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Reptiles and Amphibians of the Lulu Island Bog. In: A biophysical inventory and evaluation of the Lulu Island Bog, Richmond, BC, 2002-05

Authors:
  • Nature Conservancy of Canada

Abstract

During this inventory, the study area properties – the Department of National Defence property (DND), Richmond Nature Park (RNP west) and Richmond Nature Study Area (RNP east) – were inventoried for the presence of reptiles and amphibians. Until now, there has not been any systematic study of reptile and amphibian species in the Lulu Island Bog. Bell’s 1984 inventory work in the RNP west did not include surveys for reptiles or amphibians and no past survey work has been conducted in the DND or the RNP east. Until this present inventory, records of reptile and amphibian species in the two park properties were based solely on observations by park staff or visitors, and on incidental capture.
PROJECT SPONSORS
A Biophysical Inventory and
Evaluation of the Lulu Island Bog
Richmond, British Columbia
Neil Davis and Rose Klinkenberg, Editors
A project of the Richmond Nature Park Society Ecology Committee
2008
Recommended Citation:
Davis, Neil and Rose Klinkenberg (editors). 2008. A Biophysical Inventory and Evaluation of
the Lulu Island Bog, Richmond, British Columbia. Richmond Nature Park Society,
Richmond, British Columbia.
Title page photograph and design:
David Blevins
Production Editor:
Rachel Wiersma
Maps and Graphics:
Jose Aparicio, Neil Davis, Gary McManus, Rachel Wiersma
Publisher:
Richmond Nature Park Society
Printed by:
The City of Richmond
Additional Copies:
Richmond Nature Park
11851 Westminster Highway
Richmond, BC V6X 1B4
E-mail: nature@city.richmond.bc.ca
Telephone: 604-718-6188
Fax: 604-718-6189
Copyright Information
Copyright © 2008. All material found in this publication is covered by Canadian Copyright
Laws. Copyright resides with the authors and photographers.
Authors: Lori Bartley, Don
Benson, Danielle Cobbaert, Shannon Cressey, Lori Daniels, Neil Davis, Hugh Griffith, Leland
Humble, Aerin Jacob, Bret Jagger, Rex Kenner, Rose Klinkenberg, Brian Klinkenberg, Karen
Needham, Margaret North, Patrick Robinson, Colin Sanders, Wilf Schofield, Chris Sears,
Terry Taylor, Rob Vandermoor, Rachel Wiersma.
Photographers: David Blevins, Kent
Brothers, Shannon Cressey, Lori Daniels, Jamie Fenneman, Robert Forsyth, Karen Golinski,
Hugh Griffith, Ashley Horne, Stephen Ife, Dave Ingram, Mariko Jagger, Brian Klinkenberg,
Rose Klinkenberg, Ian Lane, Fred Lang, Gary Lewis, David Nagorsen, David Shackleton,
Rachel Wiersma, Diane Williamson, Alex Fraser Research Forest, Royal British Columbia
Museum.
Please contact the respective copyright holder for permissions to use materials. They may be
reached via
the Richmond Nature Park at 604-718-6188, or by contacting the editors: Neil
Davis (
nadavis77@gmail.com) or Rose Klinkenberg (carex@telus.net).
A Biophysical Inventory and Evaluation of the Lulu Island Bog i
PREFACE
The idea for a nature park in Richmond began in 1962 when the Corporation of the
Township of Richmond recognized the site on Westminster Highway as a potential
park. As outlined in detail by Bret Jagger in Chapter 7 of this report, by 1968 a group
of local volunteers united under the guidance of Will Paulik and the Richmond Rod
and Gun Club had developed the concept and petitioned Council to create a public
nature centre for the purposes of environmental education, outdoor exploration and
conservation of an undisturbed parcel of Richmond’s once extensive bogs.
Within two years the concept became a reality and by 1971 the not-for-profit
Richmond Nature Park Committee was established to work with Richmond to
develop the park and its programs. A temporary “nature display building” was located
on site in 1972, trails were developed, and a basic inventory of the flora and fauna of
the park was conducted through the Local Initiatives Program. In 1975 plans were
approved for the construction of a permanent nature interpretation centre through
the combined resources of the Recreation Department of the Township of Richmond,
the Kinsmen Club of Richmond and the Provincial Government. The Richmond
Nature House opened November 14, 1976.
The bog has defined the history and heritage of Richmond. It was a resource to First
Nations and both a challenge and a boon to early colonists. The bog continues to
influence the community through agriculture and development, recreation,
education, conservation and research. A growing understanding of bogs as sources of
pharmaceuticals and gene banks and for their value in carbon sequestering and the
potential relationship to global climate change is raising their profile still further.
Bogs were once a common feature, encompassing almost half of Lulu Island. Now
considerably reduced, they are found in three principle locations: the East and West
properties of the Richmond Nature Park and the adjacent Department of National
Defence lands, plus several small remnant parcels, including the Northeast Bog Forest.
Totaling 86 hectares, the two Nature Park properties protect 2/3 of the remaining
boglands on Lulu Island – a fragile remnant of a vanishing environment.
Richmond Nature Park exists both as a place to preserve a unique ecosystem in
Richmond and for people to explore a personal connection to that environment. For
generations who have grown up here or for newcomers alike, the Nature Park is a
gateway to nature in Richmond. We are indebted to the visionaries who created this
opportunity and are grateful to those who continue to give of themselves to ensure
the Nature Park remains a vital part of this community.
