At the northern end of the Strait of Georgia lies Quadra Island, one of the Discovery Islands. On a 12.1-hectare (30-acre) site, we have established the Quadra Ecological Observatory, which serves as the:
- Administrative headquarters for the Hakai Program
- Development and test site for applications we intend to deploy later at the Calvert Ecological Observatory
- Off-season location for meetings related to the Hakai Institute
- Processing centre for data and specimens collected at all Hakai Institute sites
- Centre of a Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) program for the Discovery Islands and the Bute Inlet watershed
Quadra Island lies between Vancouver Island and the mainland of North America. Quadra is about 36 kilometres long and about 310 km2 in area. Quadra is one of the Discovery Islands, along with Cortes, Read, Maurelle, Sonora, and many others.
Quadra sits at an important nexus:
- To the south lies the Strait of Georgia, which is the main basin between Vancouver Island and the mainland. The shore of the Strait of Georgia includes Vancouver and other urban centres, plus the mouth of the enormous Fraser River, which drains 220,000 sq km of the BC interior.
- To the west lies Johnstone Strait. With each new tide, water floods from the ocean to the north into Queen Charlotte Strait, down the narrow Johnstone Strait, and through the labyrinth of channels into the Strait of Georgia. Tidal currents can exceed 15 km/h.
- To the north lies Bute Inlet, a deep fjord. About 80 km long, Bute extends deep into the coastal mountain ranges. The huge Bute watershed includes the Homathco, Southgate, and Orford river systems and the massive coastal icefields.
These three marine influences converge on Quadra Island.
The Quadra Island Field Station sits on a 30-acre site, just north of Heriot Bay on the east side of Quadra Island.