News/Reports

Up-dated map/brochure of BC’s Ecological Reserves

Posted October 6, 2012 | Categories : ER,Maps,News,Reports |

For many years, as part of their public education service, BC Parks provided a map brochure of BC’s Ecological Reserves (ERs).  Since that map went out of print ten years ago there has been a gap in public knowledge and understanding of the role and importance of Ecological Reserves as part of BCs protected areas system.

Happily, as part of the BC Parks Centennial Celebration (2011), BC Parks provided funds to the Friends of Ecological Reserves to up-date the information on ERs for extension purposes.  The new ERs map provides a summary of the diversity of ecosystems represented and protected in ERs, as well as the challenges for managing ERs. The map/ brochure also provides insights into the role the Ecological Reserves can play in understanding and sustaining  BC’s biological diversity.

This updated map maybe of interest to resource managers, natural research scientists, environmental educators and members of the general public who have an interest in natural resource conservation.  To view the map see below. To order copies visit the Friends of Ecological Reserves website, the option to purchase will be found at http://ecoreserves.bc.ca/get-involved/buy-ecoproducts/ . As a volunteer organization Friends of Ecological Reserves needs to cover shipping costs.  A single copy of a map/brochure is 4.50 plus an additional charge of 1.50 for shipping for a total of $6.00.  Larger orders of ten maps will be billed at a cost of $3.00/map plus a shipping of cost of $10.00. We can accept payment by Paypal on our web site.

Mike Fenger
President of Friends of Ecological Reserves.

This map/brochure was made possible with a grant from the BC Parks Community Legacy Fund. Click on the images below to get a full-sized (readable) image. If you want some of these brochures for educational purposes, contact the Friends of Ecological Reserves.

Brochure information: Since these are large files , they are split in half.

Order  the Map/Brochures from the “Buy Ecoproducts “Page

Left half of the map

 

Right side of the map

Text about BC’s Ecological reserves on the back side of the poster
Edited by Hans Roemer and Wynne Miles.
Messages for printed map. March 24 2012
Edited by Hans and Wynne.

List of Acronyms

1. BAFA Boreal Altai Fescue Alpine
2. BGCZ Biogeoclimatic Zone
3. BG Bunch Grass
4. BWBS Boreal Black and White Spruce
5. CDF Coastal Douglas-fir
6. CWH Coastal Western Hemlock
7. CMA Coast Mountain Heather Alpine () zone
8. ER Ecological Reserve
9. ESSF Engelmann Spruce and Subalpine fir Zone
10. ICH Interior Cedar Hemlock
11. IDF Interior Douglas-fir
12. IMA Interior Mountain Heather Alpine
13. MH Mountain Hemlock
14. MS Montane Spruce
15. PP Ponderosa Pine
16. SBS Sub Boreal Spruce
17. SBPS Sub Boreal Spruce Pine
18. SWB Spruce Willow Birch

Ecological Reserves of British Columbia
Tiny Gems of the Protected Area System

Ecological Reserves (ERs) are areas of crown land (public land ) with the strongest conservation designation with the British Columbia Protected Area system. All ecological reserves are established for scientific research and educational purposes to protect:
1. representative examples of British Columbia’s diverse ecosystems;
2. rare and endangered plants and animals in their natural habitat;
3. unique, rare or outstanding botanical, zoological or geological phenomena
4. Important genetic resources
5. Opportunities for research that could otherwise be lost
Ecological reserves are not for recreation purposes though public access is permitted See map for access restricted ERs.

Celebrate BCs rich diversity: Canada’s biological Gem

British Columbia is the most biological diverse section of Canada and is home to nationally and globally significant species and ecosystems. British Columbia’s diverse ecosystems support more than: 1,138 species of vertebrates including 488 bird species, 142 mammals, 18 reptiles, 22 amphibians, and 468 fish. The province also supports between 50,000 and 70,000 invertebrate species including 35,000 insect species, as well as more than 2,790 native species of vascular plants, 1,600 lichens, 1000 bryophytes, 10,000 species of fungi, and more. We have understanding of some of these species but lack knowledge of how many interact with each other and with us. (Source Biodiversity BC http://www.biodiversitybc.org/)

There were a total of 154 ecological reserves designated under the Ecological Reserves Act. Five were transferred to newly formed National Parks and one was transferred to Metro Vancouver Parks for management. Currently BC Parks protects 148 ecological reserves with help from volunteer wardens and Friends of Ecological Reserves (learn more about ecological reserves and friends visit http://ecoreserves.bc.ca/.

Marine ERs
Thirty three Ecological Reserves (ERs) have a component of marine within their boundaries. Some include adjacent sea floor within the reserve while others end at the tide line. One reserve, Satellite channel is entirely on the sea floor; however most of marine reserves are island homes for sea birds, sea mammals and sub-tidal marine life with the exception of Trial Island which protects small populations of a large number of rare plants.

Sea bird colony ERs
Nineteen of the ERs protect sea bird and sea mammal colonies. These colonies are on rugged windswept islets and provide safe places for large populations of Ancient Murrelet, Cassin’s Auklet, Rhinoceros Auklet, Tufted Puffin, Storm and Leech’s Petrel, and many more seabirds. Sea bird colonies are sensitive to human disturbance and all have access restrictions. Though the actual area in ERs associated with these islets is small, only 4700 ha spread over the 19 reserves, most of the reserves consist of numerous small islets which are critical nesting habitat to support the millions of BC’s sea birds. Some marine ERs include the foreshore (the adjacent ocean sea bed) which adds an additional 32000 ha to the ER system.

Marine ecosystems are dangerous places to do field research. Anne Vallee lost her life while conducting research on sea birds on Triangle Island, an ER that now bears her name. Robin Morton lost his life while studying orcas (killer whales) at the Robson Bight (Michael Bigg) ER.

