West Ballenas Island
West Ballenas Island, BC
Bruce Trail Conservancy – 2019
MapleCross worked with the BC Parks Foundation to protect West Ballenas Island — an undeveloped 40-hectare island gem floating in the Salish Sea – one of BC’s most threatened environments. Listed as one of the top ten most biodiverse sites in the Gulf Islands, West Ballenas is home to abundant bird populations, rare plants, threatened species, and marine life. Its stunning beauty and endangered plant and animal communities – as well as private ownership and threat of development – made it a perfect candidate for protection.
Some of the features that make West Ballenas a great conservation success are:
- Recognized by the Conservation Data Centre as one of the ten most biodiverse sites in the Gulf Islands with coastal bluff and coastal woodland sensitive ecosystems
- Home to red-listed Garry Oak-Arbutus community and a rare Shore Pine-Cladina-Kinnnikinnickplant community as well as blue-listed species
- Contains the endangered species Water-plantain buttercup, one of only two locations in British Columbia
- As an island, the property is virtually undisturbed by grazing and other human impacts
- Foreshore serves as winter haul out for California and Northern Sea Lions
- Adjacent to Federal Fisheries and Oceans’ Rockfish Conservation Area
- Surrounding waters support rafts of diving sea birds, orcas and other marine mammals; the passage between the two Ballenas islands contains eelgrass beds.
It is surrounded by neighbouring islands in the Winchelsea Archipelago. Protecting it may one day be the catalyst for creating a new marine park including the nearby 18 islands that have some of BC’s rarest and most threatened biodiversity, while offering easy access for low-impact public use by boaters and kayakers.
Content and property pictures courtesy of: BC Parks Foundation at bcparksfoundation.ca