Protecting and enhancing the natural values of Salt Spring Island and its surrounding waters


Species at Risk

>>>Species at Risk
Species at Risk2016-12-13T10:35:59+00:00

Marbled Murrelet

Brachyramphus marmoratus [Threatened/Blue-listed] is a sensitive marine species because it nests only in old-growth trees. Largely nesting on the west coast of Vancouver Island, this species uses Salt Springs' waters for year-round foraging with highest numbers around Salt Spring from August to February. These marine foragers eat a variety of small fish like herring, capelin shiner perch and sandeels.


Mourning Phlegm

Lempholemma polyanthes [Blue-listed] This lichen has a small to spreading thallus, often over 2 cm in size, crustose, thin and membrane-like, sometimes ± lobate; upper surface: blackish or dark olive green, smooth or rough and appearing coarsely granulose...


Moss Elfin

Callophrys mossii mossii[Blue-listed] This is a small brownish butterfly with a coppery undersurface. The lower hind-wing has a white line separating an inner dark patch from an outer lighter patch. The butterfly is associated with warm dry Garry oak habitats. Adults sip nectar from the stonecrop plant Sedum spathulifolium on which they lay eggs and on which the larvae feed.


Northern Pygmy Owl

Glaucidium gnoma swarthi [Blue-listed] This small brownish-grey owl (less than 20 cm) has a white belly with dark streaks, white spots on the head, and two dark patches on the back of the neck that resemble eyes. The tail is relatively long. Food may include a wide variety of prey, including other birds, mice, voles, amphibians, snakes, and insects.


Northern Red-legged Frog

Rana aurora [special concern / blue-listed] The red-legged frog is found in southwestern British Columbia, Washigton, Oregon, and northern California. Its preferred habitat includes streams, ponds, marshes, and moist forests. Red-legged frogs range in colour from dark brown, olive, grey, to reddish and have black spots on the back. The skin on the underside of the legs and the belly is red.


Nuttall’s Quillwort

Isoetes nutallii [Blue-listed] More closely related to ferns than any of the tufted grasses it may superficially resemble, Nuttall’s quillwort likes the margins of shallow pools and flat spots in seeps that dry out in the summer.


Olive-sided Flycatcher

Contopus cooperi [threatened / blue listed] This relatively large flycatcher (18-20 cm) has a fairly large head, white centre of breast and grey-olive sides on its breast. The back and wings of the flycatcher are a darker brownish-grey, and the throat is white. Males and females have the same colouring, though males tend to be a bit larger in size.


Ozette Coralroot

Corallorhiza maculata var. ozettensis [Red-listed] Though this orchid’s existence in British Columbia was known for many years, it was only officially added to the provincial checklist in 2014 and considered rare.


Pacific Sideband

Monodenia fidelis [blue-listed] The Pacific sideband is one of the more conspicuous land snails that we have in our region. It can be seen on the surface of forest floors, sometimes in trees, and at the base of bigleaf maple trees or in leaf litter. It is found along the Pacific coast from Alaska to California.


Pacific Tarpaper

Collema furfuraceum [Blue-listed] Known on Salt Spring Island only from mature Garry oaks. It has a warty upper surface covered with fine granules and is, at least around the edges, tightly pressed to the bark.


Peacock Vinyl

Leptogium polycarpum [Special Concern/ Red-listed] This large vinyl resembles batwing vinyl (L. platynum) but grows in different habitat favouring mossy trunks and branches of maple, arbutus and even occasionally Garry oaks.


Phantom Orchid

Cephalanthera austiniae [Threatened / Red-listed] This striking orchid completely lacks chlorophyll and instead makes it’s living sharing nutrients with fungi that break down organic matter.


Pitted Beard

Usnea cavernosa [Blue-listed] It is found throughout boreal forest in mountainous regions across Western North America but is considered rare in the Pacific Northwest.


Powdered Rockfrog

Dermatocarpon leptophyllodes [Blue-listed] A foliose or leaf lichen in the Parmeliaceae family that is found only on coastal rocks. It is a pale greenish colour with tiny leaf-like lobes that are no more than 0.4mm wide. It has a lower surface that can be somewhat shiny and can look leathery with a dusting of black spots. It occurs in Western North America, Northern Europe, Asia and Southern Africa.


Poison Oak

Toxicodendron diversilobum [Blue-listed] A good rare plant to recognize so you can avoid it! Poison oak causes an itchy rash upon contact that is even worse than its close relative poison ivy.


Propertius Duskywing Butterfly

Erynnis propertius [Blue-listed] The caterpillars of these swift-flying gray-brown speckled butterflies feed exclusively on Garry oak leaves and the pupae inhabit the leaf litter on the ground. Adults feed on the nectar of flowers typical of Garry oak woodlands.


Peregrine Falcon

Falco peregrinus anatum [special concern / red-listed] This-crow-sized bird has a bluish-gray back, barred chest, black wedge under the eye, and long pointed wings, V-shaped in flight. Falcons nest on cliff ledges, especially near wetlands. Stewardship involves protection of nesting habitat from disturbance, and avoiding use of pesticides. The construction of elevated nest platforms has resulted in successful falcon occupancy in some areas.


Poverty Clover

Trifolium depauperatum var. depauperatum [Blue-listed] The strongly inflated flowers distinguish it from our other annual clovers that grow in wet areas and give the plant another common name, balloon clover.


Purple Martin

Progne subis [blue-listed] The purple martin is the largest swallow in North America, reaching between 17-20 cm long. Males are iridescent purple-black, while females and immature birds are dark on the upper side and paler on the under side. They feed on exclusively on insects. Martins are colonial nesters, having up to several dozen pairs in a breeding colony at times.


Rigid Apple Moss

Bartramia stricta [Endangered / Red-listed] This rare apple moss is known from less than ten locations on Southern Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands. On Salt Spring Island it occurs in two locations, among Garry oaks on seepy outcrops.


Sand Lacepod

Thysanocarpus curvipes [Blue-listed] At the northern extent of its range in BC, this annual mustard is known from a dozen sites on southern Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands.


Seaside Juniper

Juniperus maritima [Blue-list] This cryptic shrub was only recently described in 2007 and previously thought to be a coastal race of Rocky Mountain juniper.


Silver-rimmed Crackers

Fuscopannaria pacifica [Blue-listed] Although this species has a broad range along the Pacific Coast and occurs on many different kinds of trees, locally it’s restricted almost exclusively to old arbutus trunks.



Idahoa scapigera [Blue-listed] One of our earliest flowering plants with small white blooms in February, it’s easier seen later in the spring when the large circular pods develop.


Scarletback Taildropper

Prophysaon vanattae [blue-listed] TThis terrestrial slug is approximately 25-40 mm long. Its colour can vary. Its sides are usually grey-buff, whereas the back varies from whitish buff, blue-grey to red. It is found in mixed woodland forests.


Sharp-tailed Snake

Contia tenuis [Endangered / red-listed] This is a small snake, usually reddish-brown, with a thorn-like tip on the tail, a dark stipe across each eye, and black-and-white barring on the underside. When disturbed, the snake may burrow downward rather than slither away. This snake has been found in open areas, forest edges, roadsides, arbutus-oak-Douglas-fir woodlands, and south-facing rocky slopes.


Slimleaf Onion

Allium amplectens [Blue-listed] At the northern extent of its range, this showy onion is known from scattered sites on South Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands and Sunshine Coast.


Sooty Grouse

Dendragapus fuliginosus [Blue-Listed] This chicken-sized bird is sooty grey to brownish in colour with a light grey band at the tip of the tail. The male may show visible yellow wattles over the eyes and yellow throat sacs used in hooting. This species seeks out forest clearings and forest edges in summer where food is abundant. Summer food includes berries, seeds, buds, needles, and insects.


Speckled Beard

Usnea ceratina [Blue-listed] This vivid hospital green usnea lichen grows in relatively open, humid forests from central California to BC and east to the Appalachia Mtns. Time of year: Winter.


Starfish Vinyl

Leptogium plicatile [Blue-listed] First documented on Salt Spring Island on New Years day 2016, this distinctive vinyl is locally rare because the exposed limestone on which it grows is rare.


Steller Sea Lion

Eumetopias jubatus [Special Concern / blue-listed] The Steller Sea Lion is the largest sea lion, distinguished from seals by the presence of external ear flaps. Males are larger, weighing between 400-800 kg, while females average between 200-300 kg. The name is derived from the ‘mane’ of light coarse hairs that develop on the neck and chest of mature males.When at sea, sea lions are found in small groups or individually.


Streaked Horsehair

Bryoria pikei [Red-listed] Pike’s horsehair Bryoria pikei Red listed It takes some practice to distinguish this pale hair lichen, but luckily, only one other similar species is found in our area.


Surf Scoter

Melanitta perspicillata [Blue-listed] are sea ducks that winter in shallow coastal waters preferring a pebble or sand bottom, and breed on shallow lakes in boreal forest and tundra. They mainly eat molluscs and freshwater invertebrates, diving for prey in the soft substrate. They lay 6-9 eggs in a hollow in the ground near the water that they line with vegetation. Males defend the close proximity of the nest.


Texas Balloonwort Liverwort

Sphaerocarpos texanus [Red listed] This small, thalloid, bright green branched liverwort is found on flat, lightly shaded soil. Usually by roadsides. The species is sexually dimorphic, with male plants usually 3–5 mm in diameter, females up to 12 mm in diameter. The plant is a winter annual, appearing in autumn and dying in spring.[4] Notably, the spores occur in sets of four, called tetrads. Unlike most other species of liverwort, the spores stay in these tetrads until they germinate.


Threaded Vertigo

Nearctula spp [special concern / red-listed] This small arboreal snail, about 2mm in height, can often be found 5-6 feet up on large Bigleaf Maple trees. They are typically found in mature second growth and old growth forests with major threats being habitat loss and fragmentation due to human development. Three sites were discovered for this species in 2010, never before seen on Salt Spring Island.


Townsend’s Big-eared Bat

Corynorhinus townsendii [Blue-listed] Townsend’s bat is recognizable by its enormous ears and glandular bulbs between the eyes and nostrils. Like most bats, the big-eared bat has a low reproductive rate, the female giving birth to a single young annually that nurses for about six to eight weeks. The low reproductive rate is a handicap in recovering from habitat disturbance.


Twisted Oak Moss

Syntrichia laevipila [Special concern / Blue-listed] This tiny moss becomes most recognizable under stress, when it produces a profusion of leafy off-shoots at its stem tips.


Western Bluebird

Sialia mexicana [Red-listed] The males of this songbird have a bright blue upper body and throat, orangy-brown breast and sides, a brown patch on the back, and gray belly feathers. Females are a more drab grey-blue colour with a duller reddish colouring on the chest. They have a grey crown, back, and throat. The western bluebird (Sialia mexicana) was once a common migratory songbird in our region.


Western Bumblebee

Bombus occidentalis [Blue-listed] Once very common in western North America it is now very rare, found only in pockets of its former range. Distinct white striping on the lower abdomen.


Western Grebe

Aechmophorous occidentalis [Special Consern - Red Listed] are a seabird that eats small fish by diving in open water, spearing or catching the prey in their bill. They often swallow larger fish at the surface. These birds breed and nest on freshwater lakes and marshes, laying 3-4 eggs in a solid nest that is built on floating logs or other vegetation. Both sexes build the nest using plant material they bring up from underwater.


Western Painted Turtle

Chrysemys picta bellii [Endangered / red-listed] The western painted turtle is a relatively common turtle throughout much of its range. In Canada, there are three subspecies which extend from Ontario westward to British Columbia. In BC, the western painted turtle subspecies (Chrysemys picta belli) can be found, with the Pacific Coast population being federally listed as endangered.


Western Screech Owl

Megascops kennicottii kennicottii [Threatened/ Blue-listed] The western screech owl is a small owl measuring 19 – 26 cm (less than a foot long), grey-brown in appearance with dark wavy stripes on the breast. The eyes are yellow and small ear tufts may be visible. Screech owls inhabit low elevation forests and will occupy cavities of large trees, especially dead trees (snags).