Estuarine ERs where fresh meets salty
Estuary habitat is extremely productive compared to surrounding areas. Four reserves protect examples of unaltered estuary habitat; the estuaries of the Megin, Tahsish and Tsitika Rivers are protected in their entirety and a portion of the San Juan estuary is within an ER. The Megin ER estuary and Krajina ER estuaries are the only ERs linked to intact protected watersheds. Similar intact estuary and watersheds combinations occur within the protected areas system in the Kitlope and Khutzeymateen drainages, and to a lesser extent Klaskish which has had some logging, however these drainages do not have any portion as ecological reserve.

Endangered marine mammals and critical feature ERs.
The protection of Sea Otter and Killer Whale habitat is the primary purpose for Checleset and Robson Bight (Michael Bigg) reserves. Of all the marine reserves Checleset has the most foreshore protection with over 35000 hectares of ocean floor included in the reserve; just the way a Sea Otter would have planned it! Sea Otters were hunted to near extinction by the fur traders, sealers and first nations as part of the fur trade. As Sea Otters provide a pivotal role in marine ecosystems by feeding on sea urchins and protecting kelp forests their absence shifted the structure and productivity of these ecosystems. Sea otters were reintroduced in 1983 and their presence is now restoring the kelp forest ecosystems. Killer whales have traditionally used Robson Bight as a place to congregate and rub themselves on the beaches. Disturbance to this activity has decreased due the reserve status of this special place

Threats to Marine ER
Climate change. Ocean temperature increases affects currents, food webs and acidity impacting all marine species and their productivity. Increases in hypoxic zones (oxygen low zones) can lead to habitat compression and changes in trophic levels affecting all sea life. Invasive species and absence of keystone species can change entire ecosystems. ERs and monitoring can help understand trends and adaptation options.

Absence of Marine Protected Areas. A threat to all species within the marine Ecological Reserves group is an absence of protection of marine life as it is under federal not provincial control. Less than one percent of west coast marine ecosystems are protected at this time (2012) and within this tiny federally protected area “no take zones” are minor. There is federal commitment to expand the network of nationally designated marine areas to ten percent but no commitment to “no take zones or areas” within these. Absence of protection of feeding areas casts uncertainty on the longevity of the values protected in marine ERs especially sea bird colonies. Friends of Ecological Reserves supports inclusion of adjacent sub-tidal ecosystems and no take zones for all ERs with a marine component. Elements of a wider marine protected area network can be found at http://cpaws.org/uploads/mpa_overview.pdf.

Fish Nets, Over Fishing, Tankers, and Pollution. Threats to sea bird colonies come from activities in their feeding habitat; these include fishing nets (entanglement), overfishing, oil spills, ocean garbage (plastics) and oceanic pollution. Absence of protection of feeding areas (less than 1% of BC’s marine areas are protected) casts uncertainty on the longevity of marine sea bird colonies. Nest predation from introduced species such as rats and raccoons and human disturbance causing nest abandonment are threats to nest sites. The 1989 Nestucca Oil spill (named after the leaking vessel that spilled oil off the coast of Washington State) impacted every sea-bird ER on the west coast of Vancouver Island resulting in an estimated bird kill of between 30,000 – 60,000 birds. Decreasing tanker traffic near sea bird colonies could reduce this tanker spill threat.
Watersheds in poor condition.

Threats to estuaries result from cumulative impacts on the watershed as well as change to the actual estuary. Development in a watershed can affect peak and low flows, change the sediment and nutrient delivery and alter biological productivity. Cumulative impacts come from run of river and hydro dams, urban development, agriculture, dikes, mining, forest harvest, and roads that that alter both riparian, upland and estuary habitat. As most estuaries and their watersheds on the west coast are developed, ERs can provide benchmarks to understand the function of an estuary in its natural state.
Threats to Sea Mammals. Sea mammals are susceptible to human disturbance. Killer Whales are at the top of the food chain and are adversely affected by changes in their food sources (such as salmon) and fishing regulation. Killer Whales are also affected by pollutants from runoff from the land (e.g. chemicals used in agriculture) and by wastes dumped into the ocean which concentrates in these top predators. Killer Whale are impacted by noise pollution from ships, military training and pleasure boats as noise affects their ability to communicate

Land and Fresh Water Reserves
Mineral spring ERs
Five ERs protect both hot and cold mineral springs. Springs sites provide special habitats for rare flora and fauna adapted to this ecological niche. Springs also draw wildlife from the surrounding landscape to lick minerals precipitated at these sites. Spring sites and mineral deposits themselves are fragile and easily damaged.

The Grayling River east of Liard Hot Springs is nationally significant and the largest of hot spring ERs. It remains inaccessible by road and as do the mineral licks of Ospika Cones and Charlie Cole Creek ERs. Threats to mineral spring ERs include changes to the hydrology and ground water of the surrounding area, physical damage and site disturbance, and invasive species that compete with the rare spring flora.

Fresh and saline lakes, rare fish and bird colony ERs
A number of ERs such as Cecil, Columbia, Dry William, Brown, Torkelsen, Alezea, Ross and Lily Pad Lake ER are named after nearby lakes even though the lakes are not included in the ER. Other ERs are named for lakes included in their boundaries though these lakes are not their main feature, for example Gladys and Haley Lake ERs respectively protect habitat for Stone’s sheep and Vancouver Island marmot.

Mahoney and Soap Lake ERs protect rare and fragile saline lakes in a dry grassland environment. Other lake-named ERs protect island breeding colonies of rare Ring-billed Gulls and one supports a Herring Gull colony. Moose calve in one of these island reserves finding safety with the water birds. Two coastal lake ERs protect uniquely evolved stickleback fish populations. Four other lake ERs represent diverse aquatic ecosystems as well as portions of the surrounding plateau and one ER represents a boggy coastal lake. Numerous small lakes are protected within other ERs.

Threats to Lake ERs
Gulls form the inland bird colonies will abandon nests when disturbed. Two of the three inland bird colony ERs have access restrictions but an absence of public awareness and enforcement leaves these colonies vulnerable. Rare stickleback populations are threatened by illegal fishing, introduced species and changes in water quality and quantity from development in the surrounding catchment areas. Saline lakes are sensitive to changes in water quality and quantity due to grazing and disturbance of catchment land outside these small reserves boundaries. Illegal hunting, fishing, grazing, logging and introduced species affect indigenous flora and fauna in all the lake ERs. Grazing accelerates invasive species encroachment on all the interior ERs, thus potentially degrading them as benchmarks. Inability to consistently monitor and enforce restrictions leaves these ERs vulnerable.

