TRIAL ISLANDS Ecological Reserve Purpose Statement September 2003

Posted September 15, 2003 | Categories : 132,Human Disturbance,Management,Rare Species,Species List |


Ecological reserves are areas selected to preserve representative and special natural ecosystems,plantandanimalspecies,featuresandphenomena. Thekeygoalofecological 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. Landing on Trial Islands Ecological Reserve is restricted by permit to protect sensitive plants and ecosystems. Research and educational activities may be carried out but only under permit.

Primary Role
The primary role of Trial Islands Ecological Reserve is to protect the most outstanding known assemblage of rare and endangered plant species in British Columbia. Located just off the southern tip of Victoria in a turbulent part of Juan de Fuca Strait, this twenty-three-hectare ecological reserve protects two elongated rocky islands and associated islets. It protects the greatest number of endangered and vulnerable species in a single ecological reserve in British Columbia. Nationally significant wildflower habitat, carpets of great and common camas and other showy stands of spring wildflowers,and unique stands of wind-adapted Garry oaks cover the island. Endangered or threatened plants that occur on Trial Islands Ecological Reserve include but are not limited to the white-top aster, paintbrush owl-clover, golden paintbrush, creeping wild rye, rosy owl-clover, California buttercup, snake-root sanicle, purple sanicle, and Scouler’s campion. This is the most northern limit of their range for many of these species. Nine plant communities have been described, including the red-listed Garry oak-California brome association. A living museum of what the Victoria area must once have been like before colonization, this outstanding assemblage of rare species highlights the importance of maintaining protected areas . The ecological reserve has potential to serve as a seed bank for species re-introduction.

Trial Islands also serve as important roosting sites for cormorants, black oystercatchers, diving ducks, gulls, eagles, raptors, and shorebirds, as well as haul-out sites for sea lions and seals.

Management Issues

Known Management Issue


Impact from high visitor use (trampling etc.) due to the proximity to Victoria

  • ÿ  Continue to limit access by park use permit only and limit the number of permits to avoid impacts.
  • ÿ  Develop a public information strategy to make potential visitors aware of the sensitivity of the site and the need to seek permission.
  • ÿ  Work with the ecological reserve warden, lighthouse keeper, and interest groups to monitor level of use and impacts.

First Nations interest in the ecological reserve and the lack of knowledge of cultural values.

ÿ Continue to consult with First Nations to acquire knowledge on traditional use and cultural values associated with the ecological reserve.

Non conformi ng uses on the island

  • ÿ  Liaise with CFAX radio station to clean-up near the radio towers and to address fuel storage issues.
  • ÿ  Acquire the radio tower site from Land and Water British Columbia when it has been decommissioned.

Impacts on wildlife from marine wildlife viewing operators (marine contamination, vessel wash, animal disturbance)

ÿ Liaise with commercial operators and Fisheries and Oceans Canada to ensure regulatory compliance and protection of marine values.

Invasive species encroaching on the native plants.

ÿ Work with ecological reserve warden and other volunteers to remove invasive species.

ÿ Develop a vegetation management strategy.

Trail Islands Ecological Reserve supports more species of rare vascular plants than any known area of comparable size in the province. Many stands of showy spring wildflowers are present.

Red-listed species: seaside bird’s foot trefoil (Endangered by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) as it is one of two populations), golden indian paintbrush (Endangered by COSEWIC with few populations, Trial Island Ecological Reserve has the biggest one with 2,560 plants), snake-root sanicle (Sanicula arctopoides listed as Endangered by COSEWIC), white top aster (Threatened by COSEWIC), purple sanicle (Threatened by COSEWIC), creeping wild rye, dense-flowered lupine, paintbrush owl-clover, hairy owl-clover, rosy owl-clover, California buttercup, Carolina meadow foxtail, Scouler’s catchfly (COSEWIC Endangered), Garry oak / California brome plant association.

Blue-listed species: Spanish clover, beach sand spurry, chaffweed, Nuttall’s quillwort, Macoun’s meadow-foam, sand-dune sedge, western pearlwort, and Henderson’s checker-mallow. There are several more vascular plant s that are yellow -listed and in the conservation concern category (S3-S4).


See the full PDF: trial_ps