Preface
A Biophysical Inventory and Evaluation of the Lulu Island Bog ii
Volunteers have made immeasurable contributions to projects and operations in the
Park. Perhaps the most intensive effort, involving thousands of hours of volunteer
time, is the biological inventory of the bog which began in 2002 and concluded with
the production of this document - a report card on the condition of Richmond’s bogs
providing insight into bog ecology and factors that affect it. It is a current inventory
of species present or missing from the bog, changes since the first systematic
examination of the bog in the early 1970’s and projections for the future. It is a
benchmark to gauge changes in the bog and to facilitate informed action.
This document is testament to the dedication of so many people who’ve given their
time and expertise on behalf of the Nature Park. We welcome this report and know
it will be a valuable tool in ensuring there will always be a place for the environment
in Richmond.
Kristine Bauder
Richmond Nature Park Coordinator
March 30, 2007
A Biophysical Inventory and Evaluation of the Lulu Island Bog iii
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
By Neil Davis
A biophysical inventory and evaluation of the Lulu Island Bog was conducted from
2001 to 2008. This report summarizes the results of the inventory and evaluates the
bog’s significance as a natural area and contributor to regional biodiversity.
Twenty-four years have passed since any inventory was conducted in the Lulu Island
Bog and much has changed in the interim. By documenting the flora, fauna, and
vegetation cover types present in the bog, this inventory sought to enable informed
comparisons with earlier inventory work and provide a baseline for monitoring and
responding to future changes. The inventory was carried out in the three properties
on Lulu Island that were determined to comprise the largest remaining viable
remnants of the Lulu Island Bog: the Department of National Defence property, the
Richmond Nature Park, and the Richmond Nature Study Area. Inventory work
followed provincial inventory standards and recognised survey techniques.
The results of the inventory demonstrate that the bog plays a number of important
ecological roles. Bog ecosystem functions and processes persist in parts of the study
area in spite of its small size. This is indicated by the continued active growth of
Sphagnum
mosses in areas where disturbance and drainage effects are minimal, and
by the persistence of an associated suite of representative bog species. Because of the
loss of natural peatlands on Lulu Island, many of these bog species are no longer
found in any abundance on the island today outside of the Lulu Island Bog.
In a regional context, bogs make up less than 5% of the total land area within the
Temperate Wetland Region, which covers much of the southwest corner of British
Columbia. Thus, the Lulu Island Bog provides representation of an uncommon
regional ecosystem. The bog also supports relatively high species numbers for its size,
rivaling Burns Bog, which is a much larger bog that incorporates a greater range of
bog and wetland habitats. It also hosts several rare, threatened, or endangered species
and vegetation communities, including three species listed under the federal Species
At Risk Act. More broadly, diverse wildlife populations benefit from the bog as a
unique habitat refuge on Lulu Island.
The Lulu Island Bog is also a link to Richmond’s natural history and an important
educational resource. Bogs covered one third of Lulu Island at the beginning of
European settlement in the 1860s. It represents the largest and most intact remnant
of these ecosystems. The Nature Park’s trails host between 80,000 – 100,000 visitors
Executive Summary
A Biophysical Inventory and Evaluation of the Lulu Island Bog iv
each year and the Richmond Nature Park Society delivers environmental education
programs to approximately 5,600 children annually.
Though the bog serves the roles outlined above, it is significantly threatened by
several interrelated forms of disturbance. First, the bog’s hydrological regime has
been altered by fragmentation and drainage. Drainage is drying the bog and as a
result, a growing portion of the ecosystem is shifting away from an open, heath-
dominated bog community towards a bog forest community. Drainage has also
enabled the spread of invasive species the second primary form of disturbance in the
bog. Species such as cultivated blueberry, Scotch heather, and hybrid birch are
increasingly displacing native bog species, particularly in the Department of National
Defence and Richmond Nature Park properties. If nothing is done to mitigate these
threats, the study area will continue to evolve away from a bog ecosystem and some
of the important roles it currently plays will diminish.
Conservation of the Lulu Island Bog would contribute to several local and regional
environmental initiatives, such as Richmond’s participation in the Partners for
Climate Protection program and Metro Vancouver’s Livable Region Strategic Plan.
However, successful conservation of the bog ecosystem requires that numerous steps
be taken. First, stronger protection mechanisms are necessary to ensure the bog’s
future as a natural area. This includes protecting the Department of National Defence
property, whose future is currently uncertain. Second, an integrated ecosystem
management plan should be developed to address bog restoration, invasive species
management, and research needs. Third, an environmental impact assessment process
should be established to evaluate the implications of any works undertaken in the bog
and the surrounding area where this would influence the bog ecosystem. Last, a
planning process should be established to discuss and implement the first three
recommendations. These recommendations provide a starting point for conserving
the Lulu Island Bog as a healthy bog ecosystem.
