Georgia Basin

The Georgia Basin is home to a rich diversity of plant and animal species. From sponge reefs to charismatic killer whales (Orcinus orca), the inland marine waters within the Georgia Basin is important habitat for over 3,000 species of fish, marine mammals and birds.


Named after the Coast Salish native people, the Salish Sea extends from the south end of Puget Sound in Washington State (United States) to Desolation Sound at the north end of the Strait of Georgia in British Columbia.

The Georgia Basin includes part of Vancouver Island (including Victoria, Nanaimo, and Campbell River), the Gulf Islands, Sunshine Coast, and the mainland portion surrounding Vancouver to as far away as Whistler and Hope.

In addition to land, it includes major waterways such as the Fraser and Squamish rivers, the Juan de Fuca Strait and the Strait of Georgia, with the Strait of Georgia being the center of the Canadian portion of the Georgia Basin.

The Georgia Basin is a great watershed that is home to a wide diversity of terrestrial (land) and aquatic (water) species.

On land, there are many wildlife species including grizzly bears and cougars that roam the forests and the shoreline.

In the sea, there are killer whales, harbour seals, salmon, and herring, among many other species. Millions of birds, such as gulls, cormorants, geese, scoters and oystercatchers, can be found on the water and shorelines of the Georgia Basin.

Some of these species are year-round residents (for example, black bears or herring), while others are transients or migrants and only visit the basin during certain times of the year (grey whales, many seabirds). Together these species may share habitats and form different communities. All these communities are connected, creating what is called an ecosystem.

People are part of the same ecosystem as the plants and animals. In sharing the Georgia Basin with hundreds of other species, humans have an important responsibility to understand and protect this region. This responsibility starts at home!