Beresford Island ER Purpose Statement
Beresford Island Ecological Reserve is closed to the public to protect the nesting birds and their habitat.
Primary Role The primary role of Beresford Island Ecological Reserve is to protect internationally important nesting sites and terrestrial habitat for breeding birds, many of which are rare and endangered. Together with Triangle Island Ecological Reserve and Sartine Island Ecological Reserve, it represents the most important seabird area in Pacific Canada. This highly productive marine region off the northern tip of Vancouver Island is home to an estimated 55% of the world’s population of Cassin’s auklet. Other migratory seabirds, including tufted puffins, glaucous- winged gulls, pelagic cormorants, black oystercatchers, pigeon guillemots, petrels, albatross and shearwaters utilize the area for critical breeding, nesting, and marine foraging habitat. Given the sensitive nature of seabird nesting sites, this ecological reserve has been closed to the public.
In addition to being important to seabirds, the island supports an endemic race of deer mouse and haul-out sites for the endangered northern sea lion.
Secondary Role The secondary role is to protect special natural values and features. Extreme weather conditions, isolation, and the physical environment have created an environment that supports plant communities which are both unique in composition and expression. Of the three outermost islands in the Scott Islands Group, Beresford is the only one which supports trees. These are old Sitka spruce, twisted by the elements. Red elderberry and black twinberry are the dominant shrubs, and tufted hairgrass is the most widespread herb. The blue-listed plant hairy goldfields is found in the ecological reserve, which is one of only 6 known occurrences in British Columbia. This plant is unique in that it requires rocky coastal cliffs in the lowland zone (Coastal Western Hemlock vh1), often nitrified from guano deposits and it is rare in southwest British Columbia.
Beresford Island contributes to the representation of the Vancouver Island Shelf Terrestrial Ecosection (VIS) which between Sartine, Beresford, Triangle, Lanz and Cox islands (collectively known as the Scott Islands), is almost entirely protected. These islands also contribute to the protection of the Vancouver Island Shelf Marine Ecosection (VIS), which is poorly represented in the protected areas system at 5.4%.