A Biophysical Inventory and Evaluation of the Lulu Island Bog v
TABLE OF CONTENTS
PREFACE ............................................................................................................................ i
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY ................................................................................................. iii
TABLE OF CONTENTS ..................................................................................................... v
LIST OF TABLES ............................................................................................................... x
LIST OF FIGURES ............................................................................................................ xi
FOREWORD ................................................................................................................... xiii
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ................................................................................................ xix
PART I: INTRODUCTION AND GEOGRAPHY ........................................................... 1
CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION ....................................................................................... 3
1.1 Overview ............................................................................................. 3
1.2 Regional Context ................................................................................. 4
1.3 The City of Richmond and the Lulu Island Bog ................................ 7
1.4 The Study Area .................................................................................. 10
1.5 Inventory Methods ........................................................................... 12
1.6 Evaluating the Bog ............................................................................ 12
CHAPTER 2: WHAT IS A BOG? .................................................................................... 15
2.1 Introduction ...................................................................................... 15
2.2 Bog Classification .............................................................................. 17
CHAPTER 3: A GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE ON BOGS ................................................... 19
3.1 The Global Issue ................................................................................ 19
3.2 International Bog Conservation Efforts ........................................... 21
3.3 Bogs and Climate Change ................................................................. 21
CHAPTER 4: PHYSICAL GEOGRAPHY ....................................................................... 23
4.1 History of the Fraser River Delta ..................................................... 23
4.2 The Growth of the Fraser River Delta ............................................. 23
4.3 Sediments of the Fraser River Delta................................................. 27
4.4 Development of the Lulu Island Bog ............................................... 29
4.5 Surface and Sub-surface Materials in the Lulu Island Bog ............. 30
4.6 External Influences on the Hydrology of the Bog .......................... 32
4.7 Impact of Agricultural and Urban Development on the Lulu
Island Bog .......................................................................................... 33
CHAPTER 5: HYDROLOGY - EXISTING AND ONGOING STUDIES ....................... 35
5.1 Introduction ...................................................................................... 35
5.2 Results ................................................................................................ 38
Table of Contents
A Biophysical Inventory and Evaluation of the Lulu Island Bog vi
CHAPTER 6: THE VEGETATION OF THE FRASER RIVER DELTA BEFORE
EUROPEAN SETTLEMENT: A PEEP INTO THE PAST .............................................. 41
6.1 Introduction ...................................................................................... 41
6.2 Geologic Origins ................................................................................ 41
6.3 The Vegetation of the Fraser Delta before European Settlement:
A Peep into the Past .......................................................................... 43
CHAPTER 7: A SITE HISTORY OF THE LULU ISLAND BOG ................................... 51
7.1 Introduction ...................................................................................... 51
7.2 Past Ownership ................................................................................. 51
7.3 Effects of Human Settlement on the Bog Ecosystem ...................... 52
7.4 Transportation Corridors .................................................................. 54
7.5 History of the Richmond Nature Park ............................................. 56
7.6 History of the DND Property ........................................................... 62
CHAPTER 8: DISTURBANCE IN THE BOG ................................................................. 65
8.1 Introduction ...................................................................................... 65
8.2 Drainage ............................................................................................. 66
8.3 Introduced and Invasive Plant Species ............................................ 68
8.4 Trampling .......................................................................................... 69
8.5 Fire ..................................................................................................... 70
8.6 Land Clearing .................................................................................... 71
8.7 Pond Creation .................................................................................... 72
8.8 Fragmentation ................................................................................... 73
PART II: VEGETATION, FLORA AND FAUNA ......................................................... 75
CHAPTER 9: VEGETATION OF THE LULU ISLAND BOG ....................................... 77
9.1 Introduction ...................................................................................... 77
9.2 Methods ............................................................................................. 78
9.3 Results: Plant Communities of the Lulu Island Bog ........................ 80
9.4 Discussion and Conclusions .............................................................. 92
CHAPTER 10: VASCULAR PLANTS OF THE LULU ISLAND BOG .......................... 93
10.1 Introduction ...................................................................................... 93
10.2 Methods ............................................................................................. 94
10.3 Results ................................................................................................ 95
10.4 Discussion .......................................................................................... 95
10.5 Native Species .................................................................................... 97
10.6 Alien and Invasive Species in the Study Area ............................... 100
10.7 Planted Species ................................................................................ 102
10.8 Species Accounts ............................................................................. 103
10.9 Recommendations ........................................................................... 115
Table of Contents
A Biophysical Inventory and Evaluation of the Lulu Island Bog vii
CHAPTER 11: BRYOPHYTES OF THE LULU ISLAND BOG ................................... 117
11.1 Introduction .................................................................................... 117
11.2 Regional Perspective ....................................................................... 118
11.3 Importance of Protecting the Lulu Island Bog .............................. 121
CHAPTER 12: FUNGI OF THE LULU ISLAND BOG ................................................. 123
12.1 Introduction .................................................................................... 123
12.2 The Lulu Island Bog ........................................................................ 124
12.3 Methods ........................................................................................... 124
12.4 Results .............................................................................................. 124
CHAPTER 13: LICHENS OF THE LULU ISLAND BOG ............................................ 127
13.1 Introduction .................................................................................... 127
