The Phillips Estuary Conservancy is located at the head of Phillips Arm, north of East Thurlow Island on B.C.’s southern central coast. It is located 52 km north of Campbell River, 122 km east of Port Hardy and 216 km northwest of Vancouver. The Conservancy protects 1,382 hectares of upland and 79 hectares of foreshore for a total area of 1,461 hectares.
The Phillips Estuary Conservancy is also located in the heart of the Kwiakah First Nation’s traditional territory adjacent to Matsayno Indian Reserve # 5 and includes a former village site, Hwihawi. These two village sites and the archaeological evidence, including culturally modified trees, shell middens, and other important features in and around the conservancy demonstrate the significant role this area plays in the history, culture and economy of the KFN.

The river, lake and estuary provide high quality aquatic habitats that support spawning as well as resident species of fish. All five species of native salmon and two anadromous trout are found in Phillips River and Lake. The protected riparian habitat and marshlands help maintain water quality and provide habitat for a variety of wildlife, especially grizzly bear. Spawning fish provide a rich source of protein for bears and other wildlife. The combination of these special features gives this conservancy a very high ecological significance. The complex drainage in the southern portion of the Phillips River watershed forms the core of the conservancy. The estuary is recognized for its important biodiversity values. At the interface between the marine and freshwater environments, the estuary supports diverse and plentiful animal and plant species that thrive on the nutrient-rich waters and lands that form from the mixing of salt and fresh water and tidal processes.

The Conservancy is off the main cruising route and would generally see limited use by cruising sailboats and powerboats. Within the conservancy and/or in the surrounding area there are opportunities for wildlife viewing, and fishing, among others. Use of the roads running the length of the conservancy boundary require access through private lands. The lands surrounding the conservancy have been logged and the conservancy boundaries are clearly marked by existing roads held or previously held under road permit.

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