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Baynes Sound (BC057)

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Baynes Sound (BC057)

Courtenay, British Columbia

Latitude 49.535°N
Longitude 124.812°W
Altitude 0m
Area 100.87km²

Site Description

Comox Valley IBA, Baynes Sound IBA and Lambert Channel/Hornby Island Waters IBA share common populations of waterbirds but were established as separate IBAs because they were nominated independently. In 2013, these sites were amalgamated into the K'omoks IBA; follow this link for current information for this area.

Baynes Sound is situated between the east coast of Vancouver Island and Denman Island in the Strait of Georgia in southwestern British Columbia. This site extends from Comox Harbour to Deep Bay and Mapleguard Point, approximately 30 km to the southeast. Chrome Island is situated off the southern point of Denman Island, and is included in the IBA. Baynes Sound is a shallow coastal channel fringed by protected bays, open foreshore, tidal estuaries, inshore marshes and adjacent forests. Comox Harbour, which bounds Baynes Sound on the northwest, is a large low gradient deltaic deposit. Together these protected waters and their many freshwater streams function as a single estuary. The shoreline, much of which is in a relatively natural condition, ranges from wide expanses of mud and sand flats to rocky shorelines overlooking deep water. The key habitats are a series of low gradient deltas, sand and gravel beaches, tidal flats, estuaries and foreshore. The Sound has several small bays that comprise the most important area in the province for oyster mariculture and support a shellfish industry. The surrounding land is a mixture of undeveloped second growth forest, areas of commercial pasture and cropland, small farms, urban and suburban development and light industry.

Birds

The Baynes Sound area is important for winter populations of waterbirds and shorebirds, and for summer-moulting seaducks. The presence of spawning herring during early spring is an important food source for many bird species occurring in the area. Continentally important numbers of Black Brant occur during spring migration. Western Grebe occurred at globally significant levels most years from 1975 to 1988, but has decreased in numbers since then. The area is also an important feeding area for Surf Scoter, Glaucous-winged Gull, Mew Gull, and Thayer's Gull.

Conservation Issues

Baynes Sound has long been recognized as an important area for waterbirds, salmon, herring and shellfish. The east coast of Vancouver Island has experienced rapid housing development in the past few years. The greatest threat to birds in Baynes Sound is the destruction or degradation of habitat (in particular coastal wetlands) by urban development. Runoff from sewage and suburban storm sewers threaten the water quality and disturbance from increased recreational activities also poses a threat to bird populations using the area.

A Conservation Plan was written.

IBA Criteria Habitats Land Uses Potential or Ongoing Threats Conservation Status
Iceland Gull (Thayer's)
Number Year Season
900 - 1,0002017Winter
1002016Fall
7772016Winter
150 - 1,3672015Winter
1002015Spring
120 - 3462014Winter
1222014Fall
5002014Spring
300 - 3392013Winter
2002013Fall
1002013Spring
2502012Spring
5182011Winter
1302011Fall
236 - 3172010Winter
2002010Spring
2362009Winter
135 - 6002008Spring
1022007Winter
2202006Spring
872005Winter
2692004Winter
8002004Spring
124 - 1,1692003Winter
922002Winter
2002002Spring
104 - 4502001Winter
97 - 2002001Spring
100 - 1,0002000Spring
1662000Winter
1,1042000Other
771999Winter
1111995Winter
1971994Winter
2601993Winter
1201992Winter
2571981Winter
Western Grebe
Number Year Season
2002007Winter
15,1741983Winter
10,3561981Winter
Brant
Number Year Season
15,5012012Spring
2,0002009Spring
5,2911981Spring
Surf Scoter
Number Year Season
25,0002010Spring
15,000 - 15,9272003Spring
Black Turnstone
Number Year Season
3352007Winter
1,0002004Fall
3,0931981Winter
Glaucous-winged Gull
Number Year Season
9,0252017Spring
7,2802013Spring
15,0002010Spring
7,0002004Spring
8,0002001Spring
6,2501981Winter
Black Oystercatcher
Number Year Season
1782015Winter
1922014Winter
1542013Winter
1002011Winter
1672010Winter
1182009Winter
1122007Winter
882006Winter
782005Winter
812004Winter
791995Winter
Marbled Murrelet
Number Year Season
482008Spring
501981Other
Mew Gull
Number Year Season
6,0252017Spring
1,3632006Spring
9,0002001Spring
11,8442001Other
1,2561981Other
Red-necked Grebe
Number Year Season
368 - 4002016Fall
358 - 5502013Fall
6012007Fall
Heermann's Gull
Number Year Season
3352009Spring
612008Winter
352006Spring
Great Blue Heron
Number Year Season
352007Winter
352006Winter
351999Spring
351999Winter
351998Spring
351998Winter
351994Winter
1361981Summer
Waterbirds
Number Year Season
41,3362010Winter
12,1851981Winter
Greater Scaup
Number Year Season
5,0002010Spring
Trumpeter Swan
Number Year Season
2792014Winter
1622007Winter
1791981Winter