13.2 The Lulu Island Bog ........................................................................ 128
13.3 Methods ........................................................................................... 128
13.4 Results .............................................................................................. 129
13.5 Discussion ........................................................................................ 130
CHAPTER 14: AQUATIC INSECTS OF THE LULU ISLAND BOG .......................... 131
14.1 Introduction .................................................................................... 131
14.2 Methods ........................................................................................... 133
14.3 Results .............................................................................................. 133
CHAPTER 15: BUTTERFLIES OF THE LULU ISLAND BOG .................................... 137
15.1 Introduction .................................................................................... 137
15.2 Methods ........................................................................................... 138
15.3 Results .............................................................................................. 138
15.4 Discussion ........................................................................................ 145
CHAPTER 16: MOTHS OF RICHMOND .................................................................... 147
16.1 Introduction .................................................................................... 147
16.2 Moths on Lulu Island ...................................................................... 147
CHAPTER 17: AMPHIBIANS AND REPTILES OF THE LULU ISLAND BOG ........ 151
17.1 Introduction .................................................................................... 151
17.2 Methods ........................................................................................... 151
17.3 Results .............................................................................................. 153
17.4 Discussion ........................................................................................ 157
CHAPTER 18: MAMMALS OF THE LULU ISLAND BOG ........................................ 159
18.1 Introduction .................................................................................... 159
18.2 A Fragmented Bog ........................................................................... 161
18.3 Small Mammal Inventory ............................................................... 161
18.4 Methods ........................................................................................... 167
18.5 Results .............................................................................................. 170
18.6 Discussion ........................................................................................ 175
Table of Contents
A Biophysical Inventory and Evaluation of the Lulu Island Bog viii
CHAPTER 19: BIRDS OF THE LULU ISLAND BOG.................................................. 179
19.1 Introduction .................................................................................... 179
19.2 Survey Method ................................................................................ 179
19.3 Results .............................................................................................. 181
19.4 Discussion ........................................................................................ 183
CHAPTER 20: FISH OF THE LULU ISLAND BOG .................................................... 193
20.1 Introduction .................................................................................... 193
20.2 Purpose ............................................................................................ 196
20.3 Methods ........................................................................................... 196
20.4 Results .............................................................................................. 198
20.5 Discussion ........................................................................................ 200
CHAPTER 21: LAND SNAILS OF THE LULU ISLAND BOG .................................... 203
PART III: EVALUATION, UNDERSTANDING AND THE FUTURE ....................... 205
CHAPTER 22: RESTORING THE LULU ISLAND BOG ............................................. 207
22.1 Introduction .................................................................................... 207
22.2 Conservation Implications .............................................................. 209
22.3 Disturbance Levels and Implications for Restoration ................... 210
22.4 Historic Management and Restoration of the bog. ....................... 214
22.5 Recommendations ........................................................................... 215
CHAPTER 23: RESULTS AND KEY FINDINGS ......................................................... 217
23.1 Introduction .................................................................................... 217
CHAPTER 24: EVALUATION - THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING A BOG ............... 225
24.1 Introduction .................................................................................... 225
24.2 Significance of the Lulu Island Bog ................................................ 225
24.3 Threats ............................................................................................. 229
24.4 Evaluation of the Conservation Value of the Study Area ............. 233
24.5 Regional Context ............................................................................. 234
24.6 Protection Measures ........................................................................ 235
CHAPTER 25: RECOMMENDATIONS ....................................................................... 243
25.1 Introduction .................................................................................... 243
25.2 Summary of Recommendations: .................................................... 243
25.3 Discussion ........................................................................................ 244
REFERENCES ................................................................................................................ 253
PART IV: APPENDICES ............................................................................................... 283
APPENDIX A ................................................................................................................. 285
APPENDIX B ................................................................................................................. 297
APPENDIX C ................................................................................................................. 299
Table of Contents
A Biophysical Inventory and Evaluation of the Lulu Island Bog ix
APPENDIX D ................................................................................................................. 305
Appendix D-1: Bryophytes of the Lulu Island Bog ................................................. 305
Appendix D-2: Lichens of the Lulu Island Bog, 2006 ............................................. 311
Appendix D-3: Fungi of the Lulu Island Bog, 2006 ................................................. 313
Appendix D-4: Vascular Plants of the Lulu Island Bog, 2006 ................................ 317
Appendix D-5: Aquatic Insects of the Lulu Island Bog .......................................... 323
Appendix D-6: Terrestrial Coleoptera (Beetles) of Richmond Nature Park:
A Partial List 2006 ........................................................................... 327
Appendix D-7: Butterflies of the Lulu Island Bog ................................................... 329
Appendix D-8: A Partial List of the Moths of Lulu Island, 2006............................ 331
Appendix D-9: Land Snails of the Lulu Island Bog 2004-2006 ............................... 343
Appendix D-10: Reptiles and Amphibians of the Lulu Island Bog 2002-2006 ...... 344
Appendix D-11: Mammals of the Lulu Island Bog 2007 ......................................... 345
Appendix D-12: Birds of Lulu Island 2002-2003 ..................................................... 347
Appendix D-13: Additional Species Documented in the Lulu Island Bog ............. 348
GLOSSARY .................................................................................................................... 349
ABOUT THE AUTHORS .............................................................................................. 351
Table of Contents
A Biophysical Inventory and Evaluation of the Lulu Island Bog x
LIST OF TABLES
