Tahsish River Ecological Reserve Purpose Statement March 2003

Posted March 5, 2003 | Categories : 119,Management,Reports |
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 PDT version: tahsishrv_ps
Primary Role
The primary role of Tahsish River Ecological Reserve is to preserve a nationally and
provincially significant unaltered west coast estuary. Most estuaries on Vancouver Island have
been severely disturbed by human activities, and this estuary is exceptional in that it is in a
pristine state and it is encompassed in a sizeable wilderness park (Tahsish Kwois Park) that
provides it complete protection.
This 70-hectare ecological reserve comprises the delta and estuary of the Tahsish River,
including a 12-hectare island in the middle of the river’s mouth, and all intertidal and subtidal
lands from mean high tide line to 10 fathoms. The estuary and associated island has a wide
variety of plant communities and productivity is high, and as a result has a diverse wildlife
population, some of which are of conservation concern. Plant communities vary from forest
cover dominated by Sitka spruce, to tidal meadows, to surf grass and algal communities.
Wildlife that utilize the ecological reserve include, but are not limited to, Roosevelt elk, deer,
black bears, bald eagles, harbour seals, river otters, shorebirds, Canada geese, trumpeter
swans and various duck species. The network of channels with various depths, flow
characteristics and substrates that occur in the estuary provides migrating, spawning and
particularly rearing habitat for fish such as chinook, chum, pink, sockeye, coho, cutthroat,
steelhead, and sculpins.
Management Issues
Known Management Issue
Proximity of Ecological Reserve to park,
results in trespass and access issues as well as recreation impacts.
¾ Increase public awareness — need boundary identification and interpretation information about the sensitivity of the areas and restrictions on access
and use. ¾ Develop a small primitive campsite close to the lowest reaches of the Tahsish River to focus recreation use away from the estuary. ¾ Clean up and restore user created campsites.
Impacts from poaching and nearby log salvaging ¾ Recruit an Volunteer Warden and develop a formal monitoring system.
Work with Conservation Officers to monitor harvesting and deter poaching.
Ensure log salvaging does not occur in the ecological reserve.
First Nation relations -Continue to develop a working relationship with First
Nations to reach a mutual understanding of
ecological reserve management interests.
– ecosection Tahsish River Ecological Reserve itself is too
small to be representative; however, when
considered as part of Tahsish Kwois Park, it is
part of a larger protected area that contributes
to ecosystem representation. Tahsish Kwois
Park is the 4th largest contributor (with 5.4 %) to
the representation of the Windward Island
Mountains Ecosection (WIM), which is well
represented in the protected areas system at
– biogeoclimatic subzone/variant Likewise, the ecological reserve itself is too
small to be representative, but when taken as part of Tahsish Kwois Park, it makes a small
contribution of around 1% to the representation of CWHvh1, which is a well-represented variant
with 19.3% of its area being protected.
Special Features Estuary, bear habitat, critical Roosevelt elk winter range, fisheries values, rare species Rare/Endangered Values Blue-listed cutthroat trout, Dolly Varden,
Roosevelt elk, trumpeter swan, Canada goose (subspecies occidentalis). Yellow-listed species
of conservation concern (S3-S4): bald eagle, river otter. Potential habitat for Olympia oyster
(Ostrea conchaphila) (listed as Special Concern by COSEWIC) and red-listed sea otter.
Scientific/Research Opportunities Estuarine and wildlife research
backcountry Not Applicable
destination Not Applicable
travel corridor Not Applicable
local recreation Not Applicable
Special Opportunities Not Applicable
Education/Interpretation Opportunities Wildlife viewing and cultural values; off and
onsite interpretation (park use permit holder
provides onsite interpretation)
Cultural Heritage
Representation Part of First Nation trade route. Traditional uses
such as subsistence hunting, fishing, food
gathering, botanical harvesting. Post-contact
exploration history.
Special Feature Archaeological sites: fish weir posts, village site
used during the salmon season in nearby IR 11
Other Management Considerations
Other Designations Not Applicable
Relationship to other PAs Part of a system of ecological reserves on
Vancouver Island. Encompassed in Tahsish
Kwois Park.
Co-operative Management
Arrangements Commercial fishery closure specific to the
ecological reserve: intertidal clams – harvesting
prohibited, First Nations and recreational
Vulnerability Ecological reserve values are vulnerable to
recreation use, poaching, and adjacent log
Relationship to other Strategies Marine Protected Areas Strategy
Area: 70 hectares (20 ha upland; 50 ha foreshore)
Date of establishment: May 12, 1988