Marsh, Bog and Wetland Centred ERs
Seepage, standing water and organic soils are common to many ERs but for fourteen ERs these wetter, water dominated, hygric ecosystems are the protected feature. Often some better drained upland forest is included in the ER as well. Two coastal hygric ERs are adjacent to valley bottom river floodplains. Two ERs protect rare wetlands of the Coastal Douglas Fir zone and one ER near Vancouver protects the rapidly disappearing hygric ecosystems of the lower mainland. Five interior ERs represent some of the hygric community diversity of the sub boreal forests. Two ERs, east of the Rocky Mountains represent northern boreal forests wetlands and one ER represents wetlands in the mid-elevation southern montane forest.

Threats to wetland, marsh and bog ERs
Small ERs which encompass only part of a drainage area can be impacted by changes to the water quality and quantity from grazing, tree harvest, hunting, trapping, fishing, and recreation activities in the adjacent portion of the drainage area. Similarly these activities directly impact ecosystems when unchecked within reserves.

Grassland ERs
Grassland and sparse forest (open savannah) cover a minor portion of BC. Seven ERs represent the desert-like sage communities and savannah-like ponderosa pine grasslands of the Okanagan and Thompson River valleys. One ER represents the grassland and interspersed aspen and fir stands of the dry cooler Chilcotin plateau. A single ER represents grassland within continuous sub boreal forest where grassland is restricted to often burned southerly slopes. Grasslands near Fort St John occupy similar aspects on the western edge of the Canadian prairie. Gladys Lake ER, the largest ER in BC, protects high elevation grasslands of the northern boreal forest and provides range for Stone’s sheep. ( or were you purposely not naming the ER to protect the sheep?)

Threats to Grassland ERs
Grassland communities are fragile, easy to damage and slow to recover. Only the remote northern grasslands of Gladys Lake ER are currently inaccessible and therefore free of invasive species impacts linked to roads and livestock grazing. However this area is vulnerable to illegal hunting and trapping due to a lack of monitoring. In comparison the southern grass land ERs are tiny remnants within highly altered landscapes. Species in small isolated ERs suffer from habitat fragmenttion and the cumulative impacts of urban and agricultural development, grazing, invasive plants, and fire suppression and subsequent forest encroachment.

Riparian Forest ERs
Riparian ecosystems are diverse, productive sites associated with floodplains along streams and rivers. While many of the larger ERs have inclusions of riparian ecosystems, eight smaller ERs (27 to 180 hectares) specifically represent riparian forests. Five of these ERs are alluvial cottonwood dominated forests on the Fraser, Skeena, Skagit, Squamish and Fort Nelson Rivers. The Nimpkish River ER is in a conifer dominated floodplain. The Vance Creek ER is a small riparian ER in a mid-elevation interior montane forest.

Threats to riparian ERs
One of the main threats to riparian ecosystems, especially those of small size, is due to the dynamic nature of floodplains which can with time result in a shift in location of the riverbanks and islands. Three of the riparian reserves are located on river islands. The management of adjacent forests and the condition of the entire watershed affects the integrity of riparian reserves. These reserves are often located in a single reach in a watershed and are susceptible to impacts from upstream activities. Some of Canada’s tallest Douglas fir trees within the Nimpkish Island ER became Canada’s longest wind thrown trees due in-part to the clear cutting of the adjacent landscape and the resultant wind exposure.

Alpine Reserves and Wildlife ERs
Above timber line there are three different types of alpine communities influenced primarily by snow pack. Eight ERs have a component of the Coastal Mountain-heather Alpine (CMA) commumity, five ERs have Boreal Altai Fescue Alpine (BAFA)communities and four ERs represent the drier Interior Mountain-heather Alpine (IMA) community. Northern BC supports most of the world’s Stone’s sheep population and Gladys Lake?the largest ER protects alpine grasslands for them. Vancouver Island Marmot are unique to Canada and habitat for them is protected in an alpine and subalpine forest ER.

Alpine and Subalpine ERs
Six ERs represent some of the diversity of BC’s three alpine climates.  Altogether 17 ERs include alpine or subalpine communities. Threats to these fragile ecosystems are from recreation, development and disturbance of plant and animal communities.

Rare Plant ERs
Eleven ERs exist explicitly to protect rare plants, though many other ERs also contain rare plants such as white phantom orchid (Cephalanthera austinae), white avalanche lily (Erythronium montanum), and Rhododenron species, all of which have very restricted distribution. Many rare plants are tiny and therefore easily overlooked and damaged. One rare plant ER is access restricted. Some of the threats to rare plant communities are: forest succession, invasive species, site disturbance by hikers and off road vehicles, and changes in stream flow. The absence of baseline inventory and monitoring in these and other ERs precludes the full assessment of impact on the communities.

Geologic feature ERs
Ecological reserves also protect unique geologic features such as the sand spit on Gwaii Haanas north beach, basalt lava columns in the central interior and fossil deposits. Fossil hunters are a threat at least to one reserve.

Representative forested ERs
BC is Canada’s most diodiversity rich province due to its’ diverse topography and climate (ranging through maritime, polar and desert). BC has forested ecosystems ranging from coastal maritime forests (CWH and MH zones), to northern boreal forests (BWBS and SWB zones), to inland rainforests (ICH and ESSF zones), low elevation dry forests (PP zone) and dry midelevation and subalpine forests (IDF, MS and ESSF zones), and to the cooler sub- boreal forests of the SBS, SBPS and ESSF zones) and cold northern boreal forests (BWBS and SWB). Most of BC is forested by nineteen conifer and nine deciduous species that occupy specific ecological niches resulting from the interplay of topography, climate, microclimate and disturbance. Eighteen biogeoclimatic zones (BGCZ) provide a framework to partition and understand the ecosystems of BC. As zones are named after the dominant vegetation, the fourteen forested zones are named after trees whose distribution most clearly represents climatic influences. ERs in mountainous topography can contain two or three BGCZ while small ERs or those on plateaus with little relief usually represent a single BGCZ. Representing this magnificent forest diversity is one of the ER system ongoing goals.