Table 1.1: Historical Bogs of the Fraser Delta .............................................................. 6
Table 4.1: Characteristics of Triggs and Lumbum Soil Series .................................... 30
Table 4.2: Characteristics of peat layers ..................................................................... 31
Table 5.1: Dipwell Locations in the study area .......................................................... 37
Table 10.1: Native bog and bog-associated species of the Lulu Island Bog ................ 95
Table 10.2: Top twelve plant invaders in the Vancouver area .................................. 101
Table 10.3: Top invaders in the Lulu Island Bog ........................................................ 101
Table 10.4: Planted Species in the Richmond Nature Park Wildlife Garden List .. 103
Table 11.1: Sphagnum mosses of the Fraser Lowlands, Burns Bog, and the Lulu
Island Bog .................................................................................................. 119
Table 15.1: Observed Butterflies of the Lulu Island Bog ........................................... 139
Table 15.2: Harvey’s Butterfly Records for the Richmond Nature Park (1974) ...... 139
Table 18.1: Trapping effort in each of the Lulu Island Bog properties ..................... 171
Table 18.2: Total species captures in each of the Lulu Island Bog properties .......... 171
Table 20.1: Fish species of the Lulu Island Bog .......................................................... 198
Table 22.1: Classification of peatlands according to the level of disturbance .......... 210
Table 23.1: Species totals for the Lulu Island Bog ...................................................... 217
Table 23.2: Comparison of the numbers of plant species: Burns Bog and the Lulu
Island Bog .................................................................................................. 219
Table 23.3: SARA-listed species confirmed in the Lulu Island Bog .......................... 223
Table 23.4: SARA-listed species unconfirmed, but potentially present in the bog . 223
Table 24.1: Important factors for selecting and prioritizing wetlands for
conservation, in approximate order of importance ................................ 233
Table of Contents
A Biophysical Inventory and Evaluation of the Lulu Island Bog xi
LIST OF FIGURES
Figure 1.1: The Fraser Lowland Eco-Section of the Georgia Basin Depression ......... 5
Figure 1.2: Historical bogs of the Lower Mainland ..................................................... 6
Figure 1.3: City of Richmond and surrounding islands ............................................... 8
Figure 1.4: Historical vegetation of Lulu Island, showing comparison between the
remnant Lulu Island Bog and the original extent of the peatlands ......... 9
Figure 1.5: The Lulu Island Bog study area, showing surrounding urban and
agricultural development ......................................................................... 10
Figure 1.6: Lulu Island looking east, showing the study area, former extent of the
peatlands on the island (the darker patches of underlying peat), and
proximity and relative size compared with Burns Bog .......................... 11
Figure 2.1: Environmental gradients shaping wetland ecosystems .......................... 18
Figure 4.1: Cordilleran Ice Sheet maximum of the Fraser Glaciation ...................... 24
Figure 4.2: The Fraser River from the headwaters to the mouth ............................. 24
Figure 4.3: Fraser River Delta 10,000 years ago ......................................................... 25
Figure 4.4: Fraser River Delta 5,000 years ago ........................................................... 26
Figure 4.5: Channelization in the Fraser River .......................................................... 27
Figure 4.6: Fraser River Delta at present .................................................................... 28
Figure 4.7: Formation of Levées .................................................................................. 29
Figure 5.1: Depth Below Grade to Groundwater Surface in the Lulu Island Bog .... 39
Figure 6.1: Evolution of the Fraser Delta. Source: Clague and Luternauer 1982 .... 42
Figure 6.2: Delta deposits ............................................................................................ 43
Figure 6.3: Vegetation of the Southwestern Fraser Lowland, 1858-1880 ................ 45
Figure 6.4: Fire induced hummock-hollow recycling ............................................... 47
Figure 7.1: 1948 air photo of the study area properties (lower half of photo)
showing very little development ............................................................. 52
Figure 7.2: The study area in 1976, after the establishment of the RNP, after
construction of Hwy 99, and prior to building of the East-West
Connector .................................................................................................. 56
Figure 9.1: Vegetation of Department of National Defense Property (DND) .......... 81
Figure 9.2: Vegetation of Richmond Nature Park West Property (RNP west) ........ 82
Figure 9.3: Vegetation of Richmond Nature Park East Property (RNP east) ........... 83
Figure 10.1: Distribution of Vancouver Island beggarticks (Bidens amplissima) in
British Columbia ..................................................................................... 105
Figure 10.2: Global distribution of Vancouver Island beggarticks (Bidens
amplissima) .............................................................................................. 105
Figure 10.3: Seeds from Vancouver Island beggarticks and nodding beggarticks
have different overall shape .................................................................. 106
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A Biophysical Inventory and Evaluation of the Lulu Island Bog xii
Figure 10.4: Distribution of bog-rosemary (Andromeda polifolia) in British
Columbia ................................................................................................. 106
Figure 10.5: Distribution of Chamisso’s cottongrass (Eriophorum chamissonis) in
British Columbia ..................................................................................... 107
Figure 10.6: Distribution of cloudberry (Rubus chamaemorus) in British
Columbia ................................................................................................. 108
Figure 10.7: Distribution of few-flowered sedge (Carex pauciflora) in British
Columbia ................................................................................................. 109
Figure 10.8: Distribution of velvet-leaved blueberry (Vaccinium myrtilloides) in
British Columbia ..................................................................................... 110
Figure 10.9: Distribution of White beak-rush (Rhynchospora alba) in British
Columbia ................................................................................................. 110
Figure 11.1: North American distribution of Orthotrichum pulchellum ................ 120
Figure 11.2: North American distribution of Saniona symmetrica .......................... 120
Figure 18.1: Pacific Water Shrew Canadian historical distribution map ................. 164
Figure 18.2: Washington Snowshoe Hare Canadian historical distribution map .... 165
Figure 20.1: Lulu Island drainage catchments and salmonid habitat ........................ 194
Figure 24.1: The Study Area in 1948, prior to purchase of land by the DND. The
single homestead is the only development in the study area ............... 230
Figure 24.2: The study area in 1976, after construction of Highway 99 but prior
to the building of the East-West Connector ......................................... 231
Figure 24.3: The study area in the mid-1990s ............................................................ 231
Figure 24.4: Environmentally Sensitive Areas in Richmond. Green highlighted
areas also serve to show the connectivity of the study area to other
bog remnants, and, ultimately to the river - a major corridor of
wildlife movement .................................................................................. 236
Figure 24.5: Land use and Environmentally Sensitive Areas of Richmond ............. 237
A Biophysical Inventory and Evaluation of the Lulu Island Bog xiii
FOREWORD
The editors and authors of this report are to be highly commended. With plenty of
expertise, but also with limited resources, they have researched and documented the
biological and physical components of the Lulu Island Bog in Richmond, British
Columbia. This bog, comprised of three contiguous properties, is all that remains of
the formerly extensive Lulu Island Bog in the Fraser River Delta.
