Ditidaht Habitat OVERVIEWThe coastal area of the Ditidaht region is temperate rainforest dominated by old-growth spruce, hemlock and cedar. Inland, the orientation and relief of narrow, sheltered valleys result in a very wet climate for much of the year; weather systems approaching Vancouver Island from the west are funnelled by the valleys, resulting in heavy downpours of rain.
Sitka spruce forests grow along the Ditidaht coast and in Carmanah Walbran Provincial Park; they are rarely found more than 80 kilometers inland and at elevations greater than 300 meters. Carmanah Walbran is home to some of the world's largest spruce trees, some living for 800 years or more. The Carmanah Giant, at 95 metres, is thought to be the tallest Sitka spruce in the world, although it is less than 400 years old. The park is also home to ancient, gnarled cedars - estimated to be well over 1,000 years old. The Sitka spruce ecosystem in this region represents 2% of BC's remaining old-growth forest.
The lower Carmanah Valley was declared a provincial park in 1990, and in 1995 the Walbran and upper Carmanah Valleys were added, protecting the Carmanah Creek watershed and the southern portion of the Walbran Creek watershed.
Unique to Ditidaht
The entire Canadian population of Scouler's Corydalis is limited to the Nitinat and Klanawa river basins.
This herbaceous perennial, 60-120cm tall, is protected under the federal Species at Risk Act. more info
The shoreline topography of the region features natural wonders like the Hole-in-the-Wall, a natural sandstone arch carved by relentless wave action over time, the Tsusiat Falls at the mouth of the Tsusiat River, the Nitinat Lakes and Narrows and countless caves, creeks, coves, tidal pools and rocky headlands. The Narrows section is notoriously dangerous with fast-running tidal currents and eddies. The lower reaches of Carmanah Creek support coho and chinook salmon, steelhead trout, sea-run cutthroat and sculpins, while the upper reaches contain small resident cutthroat trout.
Cowichan Lake and Nitinat Lake are the major fresh-water bodies in the region. These watershed have been impacted by logging, and watershed restoration efforts have come into effect in recent years. Although there are a variety of threats to the habitat, the most important habitat protection concerns in these watersheds continues to be logging on private land.