Coastal Maritime Forest ERs
The seven largest coastal ERs contain BGCZ common to the BC coast; the Coastal Western Hemlock zone (CWH) near tide water and the Mountain Hemlock zone (MH) just below the tree-less Coastal Mountain-heather Alpine zone (CMA). The two largest ERs begin at tide water and end in the alpine representing a type coastal fjord-land mountain elevational sequence. Yellow cedar stands are unique to the higher elevations. Five other ERs also represent this gradient but lack the tidal component. The more productive forest sites are poorly represented in ERs as they were logged, but may be present in other coastal Protected Areas.

Nine smaller ERs represent Sitka spruce, Douglas-fir and red cedar, hemlock and amabalis fir stands. One ER protects seed provenances where three BGCZs meet. One ER protects the most easterly Garry oak stand in BC and another protects the most westerly Douglas-fir stand. They range from 9 to 450 ha in size.

Coastal Mediterranean Climate Forest ERs.
The Coastal Douglas Fir zone (CDF) is the smallest, driest, most developed and least protected coastal zone. Four ERs specifically protect Garry oak ecosystems, one forest type in this zone and one of the most threatened ecosystems in Canada. In addition three? ERs protect second growth and older Douglas-fir stands that are found adjacent to two wetland ERs in this zone. ( do you mean ‘Second growth and older Douglas-fir stands are protected in ERs set up to protect wetlands in this zone’? Urban development, invasive species, absence of fire, recreation and site disturbance are threats to these small remaining fragments of the natural forest ecosystem.

Inland Rainforest ERs
The temperate inland cedar-hemlock rainforest of BC are globally unique. Seven percent of BC is inland rainforests in the Interior Cedar-Hemlock Zones (ICH) but less than 6% is protected. Twelve ERs have this unique rainforest with half the area in ERs in the Nass and Skeena drainages and the remainder of the area in seven smaller ERs in the Kootenay and Okanagan areas. Threats to inland rainforest ERs are from illegal logging shake cutting, wildlife poaching and trapping and the ability to enforce no take restrictions in ERs. The larger ERs also have spruce and subalpine fir stands at upper elevations.

Dry Ponderosa Pine Forest ERs
Ponderosa pine stands of the Ponderosa Pine (PP) zone occur at higher elevations above the Bunchgrass (BG) zone. These pine forests may have grassy understories unless fire suppression has allowed shrubs to dominate. Ponderosa Pine stands are rare in BC. Less than 1% of BC is in the PP zone but less than 1/10th of a percent is protected by 102 protected areas of which 10 small ERs make up 287 ha. Urban and agriculture expansion have fragmented these ecosystems and most mature stands have already been harvested. These tiny but precious remnants face threats from invasive species, fire suppression and grazing.

Dry Interior Douglas-fir, pine and spruce forest
Drier southern interior valleys transition from lower elevation forests (Interior Douglas-fir or IDF zone) to the mid elevation Montane Spruce (MS) Zone and the higher elevation Engelmann Spruce-Subalpine Fir forest (ESSF) zone. ERs include examples of stands of western larch, Douglas-fir, and three stands of lodge pole pine. Outside of ERs other protected areas may also have stands representative of these forests.

Cool Dry Sub-boreal Forest ERs
Thirteen ERs capture some of the diverse forest types of the central interior plateau from paper birch, aspen, Engelmann and white spruce stands to the most northerly Douglas-fir stand, the most vigorous tamarack stand west of the Rockies, as well as early seral burned forest, high quality pine, and subalpine fir stands. These are the forests of the interior plateau and SBS, SBPS and ESSF zones. Illegal logging, hunting and trapping are threats to these small ERs. As well their small size exposes them to blowdown when adjacent areas are logged, and an absence of replication (more than a single example) can be a threat to long term survival.

Cold dry Boreal forest ERs
Five ERs protect Engelmann spruce, aspen, early and late seral white spruce and subalpine fir stands of the most northerly forests(BWBS & SWB zones). Firewood cutting, wildlife disturbance ( what is this), hunting and trapping are all threats to the values in these northern forest reserves.

Threats to Terrestrial and Freshwater Ecosystems.
Climate change. This overriding influence affects all of BC ecosystems inside and outside of protected areas. “British Columbia’s biodiversity is globally significant because of its variety and integrity, but without immediate action it is vulnerable to rapid deterioration, especially in light of climate change.” This quote was taken from the government report “ Taking Nature’s Pulse: The Status of Biodiversity in British Columbia”, a comprehensive, science-based assessment of the current condition of biodiversity in British Columbia. http://www.biodiversitybc.org/EN/main/4571.html

Adequacy of Protected Areas and the ERs Network. The current protected areas in BC may not be sufficient to maintain BC’s biodiversity. Changes in temperature and precipitation most directly influence the wettest and driest ecosystems, the so called edaphically (soil) controlled sites, where climate change impacts may first be noted. Wetland ERs that do not include the entire drainage are at risk from change outside the ER’s boundary from forestry and grazing as well as illegal hunting, fishing, trapping, grazing and invasive non-native species. Lack of replication is another threat to the values in current ERs. The broader purpose of ERs is to protect BC’s biodiversity by preserving representative areas, thus allowing for scientific research to guide future management of ecosystems both in and outside protected areas???? .

Shortage of inventory, research and reporting. Unique ERs cannot be duplicated. However it is possible to represent widely occurring extensive ecosystem types (such as larch, birch, Douglas-fir and cedar stands)in more than a single benchmark ER to facilitate the study and comparison of their adaptation to future changing conditions.. Replication also helps protect diversity when single ERs are impacted by natural and human disturbances such as fire suppression and insects. It is unclear whether current protected areas provide an adequate network of connected habitats for species to migrate as a response to climate change. Further information is also needed to determine if practices outside of protected areas allow for this movement of species. Many species may be isolated and eventually lost, if changes are not made to address the connectivity issue.

