AERIAL VIEW (Google Maps)

The low tide beach at Iona is mucky, probably consisting of fine-grained suspended sediments from the Fraser.  Small runnels drain perpendicular to the beach, cutting miniature canyons into the more cohesive silts and muds.

The upper beach is sandy (no source of gravel here, except for whatever washes out from the riprap jetties) and there's a broad backshore that appears to be accreting (as its back edge gets overtaken by Scot's Broom).

In looking at the aerial image (but lacking any more careful research), it looks like dredged material from the north arm may be placed along the north jetty and that this material is then transported southeastward towards Iona Beach as a series of spits.

On this Saturday morning, the main attraction of this place seemed to be for cycling teams, bird watchers, and a couple of airplane buffs.

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