We have now completed most of our
restoration work in the bog and hope to complete the rest in the next
couple of years. This page reviews the work we have done - our initial
tests, our main restoration and rehabilitation efforts, and our success
in changing people's behavior.
The basic problem in Camosun Bog has been
the low water table in summer allowing non-bog species to smother out
the bog vegetation. The very first job undertaken was to remove the
worst of the invading species and this was followed by re-establishing
bog habitat, especially sphagnum moss.
In the winter of 1990-91, the
Vancouver Natural History Society in conjunction with GVRD Parks
sponsored a project to remove one hundred and fifty large hemlock trees
from the area to the south of the pond. This was done to reduce loss of
water in the summer by transpiration from the trees, to remove a source
of nutrients coming into the bog from the leaf litter, and to open up
the bog surface to sunlight. The trees were removed during a period of
hard frost using helicopters to minimise damage to the bog surface.
Removal of the hemlocks appeared to provide a competitive advantage to
other species, especially birch, and these started to grow up in large
numbers in the newly opened area. One of the initial restoration
efforts of our group was to remove these birches. This was a major job
as there were hundreds of trees and it proved necessary to take out
most of the root system for each tree. This work is complete and we are
now completing removal of other invasive species such as salmonberry,
hardhack and blackberry as well as new hemlock seedlings.
Having established the conditions
necessary for good restoration, we were now ready to start restoring
large areas of the bog. The map shows the areas we have
restored in green. The area inside
the boardwalk is essentially restored. The central area round the pond
is mainly sphagnum but it is infested with common rush and we are
slowly clearing this.
We are intending to complete
restoration of around 1 hectare of the bog. The original area of the
bog was around 15 hectares - there are no plans at present to restore
other areas as this would require cutting down more trees..
About one quarter of the areas to be restored already contained mounds of
with areas of non-bog species between the mounds. The non-bog areas
were cleared to a bare peat surface thus enabling the mounds to expand.
Plugs of sphagnum were planted when the separation between the mounds
was too great. If necessary bog plants like Labrador tea and bog laurel
were also planted. These were either mature plants taken from the
powerline or plants grown in members' greenhouses from cuttings and
seedlings. As the photograph shows, the entire area has filled in after
3 years and perfect bog habitat has been established.
Areas containing no existing bog habitat were completely cleared and around 5 - 15cm of soil was
plants were planted on mounds, typically 5-10cm higher than the rest of
the area as it was found that these plants grew best when their root
systems were not submerged for significant periods. The rest of the
area was then planted with plugs of sphagnum moss. The photograph shows
a restored area after one year and already shows good coverage with
In one area containing no bog habitat, clearing was carried out using
an excavator. This proved to be a very efficient way of
vegetation since it took only 3 hours to clear an area of 250 square
meters. This cleared area was then contoured by hand to give a number
of little hills and valleys. The area was planted with sphagnum in the
lower areas and with bog plants like Labrador tea and bog laurel at the
top of the mounds. This work was carried out in 1999 and was found to
be quite successful.
Photographs have been taken at fixed
locations in the bog at the beginning of October every year from 1995
on. The pictures below show the progressive deterioration of the bog
until 1998 followed by restoration of this area in 1999 and the
progressive improvement of the habitat since then. Click on any
photograph to see an enlarged picture together with a brief description