Cumulative Impacts to biological diversity. Over the last 500 years cumulative losses of major indigenous species has been documented across North America. Shrinking large mammal and carnivore ranges mean that the roadless area shown on the ER map of BC provides the best remaining opportunities in North America to keep this megafauna diversity but only if there is adequate protection and research as well as limits on development in these remaining areas.

How did ERs originate?

Ecological reserves were established for the maintenance of biological diversity. Dr. Vladimir Krajina, a botany professor at the University of British Columbia, spearheaded awareness of ERs and upon his recommendation the BC legislature passed the ER Act in 1971. The early ER program also helped create new Parks but the vision to protect 1% of BC as an insurance policy for sustainable development has not yet been realized. BC crown land (public land) is 92 million hectares and the current ERs are 114,000 ha or a 1/1000th of a percent of the crownlands. The orginal ER system goal was to set aside 1% of BC as ERs. Parks in BC are currently 15% of crown lands and the ERs are a 1/10th of a percent of the Parks System a very small insurance policy. At risk is beautiful diverse BC.

Managing and Protecting Ecological Reserves
The management and protection of ecological reserves is the responsibility of BC Parks.
All consumptive resource uses, such as tree cutting, hunting, fishing, mining, domestic grazing, camping, lighting of fires and removing materials, plants or animals, and the use of motorized vehicles are prohibited in ecological reserves. Visitors to ecological reserves are asked to co-operate in caring for these areas and some reserves, notably seabird nesting colonies, are so sensitive that access is only allowed under ministerial permit.
BC Parks staff are assisted in the protection and management of ecological reserves by volunteer wardens. Wardens contribute their knowledge, enthusiasm for conservation and their natural history expertise to the protection of specific ecological reserves. The wardens serve an invaluable role in the long-term protection of British Columbia’s ecological reserves.

Research in ERs.

Research and education are goals in all ERs. A significant number of studies in marine ecology have taken place at the Anne Vallee, Race Rocks, Checleset Bay and Robson Bight ERs. Terrestrial and fresh water ecology research in ERs has concentrated on Gladys Lake, Haley Lake, Mount Maxwell, Haynes Lease, Drizzle Lake, Mahoney Lake, Westwick and Saturna Island reserves. Most reserves have yet to reveal their ecological secrets and most lack fundamental baseline inventory. In the 1970s understanding forest ecosystems was a primary reason for establishing ERs, however as yet forest research using ERs as study sites lags behind other biological ER studies. Major reorganization and down-sizing of BC government resource ministries has meant that more of the watch dog role of public lands is left to volunteers, and natural ecosystem study and monitoring is at an historic low. Support the FER and the ER wardens; visit the FER web site http://ecoreserves.bc.ca/

 

Ecological Reserves of British Columbia by ER number (as at April 2002)
Note: Ecological reserve numbers marked with * are closed to the public due to the sensitive nature of these areas. The closure at Robson Bight (Michael Bigg) Ecological Reserve covers the land component of the reserve only.
District

ER#

Name and Location Main Feature(s)

Size (ha)

STRATHCONA

1

* Cleland Island, Clayoquot Sound, W of Tofino Great diversity of seabird colonies

8

GARIBALDI-SUNSHINE COAST

2

East Redonda Island, N end of Georgia Strait Representative forest in three biogeoclimatic zones

6,212

THOMPSON RIVER

3

Soap Lake. S of Spences Bridge Alkaline lake, associated grass- land and Douglas-fir forest

884

STRATHCONA

4

Lasqueti Island, Strait of Georgia, N of Parksville Shoreline forest with large Rocky Mountain junipers

201

OKANAGAN

5

Lily Pad Lake, S of Lumby Undisturbed bog lake on plateau

101

OKANAGAN

6

Buck Hills Road, S of Lumby Small stand of mature western larch

16

OKANAGAN

7

Trout Creek, SSW of Summerland Ponderosa pine parkland

75

PEACE LIARD

8

Clayhurst, S of Clayhurst Eroding bluffs within Peace River parklands

316

SKEENA

9

Tow Hill, NE Graham Island Forested sand dunes and swamp and peat bogs

514

SKEENA

10

Rose Spit, NE point of Graham Island Sand spit, open dunes and shoreline meadows

170

STRATHCONA

11

* Sartine Island part of Scott Islands Seabird colonies

13

STRATHCONA

12

* Beresford Island, part of Scott Islands Seabird colonies

8

STRATHCONA

13

* Anne Vallee (Triangle Island), outermost of Scott Islands Largest seabird and sea lion colonies in the province

85

STRATHCONA

14

* Solander Island, W of Brooks Peninsula Seabird colonies

8

SOUTH VANCOUVER ISLAND

15

Saturna Island, southern ridge of Saturna Island Coastal Douglas-fir forest

131

SOUTH VANCOUVER ISLAND

16

Mount Tuam, Saltspring Island Arbutus / Douglas-fir forest

254

SOUTH VANCOUVER ISLAND

17

* Canoe Islets, near S end of Valdes Island Seabird colony

1

SOUTH VANCOUVER ISLAND

18

* Rose Islets, N of Reid Island Seabird colony

1

KOOTENAY

19

Mount Sabine, N of Canal Flats Mixed conifer forest

8

KOOTENAY

20

Columbia Lake, East side of Columbia Lake Rare limestone flora

32

LOWER MAINLAND

21

Skagit River Forest, Skagit Vailey Recreation Area Douglas-fir forest

73

LOWER MAINLAND

22

Ross Lake Skagit Valley Recreation Area Ponderosa pine in coastal Douglas-fir forest

61

CARIBOO-CHILCOTIN

23

* Moore/McKenny/Whitmore Islands, eastern Hecate Strait Diverse seabird colonies

73

STRATHCONA

24

* Baeria Rocks, Barkley Sound Seabird colonies and subtidal marine life

53

SKEENA

25

* Dewdney and Glide Islands, eastern Hecate Strait Variety of maritime bog, pond and scrub forest communities

