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Special Shoreline Features

Low Lying Area

Low lying areas are defined as being 0 to 4 m in elevation above existing mean sea level and are greater than 50 in width from the shore.

Low lying shores are susceptible to flooding during high tides, surges and storm waves and current BC guidelines suggest up to a 1 m in sea level rise over the next 100 years.  Shoreline vulnerablility to increased flooding, softening of sediment shorelines and coastal erosion are expected to increase in the coming decades.

There are three areas on South Pender Island identified as low lying located in Camp Bay, Drummond Bay and Brooks Point Regional Park.

Low Lying Area 1.Port Browning SF

Salt Marshes

Salt marshes are flat areas of the high upper intertidal zone, with rooted salt-tolerant vascular plants and organic peaty soils, which are flooded by most high tides.  Salt marshes are highly productive, are valued ecological features and are particularly vulnerable to pollution from land based activity.

On South Pender Island a salt marsh was identified at Mortimer Spit.

Salt Marsh


Islets are small islands that are often ecologically important to wildlife, in particular to ground-nesting coastal birds such as Black Oystercatcher, Pigeon Guillemots and others.  

Islets often have remnant, natural ecosystems and provide a larger intertidal perimeter relative to their land area. Vegetation and birds nesting on islets can be very vulnerable to disturbance from recreational users.

Islets in the South Pender Local Trust Area include the Skull Islets in Bedwell Harbour or Blunden Islet off Teece Point, which are located in the Gulf Island National Park Reserve.

Islet 2SF


Soft Shorelines

Soft shorelines include the sediment dominated pebble/sand and marsh/fine sediment shore types.

Sediment shorelines are typically associated with both high recreational values and high ecological values and are found at pocket beaches, salt marshes, and estuaries.  South Pender Island has numerous areas of soft shoreline distributed around the island. 

Very Protected Waters

Very protected shorelines have a maximum wave fetch of less than 1 km.  Often these shorelines are adjacent to embayments with reduced water circulation which increases their vulnerability to water pollution.

On South Pender Island, the area inside the hook at Mortimer Spit is an example of very protected water.

Altered Shorelines 

Areas of the shoreline that were modified by development such as boat ramps, seawalls, riprap, breakwater or by the deposit of fill were noted when the shore type mapping was done. 

To be classified as altered shoreline, the length of modification represented 30% or more of the shore unit length.   Modifications to the shoreline can alter how sediment is deposited along the shore, interfering with the natural coastal process. They can alter the local hydrology by affecting either drainage or surface flow from the land or the movement of seawater to the shore area.  Often the modifications also involve removing or significantly altering the shoreline vegetation, which can increase erosion and affect habitat.  Altered shorelines are shown on the Integrated Shoreline and Watershed Maps developed for each major island.

Altered shorelines are less than 4% of the total shoreline in the Islands Trust area based on the twelve major islands that had shoreline mapping completed.  Thetis Island has the most at 8%, while Lasqueti Island has the least at less than 1%.   4% of South Pender Island's shoreline has been mapped as the pebble/ sand shore type.

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Page last updated: 01/10/15
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