San Juan River Estuary Ecological Reserve Purpose Statement

Posted August 11, 2003 | Categories : 141,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 the use of motorized vehicles are prohibited.
Research and educational activities may be carried out but only under permit.
Primary Role    See the completePDF: sanjuanrv_ps
The primary role of San Juan River Estuary Ecological Reserve is to serve as a benchmark for
forest research and to protect early seral floodplain plant communities. This 79-hectare
ecological reserve protects a portion of one of the large river deltas on the southwest coast of
Vancouver Island.

Lontra canadensis pacifica , (River Otter ) Photo by Ryan Murphy

The reserve protects many sensitive plant species, including the (Mimulus dentatus) which is endangered (red-listed) and only occurs in British Columbia in Canada. The San Juan River is an important salmon spawning river on the west coast of Vancouver Island and the delta represents a special habitat that is used by black bears for feeding during the autumn salmon spawning run and by bald eagles, mink and river otters. This area also preserves important wild habitat for animals such as Roosevelt elk.
Management Issues
Known Management Issue
Limited knowledge of natural and cultural  values

  • Undertake field assessment of ecological reserve  including surveys for rare plant, special features and sensitive areas.
  • Inventory cultural values and traditional use activities in consultation with First Nations.
  • Assess reserve for historical homestead and agricultural activity.

Loss of rare species may be lost due to shifting
river banks, high water levels and log dams

  • Revisit the management of the log jams and the effect on the rare species. Place management  priority on rare plants as opposed to the log jams.

Uncertainty around the actual boundary and
implications of adjacent forest development

  • Define ecological reserve boundary through official plan process and provide forest companies  with information.

Impact of recreation use (camping, kayaking,  canoeing etc.) on ecological reserves values.

  •  Develop a monitoring program and work with warden, DFO and Fish and Wildlife Science and  Allocation staff to monitor recreational impacts.
  • Work with recreation groups to inform and educate about the ecological reserve and its  values and to achieve user compliance to protect  ecological values.

Role of the ecological reserve in the protected
areas system

  • Review status of the protected area as an ecological reserve or as a park (identified in  Capital Regional District Parks Master Plan).

Representation – ecosection

  • San Juan River Estuary Ecological Reserve contributes very minimally (0.03%) to the representation of the Windward Island Mountain Ecosection of which 17.42% is protected  provincially.

– biogeoclimatic subzone/variant

  • San Juan River Estuary Ecological Reserve contributes very minimally ( 0.02%) to the  representation of the CWHvm1 variant which is  under protected provincially at 7%.
  • San Juan River Estuary Ecological Reserve also contributes very minimally (0.04%) to the  representation of the CWHvh1 variant which has 19.34% protected provincially.

Special Features

  • Estuary habitat, log jams of significant size provide unique habitat complexes. Conservation Data Center classifies the site as high in rarity,  scarcity, and uniqueness.

Rare/Endangered Values

  • Red-listed: tooth-leaved monkey flower and paintbrush owl-clover.
  • Blue-listed Smith’s fairybells, angled bitter-cress, and nodding semaphore-grass.

Scientific/Research Opportunities

  • Estuarine ecology, plant surveys, amphibian/reptilian study potential