3,845

KOOTENAY

26

Ram Creek, SE of Canal Flats Hotsprings and associated plants and burnt forest

121

OKANAGAN

27

Whipsaw Creek, SW of Princeton Douglas-fir and Ponderosa pine stands

32

GARIBALDI-SUNSHINE COAST

28

Ambrose Lake, Sechelt Peninsula Coastal bog lake

228

THOMPSON RIVER

29

Tranquille, W of Kamloops Ponderosa pine and sagebrush communities

235

OKANAGAN

30

Vance Creek, N of Lumby Highly diverse mixed conifer forest

49

KOOTENAY

31

Lew Creek E of Upper Arrow Lake Three biogeoclimatic zones in one drainage basin

815

KOOTENAY

32

Evans Lake, Valhalla Provincial Park Subalpine forests including a stand of rare yellow cedar

185

OKANAGAN

33

Field’s Lease. W of Osoyoos Lake Semi-arid shrub grassland communities

4

OKANAGAN

34

Big White Mountain. E of Kelowna Subalpine and alpine plant communities

951

CARIBOO-CHILCOTIN

35

Westwick Lake, S of Williams Lake Shoreline and area surrounding an interior saline lake

27

PRINCE GEORGE

36

Mackinnon Esker. NW of Prince George Long compound esker, well- developed lichen communities

583

SOUTH VANCOUVER ISLAND

37

Mount Maxwell, Saltspring Island Garry oak stand

65

PRINCE GEORGE

38

Takla Lake. E of Hazelton Most northerly known occurrence of Douglas-fir

263

PRINCE GEORGE

39

Sunbeam Creek, N of McBride Representative subalpine plant communities

511

STRATHCONA

40

Kingcome/Atlazi Rivers, near head of Kingcome Inlet Rich alluvial swamps, bogs and forest

414

PRINCE GEORGE

41

Tacheeda Lakes, N of Prince George Representative forest communities on the McGregor Plateau

526

THOMPSON RIVER

42

* Mara Meadows, E of Salmon Arm Unique calcareous fen, rare orchids

189

THOMPSON RIVER

43

Mount Griffin, N of Mabel Lake Interior cedar-hemlock and subalpine forest over wide elevational range

1,376

NATIONAL PARK RESERVE

44

Now part of Gwaii Haanas / South Moresby National Park Reserve
SKEENA

45

Viadimir J. Krajina (Port Chanal) W coast of Graham Island Virgin marine shoreline, forest, muskeg and alpine communities, rare mosses, large seabird colonies

9,834

PEACE LIARD

46

Sikanni Chief River, headwaters of Sikanni Chief River Engelmann spruce at northern extremity of range. subalpine lichens

2,401

PEACE LIARD

47

Parker Lake, W of Fort Nelson Extensive bog habitat with pitcher plant (Sarracenia purpurea)

259

LOWER MAINLAND

48

Bowen Island, W of Apodaca Provincial Park Various forest communities of Douglas fir; dry subzone of western hemlock zone

397

OKANAGAN

49

Kingfisher Creek. Hunters Range, ESE of Sicamous Representative flora of northern Monashee Mountains

1,441

PEACE LIARD

50

Cecil Lake, NE of Fort St. John Sphagnum bog community with black spruce

129

OKANAGAN

51

Browne Lake, E of Kelowna Marsh and forest rich in wildflowers

124

SKEENA

52

Drizzle Lake, SE of Masset Lake and surrounding bogs unique species of stickleback

837

CARIBOO-CHILCOTIN

53

Narcosli Lake, between Coglistiko and Baezaeko rivers Various wetland communities and a shallow lake

1,098

SOUTH VANCOUVER ISLAND

54

Nitinat Lake, E shore of Nitinat Lake Steep west coast forest; maritime population of Douglas-fir

79

CARIBOO-CHILCOTIN

55

Cardiff Mountain, W of Taseko River Example of lava plateau, basalt columns and crater lake

65

KOOTENAY

56

Goosegrass Creek, W of Columbia Reach, Kinbasket Lake An elevational sequence of three biogeoclimatic zones and a complete watershed

2,185

SKEENA

57

Chickens Neck, N of Dease Lake Climax stand of white spruce and subalpine fir

680

SKEENA

58

Blue / Dease Rivers, W of Lower Post Terrestrial and aquatic communities in the boreal white and black spruce zone

777

SKEENA

59

Ningunsaw River, SE of Bob Quinn Lake Coastal western hemlock zone near its northern limit and asso- ciated Englemann spruce-sub- alpine fir and alpine tundra zones

2,046

PRINCE GEORGE

60

Drywilliam Lake, S of Fraser Lake Excellent old growth stand of Douglas-fir

95

OKANAGAN

61

Upper Shuswap River, E of Mabel lake Excellent alluvia stands of western redcedar

70

PEACE LIARD

62

Fort Nelson River, N of Fort Nelson and Muskwa rivers White spruce within alluvial stands of black cottonwood

121

SKEENA

63

Skeena River. near mouth of Exchamsiks River Mature cottonwood on floodplain islands

91

CARIBOO-CHILCOTIN

64

Ilgachuz Range, N of Anahim Lake Volcanic mountain mass with various alpine vegetation communities

2,914

CARIBOO-CHILCOTIN

65

Chasm. N of Clinton Ponderosa pine at its northern limit

197

SOUTH VANCOUVER ISLAND

66

Ten Mile Point, Victoria Inter- and subtidal marine life  Rich subtidal marine life

11

SOUTH VANCOUVER ISLAND

67

Satellite Channel, N of Saanich Peninsula Rich subtidal marine life

343

SKEENA

68

Gladys Lake. Spatsizi Plateau Wilderness Provincial Park Stone sheep, mountain goats, caribou and their environment

48,560

GARIBALDI-SUNSHINE COAST

69

Baynes Island, Squamish River Undisturbed alluvial black collonwood forest

71

CARIBOO-CHILCOTIN

70

Mount Tinsdale. ESE of Barkerville Representative alpine and subalpine communities