But to view this report as
only
a description of these small areas would be to miss the
main point. This report is as much a political statement as a scientific report. So in
my interpretation, this report consists of two messages. One is the actual text: the
explicit biophysical inventory. The other is the subtext: the implicit political
argument in support of the long-term conservation of these three remaining parcels of
bog.
It is the political argument that I would to like address because so much is at stake.
Indeed, the future of humanity is at stake. At first glance, this will sound like an
outrageous exaggeration. But the Richmond bogs are small parts of a global
environmental condition - biodiversity - that is essential for humanity in the long
term, and the global rate of biodiversity loss is now of crisis proportions. In an
unprecedented joint statement in 1992, the Royal Society in London and the US
National Academy of Sciences warned world leaders that the current rate of
biodiversity loss “has serious consequences for the human prospect in the future.” In
the same year, most of the world’s nations, including Canada, signed the Convention
on Biological Diversity under the auspices of the United Nations. All signatory
parties (i.e., nations) agreed to conserve biodiversity primarily by way of establishing,
in each country, a sufficient network of parks and protected areas, and by the
protection (and if necessary, the recovery or rehabilitation) of rare and endangered
species and ecosystems.
All of this has a direct bearing on the three small parcels of bog land in Richmond.
But first, here is a condensed version of the full argument:
We are now in the beginning of the sixth major mass extinction event of all
time. In each of the previous five such events, deep in the geological past,
most of the world’s species went extinct. We do not know what caused the
first four, but we do know what caused the fifth event at the end of the
Cretaceous period 65 million years ago. A large asteroid collided with the
Earth, instantly creating both the Gulf of Mexico and the equivalent of a
nuclear winter, and by the time all the dust settled, the dinosaurs and most
other species on Earth had been wiped out. The geological record shows us
Foreword
A Biophysical Inventory and Evaluation of the Lulu Island Bog xiv
that after each of the first five events it took tens of millions of years for
evolution to replenish the world with new species.
The cause of the current major mass extinction event is not some geological upheaval
or extraterrestrial surprise. Instead, human activities, increment by increment, day
by day, nearly everywhere on the globe, are eradicating species by direct or indirect
means. The alteration, fragmentation, or destruction of species’ habitat is the single
largest cause of biodiversity loss globally. The overexploitation of resource species
such as the world’s marine fisheries, as well as the human-conveyed introduction of
‘exotic’ species into ecosystems where they do not belong, also takes their toll. And
climate change is predicted to compete with habitat loss as the leading cause of
biodiversity loss in the next few decades.
It may not seem as potent as an asteroid slamming into the Earth, but the human-
caused loss of biodiversity will be just as deadly and nearly as quick (both in
ecological and human time scales – a matter of decades). As Ronald Wright put it in
his recent book,
A Short History of Progress
, “We have already caused so many
extinctions that our dominion over the Earth will appear in the fossil record like the
impact of an asteroid. So far, we are only a small asteroid compared with the one that
clobbered the dinosaurs. But if the extinctions continue much longer... then the next
layer of fossils will indeed show a major hiatus in this planet’s life.”
Exactly what is biodiversity, and why is it so important for humanity? Curiously, the
answers to these questions have been somewhat elusive until recently, even among
conservation biologists. In the past, the relevant literature described biodiversity as,
roughly speaking, the sum of nature’s bits and piecesthe sum of the world’s species,
of the genes within species, and of the different types of ecosystems. And the value of
biodiversity was described in similar termsas the sum of the value of the
useful
bits
and pieces, either now or in the future.
This definition and these values seem straightforward, but they are also part of the
root cause of the current biodiversity crisis. Here’s why.
Relatively few species have economic value. Among the world’s 5 to 30 million
species, 12 crop species provide half the daily food for humanity, and a few hundred
or perhaps even a few thousand others provide the rest. We also use species for raw
materials (e.g., timber, rubber, pharmaceuticals), but once again only a few thousand
are useful. And if we look into the near future, we might discover new foods or
sources of raw materials in not-yet-tapped species. So a few thousand additional
species might be useful someday. Even if we were to go wild with our estimates and
Foreword
A Biophysical Inventory and Evaluation of the Lulu Island Bog xv
say that 100,000 species might be useful someday, we cannot account for the direct
utility of the vast majority of the world’s species.
Conservation biologists point out that potentially useful species live in ecosystems
alongside their neighboring species, and therefore we should conserve those
neighboring species too. There is some truth to this argument, but we also know
from experience that many species can be annihilated from an ecosystem without
precipitating a chain reaction that wipes out most of the species in any one ecosystem.
Conservation biologists also point out that entire ecosystems provide us with what are
known as ecosystem services’ such as the assimilation of air and water pollution, local
climate control, water storage, and carbon sequestration. National and global
economies are fully dependent on these ecosystem services; we cannot do without
them. Again, this is true, but we also know that many species can be lost from
ecosystems without noticeable or meaningful losses in ecosystem services. In short,
it’s probably true that many or most of the world’s species are economically useless in
a direct sense.
But thinking about biodiversity in an economic sense is misplaced from the start.
Viewing the value of biodiversity
as if
it were simply the current or potential
economic value of the bits and piecesgenes, species, and ecosystems is part of the
problem.
