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.


The method used to restore bog habitat has been to lower the ground level a small amount, around 10-15cm, in order to effectively raise the summer water table. Removing this surface layer also eliminates most nutrients and seeds of invasive plants. Further, the peat surface exposed provides good conditions for the re-establishment of bog species.
Initial experiments were carried out starting in 1992 in which "boglets" were made by digging small holes in the surface of the bog. These were planted with a small plug of sphagnum taken from the powerline. Over a period of years these pits filled in with sphagnum moss generating bog habitat.
In view of the success with boglets, a more extensive experiment was initiated in the summer of 1997 by CBRG. An area approximately 8m by 10m was cleared and anywhere between 20 and 60cm of soil was removed from the surface, exposing the peat surface. Students from Prince of Wales School and Park Volunteers planted this area with around 250 plugs of sphagnum taken from the powerline. The test bog was carefully monitored for the next few years. Photographs are shown shortly after planting and after 3 years. It was found that good growth of sphagnum occurred in the higher parts of the test bog and these areas were completely filled in after 2 - 3 years. The sphagnum started to form mounds and the tops of these mounds developed a red colour. This was due to the species of sphagnum (
Sphagnum capillifolium) that occurred in the highest mounds and which turns red in sunlight. Other bog plants have come spontaneously into the area, particularly a large number of sundews. The photograph shows a young Labrador tea plant growing in with the coloured sphagnum.

Restoration in the deeper areas proved to be less successful. The sphagnum grew for the first 1-2 years but then started to shrink and after 3 years was largely gone. This appeared to be due to the sphagnum being under water for too long a period during the winter and gradually losing its vigour. Good growth took place at elevations more than 5cm above the mean annual water level.

.


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 sphagnum, but 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 removed. Bog 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 sphagnum.
In one area containing no bog habitat, clearing was carried out using an excavator. This proved to be a very efficient way of removing 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

1995

1998

1999

2000

2001

2003

2005

  2010