Bringing Back a Bog

HSBC Freshwater Initiatives of Stanley Park supports SPES in restoring a threatened habitat in Stanley Park.

An innovative project led by BCIT and Stanley Park Ecology Society (SPES)  is helping to reverse the destruction of threatened bog habitat in Stanley Park. The project is supported by the HSBC’s Freshwater Initiatives of Stanley Park.

Natural bogs are home to plants and animals found nowhere else in the forest. However, the construction of the Stanley Park Causeway in the 1930’s and the perimeter trail around Beaver Lake diverted water away from this watershed and created drier conditions for the bog. This has led to terrestrial plant species slowly spreading into the bog ecosystem and taking over this unique habitat.

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Sticky droplets on a carnivorous round-leaved sundew trap insect meals for the plant. (Photo by Michael Schmidt)

 The SPES Beaver Lake Bog Enhancement Project began in 2012 to increase wetland biodiversity and preserve the habitat of rare bog species like the carnivorous round-leaved sundew.  Under SPES leadership, BCIT students worked to restore the bog site and reintroduce bog-specific species such as sphagnum mosses, western bog-laurel, Labrador tea, and the round-leaved sundew. The right soil conditions are also important if bog plants are to flourish, so students and volunteers removed the topsoil to expose the moist acidic peat, on which these plants thrive.

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Transplanting sphagnum moss into the Beaver Lake Bog site.

 Maintaining bog plant diversity while also reducing competition from non-bog species like red alder, hardhack and skunk cabbage is an ongoing project. BCIT students continue to work with SPES to maintain the site and remove these species throughout the year. This work isn’t set to be fully completed until 2016 but it will have a long term impact on the health of the forest.

Patricia Thomson, SPES Executive Director says, “The Stanley Park forest may look like an unbroken canopy of trees, but it’s a complex mosaic of different habitats. The bog is among the most threatened and sensitive habitats in the Park due to years of human impact and changes to the natural water courses. There is a need to protect and restore what exists. That’s why we have been so invigorated by this project and grateful to HSBC Bank Canada for their support.”

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Red, orange and green sphagnum moss in Beaver Lake Bog.(Photo by Brian Titaro.)

While the Beaver Lake Bog is currently inaccessible to the public during its restoration, the Camosun Bog near UBC has a wonderful boardwalk from which anyone can examine and experience this unique ecosystem. Camosun and Beaver Lake Bog are the only remaining bogs in Metro Vancouver.

For more information about SPES’ habitat restoration work in Stanley Park, please click here.

 

Supported by HSBC