Biodiversity is not simply the sum of the pieces, nor can we value it in these terms.
Instead, biodiversity is a concept at a higher logical plane. Biodiversity is an emergent
property of the biosphere; it is an environmental condition. More importantly, it is
an
essential
environmental condition for humanity because it is necessary for the
maintenance of biological resources in the long term. Humans are absolutely
dependent on biological resources, and the maintenance of biological resources in
turn is absolutely dependent on the environmental condition we call biodiversity.
Put differently, this means that biodiversity is the
source
of biological resources upon
which humans depend.
To place this in context, I sometimes compare biodiversity to other large, essential
environmental conditions. The annual orbit of the Earth around the Sun, and the
steady rate of solar influx are two examples. If either one of these conditions were to
change slightly we might be able to adapt. The world would grow a little colder or a
little hotter, and some nations would experience worse effects than others, but it is
possible that humanity could adjust. However, a sudden and major change in either
one of these environmental conditions would spell disaster for humanity; we would
either freeze or burn to death. We need not concern ourselves with these doom and
Foreword
A Biophysical Inventory and Evaluation of the Lulu Island Bog xvi
gloom scenarios. We can depend on the Earth maintaining its same old orbital
trajectory, and we can depend on the Sun for a steady rate of light energy.
We are just as dependent on the biodiversitysource of biological resourcesin the
long term, but we are facing not just a slight change in this environmental condition;
humans are precipitating the sixth major mass extinction event of all time. Given this
reality, we can understand why one of the world’s foremost biologists, E. O. Wilson,
in an address to the US Congress in 1982, said that, “The worst thing that can happen
is not energy depletion, economic collapse, limited nuclear war, or conquest by a
totalitarian government. As terrible as these catastrophes would be for us, they can
be repaired within a few generations. The one process ongoing [currently]that
will take millions of years to correct is the loss of genetic and species diversity by the
destruction of natural habitats. This is the folly our descendants are least likely to
forgive us.”
Since the 1980s, the situation has grown worse. Species are now driven to extinction
at the rate of 100 per day according to some estimates. Half of all deforestation in
history (forests are the most biologically diverse terrestrial ecosystems) has occurred
since 1950 and the rate has accelerated significantly in recent years. In 1998, a group
of leading fisheries biologists announced that the world’s marine fisheries are in a
state of collapse, and the latest assessments are worse. Global climate change is
predicted to eliminate 15 to 35% of the world’s terrestrial species by 2050, with an
even higher proportion of losses among marine species. And the largest cause of
biodiversity loss, once again, is the alteration, fragmentation, or destruction of species’
habitats, almost entirely for short-term economic benefits.
How does all this relate to the three parcels of bog land in Richmond? I suggest five
ways.
First, the global loss of biodiversity consists almost entirely of small, local land-use
decisions. It is the net total of land-use conversions from relatively natural land to
more economically useful lands such as agricultural lands, urban areas, and
transportation corridors that is the most important factor driving the sixth major mass
extinction event. As a result, every small, local land-use decision is important,
including the fate of Richmond’s three parcels of bog.
Second and in a related manner, the power of incremental loss has been
underestimated. At the level of the
next
local land-use decision, whether or not to
convert a small, natural area for economic gain seems of so little importance on a
global scale. But when all the increments are added up, it produces a global effect.
The only way to stop the global effect is to decide to conserve instead of convertat
Foreword
A Biophysical Inventory and Evaluation of the Lulu Island Bog xvii
the local level. And this includes Richmond’s bogs. The global loss-of-biodiversity
phenomenon is not inevitable; it consists of human decisionsagain, at the local
level. Each incremental decision either contributes to the global trend of loss or
contributes to its reversal. In this sense, local decision-makers have a small part of the
fate of humanity in their hands. It’s a responsibility not to be underestimated.
Third, the importance of incremental economic gain has been overestimated. When
the value of a proposed development project is compared to the seemingly useless
species (or local population of a species) that it would destroy, the development
project seems infinitely more valuable. On a case-by-case basis, development almost
always comes out the winner. But this kind of comparison is at best deceptive and at
worst irrational. Of course a seemingly useless species has no economic value; its true
value is not commensurable with economic value. Instead, it is part of the essential
and therefore priceless environmental condition we call biodiversity. A deliberate
decision to obliterate a species’ habitat is an incremental part of a larger decision
albeit somewhat delayed and indirectto eliminate human life. The attraction of
incremental economic gain can blind us to this reality.
Fourth, biodiversity loss by habitat elimination is not something that happens only in
other areas of the world and not here in BC. The BC provincial government’s own
scientific authority, the BC Conservation Data Centre, has listed 1,367 species that are
at risk of extinction in BC along with an additional 315 distinct ecological
communities, for a total of 1,682 ‘elements’ at risk. Harvesting old-growth forests and
land-use conversions are the main culprits. Richmond’s bogs, depending on whether
they are converted or protected, could contribute to this trend or resist it.
Finally, the primary means of preventing biodiversity loss is to designate a network of
parks and similar protected areas where species and natural processes can remain
relatively undisturbed. A network among all governments is required. The federal
government’s system of national parks is not sufficient alone. Nor is each province’s
system of provincial parks. Nor is the combination of national parks and provincial
parks. Regional and municipal governments must also contribute. The Greater
Vancouver Regional District has designated parks, and so do its municipalities,
including Richmond. The relative importance of Richmond’s bog lands therefore
should not be underestimated; they are part of a larger network.
