Checleset Bay lies south of the Brooks Peninsula, and northwest of the community of Kyuquot on the west coast of Vancouver Island. The proposed site boundaries are equivalent to the designated Checleset Bay Provincial Ecological Reserve. The area is bound by the southeast coastline of the Brooks Peninsula and the shoreline of Vancouver Island. Most of the area is open sea, and the remainder consists of about 40 islands, eight of which support breeding seabirds. The small islands and reefs, which provide nesting habitat for seabird colonies are located 6 to 8 km offshore. These islets are rocky with pockets of scant vegetation in higher areas. Thomas Island, which supports the largest seabird colony, contains Sitka Spruce forests with an understory of salal and other shrubs. A variety of marine habitats occur here, including intertidal and subtidal reef habitats that support an immense diversity of fish, invertebrates and algae. At favoured Sea Otter feeding sites, several species of kelp and bull kelp form a dense surface canopy and understory in the shallow areas.
Checleset Bay is a significant IBA for three seabird species. Population estimates for these three species are based on a 1988 survey of the area. Although other islets within the bay have supported nesting seabirds in the past, recent surveys found nesting confined almost exclusively to four islets. These islets support just over 1% (7,300 pairs) of the eastern Pacific population of Leachs Storm-Petrels, 2% (23 pairs) of the national population of American Black Oystercatchers, and just over 1% (341 pairs) of the national population of Glaucous-winged Gulls. Pelagic Cormorants (41 pairs) and Pigeon Guillemots were also recorded during 1988 surveys.
The marine waters of Checleset Bay provide habitat for many feeding and transient seabirds and seaducks. In August 1981, 2,200 Common Murres were observed. Marbled Murrelets (nationally threatened) and Harlequin Ducks are found close to shore, while flocks of Sooty Shearwaters pass through further offshore. Flocks of Black-legged Kittiwakes roost on many of the rocky islets and Bald Eagles nest on the forested islands in the area.
BirdLife International (2020) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Checleset Bay. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 07/08/2020.