Dodge Point is located at the northeast tip of Lyell Island (part of the Queen Charlotte Islands chain), while Gogit Passage is the channel of water between the east coast of Lyell Island and a small chain of islets to the east toward Hecate Strait. This area lies within Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve, between the Ramsay Island - Northern Juan Perez Sound IBA to the south, and the Laskeek Bay IBA to the north. Included within this IBA are the Agglomerate, Kawas, Tar, Skaga and Tuft islands.
The terrain around Dodge Point is steep with open forested slopes that are interspersed by rocky bluffs, scree slopes and areas where slides and windfalls have occurred. Several creek valleys are also present. The understory on these forested slopes is bare or mossy, with the canopy being comprised of Sitka Spruce, Western Hemlock, and Western Red Cedar. A significant concentration of Ancient Murrelets is located to the west and south of Dodge Point, with the colony occupying at least five km of coastline.
The forests on Agglomerate Island have a similar composition to those at Dodge Point, although there are dense growths of salal in the understory. Kawas, Tar, and Tuft Islands are clusters of rocky islets, the larger of which are vegetated with spruce forest, dense salal and a mix of other shrubs, as well as patches of grasses and forbs. Hair Seals use the islands in this area as haul-out and breeding sites.
Surveys in 1982 and 1983 estimated 12,900 pairs of Ancient Murrelets at this site (mostly around Dodge Point). This figure represents as much as 2.6% and 4.9% of the estimated global and national populations respectively. A survey completed ten years later at Dodge Point indicated a decline from an estimated 10,700 pairs in 1982 to an estimated 6,900 pairs in 1992, though the area as a whole still supported 1.8% of the estimated global population. In the early 1980s, 18 pairs of Black Oystercatchers (about 1.8% of the estimated national population), were recorded nesting primarily on the Tar Islands, while approximately 6,530 pairs of storm-petrels (almost entirely Fork-tailed Storm-Petrels 3.4% of the estimated Canadian population), were recorded primarily on Agglomerate Island. Cassin's Auklets, Pigeon Guillemots and Glaucous-winged Gulls also nest on these islands, although not in numbers of national significance. Nesting Bald Eagles and Peregrine Falcons (ssp. pealei) are found in the area.
The marine waters surrounding the islands, which are included within this IBA, provide important feeding and staging areas for the seabirds. Sightings of upwards of 290 Marbled Murrelets, a nationally threatened species, have been recorded in Gogit Passage during May and June.
Conservation responses/actions for key biodiversity
Predation by introduced rats and raccoons is one of the greatest threats to the seabird colonies in this region. When compared to 1982 results, the 1992 survey recorded a marked increase in rat predation at the Dodge Point Ancient Murrelet colony. Predation appears to be becoming more severe at this colony, and will likely accelerate the population decline that was observed between 1982 and 1992. Due to the large size of Lyell Island (several hundred km²), eradication of the rats is unlikely. Additional threats to the area include potential oil spills, and possible disturbance from boaters and other visitors to Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve.
BirdLife International (2022) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Dodge Point and Gogit Passage Island Chain. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 27/11/2022.