South Winchelsea Island is one of 19 islands that make up the Ballenas-Winchelsea Archipelago. Four of these islands are privately owned. The Land Conservancy wishes to see the entire archipelago protected through purchase of the private islands and obtaining some form of permanent protected status for the Crown owned islands. The archipelago is located off the East Coast of Vancouver Island running north from the Lantzville area and Nanoose Harbour to Rathtrevor Beach near Parksville.
South Winchelsea Island was TLC’s first land acquisition. The island is recognized as having national and international significance for its biodiversity values. Its 10.4 hectares (approximately 25 acres) are largely of a relatively undisturbed Garry Oak-Arbutus ecosystem. The Island is being managed as an ecological reserve. There are several red and blue-listed species on South Winchelsea Island including species of buttercup and lichens. The island is also a nesting and resting place for many species of birds, and California and Steller Sea Lions frequently use the shores around the north end as a haul out area.
Visitors are allowed on the island, provided that they respect its fragile nature. In the past TLC has organized Conservation Holidays throughout the year to help with invasive weed removal, shoreline clean-up and building maintenance.