Reef Island Wildlife Management Area
About This Wildlife Management Area
Date Designated: July 15, 1988 (OIC 1353/88)
Purpose of Wildlife Management Area: Management of habitat for seabirds and marine mammals.
Size: 250 hectares
Location and Maps
59 km southeast of Queen Charlotte City.
Nature and Culture
This WMA contains important nesting habitat for various seabird species including Fork-tailed Storm-Petrel, Glaucous-winged Gull, Pigeon Guillemot, Marbled Murrelets, Ancient Murrelet and Cassin's Auklet. Other notable bird species that utilize the area include Bald Eagle, rare Peregrine Falcon, Black Oystercatcher, Common Raven and Northwest Crow. Sitka Deer and River Otter have been seen, and there are haulouts for marine mammals such as Stellar Sea Lions and California Sea Lions.
Physiography, Climate And Vegetation
The south side of Reef Island is an almost continuous band of cliffs cut by a few steep, grassy and mossy slopes with separated knolls and pinnacles rising from the lower reaches. The north side of the island has fewer cliffs; steep slopes rise directly from the shore. In the wet and windy climate, Sitka Spruce is the dominant overstory, with Hemlock and Cedar dominating in some interior locations and Lodgepole Pine dominating a few south-facing clifftops. Reef Island hosts the highest number of vascular plant species found on the islands in Laskeek Bay, 135 of the total 171 species found. This diversity is due to a small valley on the south coast of the island which acts as a refugia from deer browsing. This valley supports luxuriant stands of Red Elderberry, Thimbleberry, Cow Parsley, Siberian Miner’s Lettuce, Red Columbine and Fringecup. The potato Solanum tuberosum is also found here, which was almost certainly introduced for cultivation by the Haida. There is other evidence of historical First Nations occupation but it has not been specifically mapped.
Compatible Resource And Recreation Uses
There is currently a permit allowing scientific research in the WMA on seabirds, forest birds, vegetation and wildlife. The researchers are authorized to build and maintain cabins and tent sites for accommodation and mark and maintain research trails. Reef Island is not easily accessed, but is visited for wildlife viewing, education and research by other scientists, tourists and community leaders.