Checlesset Bay Ecological Reserve Purpose Statement
Ecological reserves are areas selected to preserve representative and special natural
ecosystems, plant and animal species, features and phenomena. The key goal of ecological
reserves is to contribute to the maintenance of biological diversity and the protection of genetic
materials. All consumptive resource uses and th e use of motorized vehicles are prohibited.
Research and educational activities may be carried out but only under permit.
See the full PDF with Management matrix: Checlesset_purpose-satement
The primary role of Checleset Bay Ecological Reserve is to protect a representative marine
ecosystem on the west coast of Vancouver Island. Over 98% of the area is marine, the rest
consists of approximately 40 islands from under 1 ha to 240 ha in size. It is the largest and
most diverse protected area of a littoral/marine environment in the province, and it makes the
largest contribution out of 28 protected areas to the overall representation of the Vancouver
Island Shelf Marine Ecosection, which has only 5.4% of its area protected.
The secondary role is to provide habitat for a high diversity of species, including the sea otter
and the northern sea lion. The ecological reserve contains a range of intertidal and subtidal reef
habitats that support an immense diversity and biomass of invertebrates and algae. The high
variety of marine habitats supports a high proportion of the fish species and marine mammals
that typically occur along the west coast of Vancouver Island such as gray whales, harbour
porpoises, harbour seals, northern fur seals, California sea lions, finfish, salmon, and
Checleset Bay Ecological Reserve also contains several seabird colonies and nesting sites.
Breeding birds include Leach’s storm-petrels, glaucous-winged gulls, pelagic cormorants, fork-
tailed storm-petrels, pigeon guillemots, black oystercatchers, and bald eagles. Land mammals
that occur on the Bunsby Group of islands include, but are not limited to, the dusky shrew,
Townsend’s vole, deer mouse, black bear and black-tailed deer. Band-tailed pigeons, ruffed
grouse, western toads, clouded salamanders, and northwestern garter snakes also occur.
The tertiary role is to protect and preserve significant cultural heritage features. Kyuquot
Sound has a colourful history with First Nations heritage and European exploration and
settlement. The ecological reserve is rich in First Nations archaeological sites that provide in an
understanding and appreciation of First Nation history and culture.
The quaternary role is to provide the opportunity for scientific research on the sea otter, a
nationally threatened species. The original purpose of the reserve was to provide high quality
marine habitat for a re-introduced population of sea otters to increase their range and
abundance. Such a refugia provides researchers an opportunity to study the mammals in their
natural habitat. With sufficient habitat, the sea otters may increase their range and abundance to the point that they are no longer endangered.