A development-minded skeptic might argue that Richmond’s bogs cannot be
important for biodiversity conservation; they are already too small. This is where the
biophysical inventory comes into its own. We now have the evidence that these
areas are intensively used by many species, and some of these species are in trouble,
meaning that any further habitat loss would put them in jeopardy. Or the skeptic
Foreword
A Biophysical Inventory and Evaluation of the Lulu Island Bog xviii
might argue that Burns Bog is protected, so the three remnant parcels of the Lulu
Island Bog are redundant and not needed for conservation purposes. But once again,
we now have the evidence: many of the species mentioned in this report are already
at risk of extinction even with the combination of Burns Bog
and
the three Richmond
parcels. If it were possible, we should be trying to rehabilitate lost bog lands, not
adding to the problem. Finally, the skeptic might want to argue that failing to
develop the three parcels of bog lands represents opportunity costs that are too high.
But in response, we can now ask, ‘Too high for whom?’ The costs might be too high
for the developers perhaps, or for those who can think only about short-term
benefits. But knowing what is at stake, we can see the importance of Richmond’s
bogs for humanity, and we now have the evidence to support it.
Dr. Paul M. Wood, RPF, RPBio
Associate Professor of Conservation Policy, University of British Columbia
Vancouver, July 2005
A Biophysical Inventory and Evaluation of the Lulu Island Bog xix
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
We would like to express our thanks to the Richmond Nature Park Society for
supporting the inventory work in the bog throughout the many years of field work
and report preparation. The Society provided office space, funding support through
grant applications, and supplies for the project. Special thanks to Brenda Bartley-
Smith, Dolly Lewko and Mickey Range for their on-going support through all stages
of the project.
We would also like to thank the City of Richmond and the Richmond Nature Park
staff for logistical support of the project, and for specific contributions to and reviews
of the inventory report throughout this process. A particular thank you to Kris
Bauder, Peter Harris, and Petra Murphy of the Richmond Nature Park, Mike Redpath
(Richmond Parks Planning), and Bill Purver (Archives). Kris Bauder’s knowledge of
park history was a significant resource, and Mike Redpath’s input on restoration ideas
and recommendations for the bog were critical contributions. A special thanks to
Terry Crowe and his staff for assistance with many parts of the project, including
review and comment on the recommendations section of the report (David
Brownlee), map preparation (Stuart Jones), and insight into the city planning process,
including city by-laws, city zoning, and specifics of the Agricultural Land Reserve.
Thanks must also go to the funders who have supported the project through grants for
hiring project biologists (Service Canada) and for coverage of printing costs for the
report (TD Friends of the Environment Foundation, the Department of National
Defence Chilliwack Region, and the City of Richmond). A special thank you to the
City of Richmond for printing the inventory report.
The substantial support and in-kind donations provided by several government
agencies and individuals were a significant part of the inventory project. A very
special thank you to Sylvia LeTay (BC Ministry of Environment), Brian Naito
(Fisheries and Oceans Canada), Ross Vennesland (Parks Canada), and Jamie Smith
(University of British Columbia) for equipment loans, presentations on Species at
Risk, and key information on the fish species of Lulu Island. This was critical support
that made our project possible. Claudio Biancini, Libor Michalak, Shawn Hilton, and
Dave Nagorsen provided key guidance on small mammal survey and identification.
A big thank you to Rachel Wiersma for taking on the task of production editor and
guiding the report through the layout, production, and printing process.
Many thanks to Don Benson who provided critical proofreading of the final report.
Acknowledgments
A Biophysical Inventory and Evaluation of the Lulu Island Bog xx
Aside from these special supporters of the project, our thanks must go to the members
of the ecology committee of the Richmond Nature Park Society and to many others
for ongoing support and contributions throughout the length of this project. So many
people have contributed to the project that its success and completion are truly a
product of their efforts. It was the ecology committee members who suggested that
we conduct an inventory and who offered their expertise and time in the process.
Thank you to the following people and agencies for field assistance, dipwell
monitoring, assistance with breeding bird surveys, guidance in survey methods,
species identifications, photo contributions, information provision and compilation,
historical information, and trap digging and placement:
Alex Fraser Research Institute, Jose Aparicio, Roger Ashton, Jane Bachman,
Michael Beck, Don Benson, Claudio Biancini, Gina Choe, David Blevins, Laurence
Brown, Kent Brothers, Kathleen Churcher, Jim Dickson, Robert Forsyth, Laura
Fries, Karen Golinski, Bev Gordon, Marie Goulden, Shawn Hilton, Alana Hilton,
Ashley Horne, Ingrid Hwang, Stephen Ife, Dave Ingram, Jocie Ingram, Mariko
Jagger, Nikaiah Jaguar, Ruth Jones, Helen Kennedy, Rex Kenner, Dennis Knopp,
Paul Kroeger, Ian Lane, Olivia Lee, Jeff Lemieux, Simon Liao, Christine Lynn,
Kevin Mack, Brent Matsuda, Libor Michalak, Gertie Moore, David Nagorsen, Tim
Oke, Eliza Olsen, Nick Page, Michael Price, Doug Ransom, Ian Robertson, Patrick
Robinson, Pamela Rutherford, Wilf Schofield, Tony Sinclair, Jamie Smith, Spencer
Entomological Museum, Harold Steves, Mary Tait, Elizabeth Thunstrom, Patty
Thomas, Vivian Tong, Rob Vandermoor, Kristine Voghell, E. R. White, Heather
Williamson, