Kamdis Heritage Site/Conservancy
About This Conservancy
The heritage site/conservancy helps protect an internationally significant intertidal estuarine wetland complex that provides habitat for waterfowl, shorebirds and salmonids and has been used since time immemorial by the people of the Haida Nation for cultural, social and economic purposes. Eleven registered archaeological sites and 77 culturally modified trees have been recorded so far within the heritage site/conservancy.
Access to Kamdis Heritage Site/Conservancy is easiest by boat via Masset Sound or Masset Inlet from the communities of Masset or Port Clements, but overland access from Highway 16 may be achieved at several locations by short side roads and/or footpaths. Several private properties are located adjacent to the heritage site/conservancy, and landowners typically use boats to access their properties by water via Kumdis Slough.
Conservancy Size: 2,722 hectares (1,896 hectares of upland and 826 hectares of foreshore)
Location and Maps
Kamdis Heritage Site/Conservancy is located on the eastern side of Masset Inlet, on Kumdis and Graham islands, Haida Gwaii, between the communities of Masset and Port Clements. It is part of an archipelago-wide system of protected areas that includes Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve and Haida Heritage Site, several provincial parks and ecological reserves, and ten other heritage site/conservancies. In total, half of the land base of Haida Gwaii is now in protected status.
The terrestrial part of the heritage site/conservancy consists of four discrete sites linked by a marine protected area. This complex lies in a linear north-south direction along Highway 16. It covers approximately a 20 kilometre stretch of Kumdis Slough and the eastern bank of Masset Sound. The terrestrial component of the heritage site/conservancy covers 1,896 hectares. The elevation range is from sea level to 114 metres.
The marine component/foreshore area covers an area of 826 hectares. The marine foreshore area helps protect an internationally significant intertidal estuarine wetland complex. The intertidal shallows contain extensive eelgrass beds, and the intertidal marshes are dominated by sedges, rushes and grasses. Much of the area is exposed at low tide, and the resulting sheltered and productive habitats are important migration, rearing and feeding areas for many wildlife species using the area.
Here is a map indicating the location of the conservancy: Haida Gwaii Map
Nature and Culture
The people of the Haida Nation have occupied and collected food and materials from Kamdis since time immemorial. The Haida maintained villages and seasonal camps at Nadu River and Watun River.
Several archaeological sites contain a number of recorded cultural values. These include at least 77 known culturally modified trees, a pre-contact cabin, lithics, fire-cracked rock, limpets, clams, thumbnail stone blade, cultural depression, a plank house, an aboriginally logged stump, and one five pound stone. Many of these areas have not been inventoried thoroughly which indicates that the heritage site/conservancy likely contains many other unrecorded cultural heritage and archaeological sites.
The protected low gradient shoreline and fine-textured soils have resulted in the development of highly productive estuarine vegetation. The intertidal shallows contain extensive eelgrass beds, and the intertidal marshes are dominated by sedges, rushes and grasses. Much of the area is exposed at low tide, and the resulting sheltered and productive habitats are important migration, rearing and feeding areas for many wildlife species using the area.
There are three estuaries within the Kamdis area. The southern marine area is dominated by warm shallow, sandy and flat bottom physiography typified by low current and low exposure. The northern marine area is recognized by Fisheries and Oceans Canada as one of the coast’s most unique marine ecosystems, characterized by warm shallow, flat-bottomed physiography typified by high current and low exposure.
Salmon species that utilize this area include coho, pink and Chinook salmon. Cutthroat trout, Dolly Varden and steelhead trout are also present in most of the small streams entering Kumdis Slough and Kumdis River. Stickleback, crab, shrimp and most shellfish are common, and the area is particularly important to larval forms of invertebrates due to its sheltered location. Fauna such as river otter, marten, and weasel frequent the area.
The area hosts numerous listed species such as Marbled murrelets (red listed), Northern goshawk (red listed), sandhill cranes (blue listed), Great Blue heron (blue listed), Peregrine falcons (red listed). A baseline of marine birds were surveyed for the Kumdis slough by Ducks Unlimited in 1991. Other foraging birds recorded along the Kamdis slough are bufflehead, common merganser, and trumpeter swan.
Of recent concern is the presence of introduced mammals of which black-tailed deer, beavers and raccoons pose a threat to local ecosystems and species. Several non-native invasive plants have been recorded in the area including Scotch broom, Oxeye daisy, bull thistle and common tansy.
The management plan for Kamdis Heritage Site/Conservancy was approved in 2011 by both BC Parks and the Haida Nation.
Kamdis Heritage Site/Conservancy Management Plan [PDF 1.07MB] (July 2011)