419

PRINCE GEORGE

71

Blackwater Creek, NW of Mackenzie Boreal forest and portion of extensive low moor area

234

PRINCE GEORGE

72

Nechako River W of Prince George Southern occurrence of excellent tamarack stand

133

SKEENA

73

Torkelsen Lake. W of Babine Lake Low moor wetlands with cloudberry

182

LOWER MAINLAND

74

U.B.C. Endowment Lands, Pacific Spirit Park Second-growth Puget Sound lowland forest

90

STRATHCONA

75

Clanninick Creek, N of Kyuquot Exceptional old-growth Sitka spruce stand

37

LOWER MAINLAND

76

Fraser River, N of Chilliwack Serial alluvial cottonwood and willow forest

76

OKANAGAN

77

Campbell-Brown (Kalamalka Lake), SW of Vernon Ponderosa pine-bunchgrass site, rattlesnake den

107

PRINCE GEORGE

78

Meridian Road (Vanderhool). S of Vanderhoof Engelmann spruce-subalpine fir-lodgepole pine forest

262

PRINCE GEORGE

79

Chilako River, S of Vanderhoof Wetland and forest ecosystem mosaic

64

PEACE LIARD

80

Smith River, near junction with Liard River Representative boreal white and black spruce forest

1,326

SKEENA

81

Morice River, SW of Houstcn Burnt sub-boreal spruce forest

358

PRINCE GEORGE

82

Cinema Bog, NNE of Quesnel Lowland black spruce sphagnum bog

68

SOUTH VANCOUVER ISLAND

83

San Juan Ridge, E of Port Renfrew Protection of rare white avalanche lily (Erythronium montanum)

98

PRINCE GEORGE

84

Aleza Lake, NE of Prince George Representative sub-boreal forest. lakes and wetland ecosystems

242

PRINCE GEORGE

85

Patsuk Creek N of Mackenzie Paper birch and other seral forest species

554

PRINCE GEORGE

86

Bednesti Lake, W of Prince George Kettle lake wetland succession

139

PRINCE GEORGE

87

Heather Lake. NW of Mackenzie Excellent aspen-dominated ecosystems

235

THOMPSON RIVER

88

Skwaha Lake, N of Lytton Subalpine forest and variety of outstanding flower meadows

850

LOWER MAINLAND

89

Skagit River Cottoriwoods, Skagit Valley Recreation Area Excellent cottonwood stands

69

STRATHCONA

90

Sutton Pass, W of Port Alberni Rare adder’s tongue fern (Ophioglossum vulgatum)

3

PEACE LIARD

91

Raspberry Harbour, Willisten Lake NW of Finlay Forks Outstanding lodgepole pure stands and adjacent bogs

143

THOMPSON RIVER

92

Skihist, NE of Lytton Ungrazed Ponderosa pine-bunchgrass site

36

SKEENA

93

Lepas Bay, off NW corner of Graham Island Seabird colonies, mainly petrels

4

SOUTH VANCOUVER ISLAND

94

Oak Bay Islands, E of Victoria Natural meadow communities, rare plants, seabirds and marine life

211

NATIONAL PARK RESERVE

95

Now part of Gwaii Haanas / South Moresby National Park Reserve
NATIONAL PARK RESERVE

96

Now part of Gwaii Haanas / South Moresby National Park Reserve
SOUTH VANCOUVER ISLAND

97

Race Rocks SW of Victoria Outstanding marine community, sea lion haul-out, seabirds

220

LOWER MAINLAND

98

Chillivvack River S of Chilliwack Mature alluvial forest with large western red cedars, hybrid spruces

86

LOWER MAINLAND

99

Pitt Polder, S of Pitt Lake Two forested hills surrounded by swamp, fen and beg communities

88

OKANAGAN

100

Haynes’ Lease. N end of Osoyoos Lake Most arid ecosystem in Canada with numerous rare plants and animals

101

CARIBOO-CHILCOTIN

101

Doc English Bluff, SE of Williams Lake Limestone cliff with rare plant species, colony of vhite-throated swifts

52

SKEENA

102

Charlie Cole Creek, S of Teslin Lake Unique cone-shaped cold-water mineral springs used by ungulates as salt licks

162

CARIBOO-CHILCOTIN

103

Byers / Conroy / Harvey / Sinnett Islands, Hecate Strait, NW of Bella Bella Important seabird and marine mammal breeding areas

12,205

KOOTENAY

104

Gilnockie Creek, E of Kingsgate Mature western larch, seral lodgepole pine. small wetiand

58

STRATHCONA

105

Megin River, NW of Tofino Typical west coast alluvial and upland forests

50

LOWER MAINLAND

106

Skagit River Rhododendrons, Skagit Valley Recreation Area Two stands of Pacific rhododendrons (Rhododendron macrophyllum)

70

PEACE LIARD

107

Chunamon Creek, NE of Germanson Landing Two small drainages; Engelmann and white spruce forest

344

OKANAGAN

108

Cougar Canyon, E Side of Kalamalka Lake Mosaic of plant communities in- cluding wetlands in canyon setting

550

STRATHCONA

109

Checleset Bay, NW of Kyuquot Extensive area of marine shoreline reefs and islets providing habitat for B.C.’s prime sea otter population

35,650

THOMPSON RIVER

110

McOueen Creek, N of Kamloops Native grassland with many wildflowers

35

STRATHCONA

111

Robson Bight (Michael Bigg), Tsitika Valley, Johnston Strait Killer whales and a crucial part of their habitat; pristine estuary and forested slopes

1,715

SOUTH VANCOUVER ISLAND

112

Mount Tzuhalem, NW of Duncan Outstanding Garry oak vvoods with profusion of spring wildflowers, rare plants

18

SOUTH VANCOUVER ISLAND

113

Honeymoon Bay, Cowichan Lake Outstanding population of pink fawn lily (Erythronium revolutum)

8

SKEENA

114

Williams Creek. SE of Terrace Representative coastal western hemlock forest and outstanding terraced bogs

