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K'omoks (BC272)

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K'omoks (BC272)

Comox, Colombie-Britannique

Latitude 49,624°N
Longitude 124,873°O
Altitude 0 - 200m
Superficie 560,73km²

Description du site

The K'omoks IBA, along the east-central coast of Vancouver Island near the city of Courtenay, is an extensive network of marine waters, estuaries, backshore areas and associated lowland valley bottoms. Inland lowlands are a mixture of agricultural areas and forested land. Forests are predominately Coastal Douglas-fir and Western Hemlock while some dry Garry Oak/Douglas-fir forest occupies drier sites. An extensive estuary ecosystem extends from K'omoks Estuary through Baynes Sound to Deep Bay and Mapleguard Point, approximately 30 km to the southeast. Baynes Sound is a shallow coastal channel fringed by protected bays, open foreshore, tidal estuaries and inshore marshes. The shoreline includes wide expanses of mud and sand flats, low gradient deltas and sand and gravel beaches. This area is the most important intertidal area in B.C. for oyster and shellfish aquaculture. Further offshore, Lambert Channel and the marine waters surrounding Hornby Island have mostly rocky shores and rocky headlands, that provide extensive feeding and resting areas for waterbirds, especially during herring spawn in late-winter and early-spring.

The K'omoks IBA is an amalgamation of the former Comox Valley IBA, Baynes Sound IBA and Lambert Channel/Hornby Island Waters IBA. These three IBAs share common populations of waterbirds but were established as separate IBAs because they were nominated independently; follow the links to access the original site information.

Oiseaux

This IBA is designated for four species at the global level: Trumpeter Swan, Harlequin Duck, Thayer's Gull, Glaucous-winged Gull; one species at the continental level: Mew Gull; and two species at the national level: Great Blue Heron and Peregrine Falcon. Continentally significant numbers of Waterbirds occur each year and, in some years, globally significant numbers have been recorded for Surf Scoter and Western Grebe and continentally significant numbers for White-winged Scoter and Red-necked Grebe.

The Comox Valley is notable for the numbers of Trumpeter Swan that over-winter there. Based on regular surveys, the numbers of swans increased to the late-1990s and have stabilized at an over-wintering (February) population of over 2,100 birds, with peak counts of over 2,900 birds. The swans arrive in late October and have mostly departed by early April. They feed on discarded vegetables or corn cobs, green forage between harvested corn, and seedlings of various winter cover crops, as well as native vegetation in the estuary.

Aggregations of Harlequin Duck gather at a few locations on the northeast side of Hornby Island during herring spawn. These aggregations can include 49-81% of the midwinter population of Harlequin Duck in the northern Strait of Georgia. An estimated 3,400-5,500 birds were present in 1996-2001. Aggregations occur in only a small fraction of the habitat area where spawn is available, indicating the importance of the site. During summer and early fall, the shores of Hornby Island are also a major roost site for moulting Harlequin Duck. Systematic surveys have not been conducted since 1996-2001, but regular shore-based counts indicate that the Harlequin Duck population appears to be stable (shore-based counts are lower than those obtained from a systematic survey).

Aggregations of 30,000-60,000 Waterbirds occur each year during herring spawn. About a third of those birds are waterfowl, including significant numbers of Surf Scoter and White-winged Scoter in some years, and about 60% are gulls, including significant numbers of Mew Gull, Thayer's Gull and Glaucous-winged Gull.

Historically, Western Grebe wintered here in globally significant numbers, with high counts ranging from 1345-4700 birds between 1978 and 1997. However, the numbers have declined steeply since then and only one count (2003) was close to the 1% global threshold. This significant decline has been noted throughout the Salish Sea (British Columbia and Washington); the reasons for the decline are not clear but may be related to a decrease in forage fish and a subsequent southerly shift in wintering areas.

Red-necked Grebe was recorded at continentally significant levels in early September 2007 and 2012. The Deep Bay area may be a significant fall moulting area for this species but more study is needed as there have been few comprehensive surveys at that time.

The IBA supports important numbers of three species determined to be Threatened or Special Concern by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC; wildlife species that have been assessed as at risk by COSEWIC may qualify for legal protection and recovery under Canada's Species at Risk Act). Great Blue Heron (fannini subspecies) (Special Concern, COSEWIC) has several colonies in the IBA (up to 100 individuals). Marbled Murrelet (Threatened, COSEWIC; and Endangered, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, IUCN) occurs regularly in the IBA most of the year (peak counts of at least 50-100 individuals). Peregrine Falcon (Special Concern, COSEWIC) winters regularly in the IBA and 1-2 pairs nest there.

Enjeux de conservation

The number of people living in the IBA has doubled over the past 20 years and is expected to continue to increase. Impacts associated with increased development, including discharges from sewage and suburban storm sewers, wetlands being filled in, and new housing developments and associated commercial/industrial areas reduces the amount, and degrades the quality, of habitat for Trumpeter Swan and other waterbirds. Loss of soil-based agriculture also reduces habitat available for swans. From 1992 to 2002, at least 5% of the sensitive ecosystems and over 29% of modified ecosystems such as older second growth forests and seasonally flooded agricultural fields were lost to other uses. Disturbance from increased recreational activities also poses a potential threat to bird populations using the area.

Many of the species using this IBA are dependent on herring spawn. Any activity that negatively impacts the herring spawn (e.g. reductions in water quality, foreshore development) could have significant impacts on the ability of this site to support a concentration of birds. The recent demand for expanded aquaculture development will need to continue to be evaluated carefully for its impact on birds.

There is limited legislated protection in place for the marine waters; the most significant is the marine extension to Helliwell Provincial Park. On the uplands, there is a National Wildlife Area and several Provincial and Regional Parks, mostly forested habitat. Several areas of upland habitat are owned or managed for wildlife conservation, especially for Trumpeter Swan and waterfowl, by Ducks Unlimited Canada and The Nature Trust of British Columbia. As well, the Comox Valley Waterfowl Management Project (Ducks Unlimited Canada and Canadian Wildlife Service) is a cooperative farm and wildlife extension program established to maintain wintering waterfowl populations in harmony with successful farming.

An IBA Conservation Plan was written for part of the IBA (2001), but needs to be updated. Specific conservation strategies will vary across the IBA to reflect differences in habitats and threats. The IBA is recognised in the Comox Valley Conservation Strategy (Nature Without Borders) and in some Official Community Plans.

Within the IBA, members of the Comox Valley Naturalists Society have been conducting standardised bird monitoring for five decades: Christmas Bird Counts since 1961, Spring Bird Counts since 1976, weekly Trumpeter Swan Counts since 1990, as well as other bird counts. Volunteers also have been collecting monthly counts for the British Columbia Coastal Waterbird Survey since 1999 and monthly surveys for the British Columbia Beached Bird Survey since 2002.

Catégories ZICO Habitats Usages Menaces Potencielles ou Existantes Status de Protection
Goéland arctique (thayeri)
Nombre Année Saison
802017Printemps
200 - 1 0002017Hiver
240 - 7772016Hiver
100 - 2202016Automne
136 - 4002016Printemps
300 - 1 3672015Hiver
150 - 2002015Automne
100 - 1 0002015Printemps
151 - 6002014Hiver
90 - 1402014Automne
850 - 2 0002014Printemps
195 - 3392013Hiver
200 - 3002013Automne
500 - 8002013Printemps
328 - 6702012Hiver
80 - 1052012Automne
200 - 5002012Printemps
129 - 5182011Hiver
86 - 3592011Automne
100 - 4002011Printemps
123 - 3172010Hiver
1502010Automne
200 - 5002010Printemps
120 - 2362009Hiver
105 - 3452009Automne
1502009Printemps
135 - 1 5012008Printemps
78 - 1272008Hiver
79 - 1192007Hiver
88 - 3502007Automne
300 - 2 0002007Printemps
100 - 2542006Hiver
150 - 2842006Printemps
87 - 1382005Hiver
1672005Automne
112 - 5002005Printemps
81 - 2692004Hiver
140 - 8002004Printemps
192 - 1 2002003Hiver
1172003Automne
111 - 4002003Printemps
922002Hiver
210 - 2252002Automne
200 - 2962002Printemps
104 - 4502001Hiver
1102001Automne
97 - 2602001Printemps
166 - 3592000Hiver
100 - 1 0002000Printemps
77 - 4961999Hiver
1181998Hiver
94 - 1111995Hiver
1971994Hiver
2601993Hiver
1201992Hiver
Cygne trompette
Nombre Année Saison
284 - 4302017Hiver
320 - 4502016Hiver
290 - 5782015Hiver
279 - 1 0912014Hiver
400 - 1 4652013Hiver
3002013Printemps
340 - 2 5502012Hiver
4002012Automne
407 - 2 2742011Hiver
310 - 2 1792010Hiver
360 - 6502010Automne
2602010Printemps
300 - 2 1192009Hiver
289 - 2 9062008Hiver
306 - 2 2562007Hiver
1 796 - 2 8042006Hiver
6002006Automne
481 - 2 3602005Hiver
461 - 1 4742004Hiver
910 - 2 9392003Hiver
400 - 1 1952002Hiver
400 - 1 5602001Hiver
270 - 1 9042000Hiver
1 2791999Hiver
315 - 1 2211998Hiver
1 4941997Hiver
1 0111995Hiver
8021994Hiver
7421993Hiver
1 0981992Hiver
4151991Hiver
7151990Hiver
Goéland à ailes grises
Nombre Année Saison
9 0252017Printemps
5 0002016Printemps
5 000 - 32 0002014Printemps
5 000 - 8 0002013Printemps
4 6972012Hiver
7 5482011Printemps
4 3632010Hiver
5 000 - 8 0002010Automne
4 300 - 45 0002010Printemps
5 6692006Printemps
4 3102005Hiver
6 914 - 6 9252004Hiver
7 0002004Printemps
9 2442003Hiver
6 8662002Hiver
8 5972001Hiver
8 0002001Printemps
5 6852000Hiver
6 3101997Hiver
7 5251995Hiver
4 5561994Hiver
4 4981991Hiver
Grèbe élégant
Nombre Année Saison
1 1202010Automne
6 3402005Hiver
1 000 - 1 1322003Automne
2 0002003Printemps
2 1221997Hiver
1 5161994Hiver
3 0811991Hiver
Bernache cravant
Nombre Année Saison
15 5012012Printemps
Macreuse à front blanc
Nombre Année Saison
8 0002016Printemps
6 000 - 8 0002015Printemps
5 9662014Hiver
11 0002014Printemps
11 4762012Printemps
25 0002010Printemps
6 5962009Printemps
5 9312005Printemps
15 0002003Printemps
Huîtrier de Bachman
Nombre Année Saison
1782015Hiver
1922014Hiver
1542013Hiver
1002011Hiver
1672010Hiver
1182009Hiver
1122007Hiver
882006Hiver
782005Hiver
812004Hiver
791995Hiver
Cormoran pélagique
Nombre Année Saison
9002017Hiver
Tournepierre noir
Nombre Année Saison
1 0002004Automne
1 0002002Automne
Guillemot marbré
Nombre Année Saison
5102016Printemps
822008Printemps
942006Printemps
43 - 602004Printemps
46 - 752003Printemps
442002Automne
Goéland cendré
Nombre Année Saison
6 0252017Printemps
2 5002016Printemps
2 500 - 4 0002013Printemps
4 2552008Printemps
2 800 - 4 1682007Printemps
2 9152006Printemps
3 3412004Printemps
2 5002003Printemps
2 990 - 9 0002001Printemps
Grèbe jougris
Nombre Année Saison
5002017Automne
368 - 4002016Automne
358 - 5502013Automne
5652012Automne
601 - 8222007Automne
4002005Printemps
3972004Automne
4092003Printemps
Macreuse brune
Nombre Année Saison
5 9942004Hiver
5 1672004Automne
5 0852003Printemps
5 0332003Hiver
Goéland de Heermann
Nombre Année Saison
1002014Automne
3352009Printemps
612008Hiver
352006Printemps
Grand Héron
Nombre Année Saison
37 - 552016Été
532015Hiver
442014Hiver
562012Printemps
682011Printemps
1022010Printemps
412009Hiver
492009Printemps
532008Printemps
462007Automne
382007Été
482007Printemps
35 - 442006Hiver
602005Hiver
45 - 762005Printemps
552004Hiver
55 - 632004Automne
46 - 942004Printemps
562003Hiver
542003Automne
38 - 842003Printemps
392002Hiver
552002Automne
732002Printemps
392001Hiver
442001Automne
35 - 611999Hiver
35 - 611998Hiver
561997Hiver
431995Hiver
34 - 351994Hiver
531993Hiver
861992Hiver
1061991Hiver
691990Hiver
Petit-duc des montagnes
Nombre Année Saison
12009Hiver
12004Hiver
12003Printemps
12001Hiver
12001Automne
12000Hiver
22000Printemps
21999Printemps
11999Hiver
21998Printemps
Oiseaux aquatiques
Nombre Année Saison
32 7412011Printemps
21 0662011Hiver
60 5372010Printemps
26 2322010Hiver
21 8122009Printemps
22 2622009Hiver
47 6842008Printemps
38 0972007Printemps
33 0542006Printemps
50 4572005Printemps
54 5712004Printemps
28 9532003Printemps
24 2962003Hiver
28 5182002Printemps
20 6042002Hiver
Fuligule milouinan
Nombre Année Saison
5 0002010Printemps
Bécasseau du ressac
Nombre Année Saison
5302015Printemps
6002014Hiver
6002013Hiver
6002012Automne
Goéland de Californie
Nombre Année Saison
5 0002016Printemps
Arlequin plongeur
Nombre Année Saison
1 4692007Printemps
1 4772006Printemps
1 0992005Printemps
1 5872004Printemps
1 0942003Printemps
1 2212002Printemps