700

SKEENA

115

Gingieti Creek, upstream of mouth of the Nass River Undisturbed watershed in virgin coastal western hemlock forest

2,873

LOWER MAINLAND

116

Katherine Tye (Vedder Crossing), SE of Chilliwack Rare white phantom orchid (Cephalanthera austiniae) and its habitat

3

SOUTH VANCOUVER ISLAND

117

Haley Lake. SW of Nanaimo Population of endangered Vancouver Island marmots and their habitat

120

STRATHCONA

118

Nimpkish River N of Vernon Lake Some of Canada’s tallest Douglas-firs

18

STRATHCONA

119

Tahsish River, S of Port McNeill Pristine westcoast estuary

70

STRATHCONA

120

Duke of Edinburgh (Pine/Storm/Tree Islands) NW of Port Hardy Largest seabird nesting colony in Queen Charlotte Strait

660

SOUTH VANCOUVER ISLAND

121

Brackman Island. N of Sidney Pristine, ungrazed Gulf island vegetation and marine buffer

35

STRATHCONA

122

Tsitika Mountain, S of Port McNeill Alpine communities, wet subalpine forest. unusual terraced fen, and small lake

554

STRATHCONA

123

Mt. Derby, S of Port McNeill Alpine peak and precipitous, partly forested slopes

557

STRATHCONA

124

Tsitika River, S of Port McNeill Low elevation swamp / fen / bog complex

110

STRATHCONA

125

Mount Elliott, S of Port McNeill Representative subalpine subdrainage surrounding a lake

324

STRATHCONA

126

Claud Elliott Creek, NE Vancouver Island Representative hemlock, amabilis fir and redcedar forest

231

CARIBOO-CHILCOTIN

127

Big Creek, SW of Williams Lake Representative natural grasslands of Chilcotins

257

SOUTH VANCOUVER ISLAND

128

Galiano Island, N end of Galiano Island Rare undisturbed peat bog ecosystem in dry coastal Douglas-fir zone

30

STRATHCONA

129

Klaskish River. SW of Port A;ice Estuarv and alluvial forest in coastal western hemlock zone, native oysters

132

OKANAGAN

130

Mahoney Lake, S of Okanagan Falls Southern interior saline lake with unique limnological features of significance

29

LOWER MAINLAND

131

Stoyoma Creek, near Boston Bar Exceptional diversity of conifers and the juncture of three biogeoclimatic zones

76

SOUTH VANCOUVER ISLAND

132

Trial Islands, S of Oak Bay The most outstanding assemblage of rare and endangered plant species in B.C.

23

SKEENA

133

Gamble Creek, E of Prince Rupert North coastal forest/ bog complex and occurrence of amabilis fir near northern limit of its range

1,026

PRINCE GEORGE

134

Ellis Island. W of Vanderhoof on Fraser Lake inland breeding colony of herring and ring-billed gulls

1

SOUTH VANCOUVER ISLAND

135

Bowser, 15 km N of Parksville A high-productivity Douglas-fir forest with small inclusions of wetlands

116

SOUTH VANCOUVER ISLAND

136

Comox Lake Bluffs, 8 km SW of Courtenay Bluffs and shallow soils with an assemblage of regionally rare plants and communities

47

SOUTH VANCOUVER ISLAND

137

Hudson Rocks, 25 km N of Newcastle Island Nationally significant breeding colony of pelagic cormorants

50

SOUTH VANCOUVER ISLAND

138

Klanawa River, 20 km SE of Bainfield Floodplain Sitka spruce forest and largest population of rare redwood sorrel

90

SOUTH VANCOUVER ISLAND

139

Ladysmith Bog, 10 km S of Nanaimo Diverse CDF forest, fen and bog communities; rare plants associated with beaver ponds and small lakes

141

STRATHCONA

140

Misty Lake, 12 km NW of Port McNeill Small lake, one of three occurrences of the endemic giant black stickleback

55

STRATHCONA

141

San Juan River Estuary, 5 km NE of Port Renfrew Early seral floodplain plant communities; rare Tooth-leaved monkey-flower

79

STRATHCONA

142

Woodley Range, 2 km N of Ladysmith CDF forest, woodland and species-rich meadows on shallow soils; rare plants

166

KOOTENAY

143

Liumchen, 16 km S of Chilliwack Subalpine plant communities; interesting plant occurrences on limestone; spotted owl habitat

2,190

LOWER MAINLAND

144

Yale Garry Oaks, E of Yale Isolated stand of Garry oaks and associated vegetation

12

SKEENA

145

Burnt Cabin Bog, 15 km SE of Smithers Large wetland complex with a variety of bog, fen, swamp and shallow water habitats;.resident beaver and moose

670

SKEENA

146

Catherine Creek, 12 km SE of Hazelton Stand of large old growth western redcedar in the Moist Cool ICH subzone

45

PEACE LIARD

147

Grayling River Hot Springs, 67 km NE of Muncho Lake A series of hot springs on both sides of the Grayling River; tufa terraces, karst and caves, bats, and rare vegetation

1,421

PEACE LIARD

148

Kotcho Lake Islands, 100 km ENE of Fort Nelson Nesting colony of three species of gulls and other water birds on two flat islands; also important as migration stopover

64

PEACE LIARD

149

Portage Brule Rapids, 1 1 0 km SE of Watson Lake Hot springs formations on the banks of the Liard River; unusual vegetation including rare plants; BWBS forests on river terraces

724

PEACE LIARD

150

Rolla Canyon, near Dawson Creek Narrow canyon and site of rare fossils

43

SOUTH VANCOUVER ISLAND

151

Ballingall Islets, 7 km NNE of Ganges Nesting colony of glaucous-winged gulls, double-crested cormorants and pigeon guillemots

0.2

PEACE LIARD

152

Ospika Cones, 50 km ENE of the N end of Williston Lake Unique spring pools forming their own lime- stone dams, surrounding wetlands, forested slopes, subalpine and alpine habitats above

1,282

Total Area **

166,918

** Approximately 47,647 hectares of this total area covers marine waters.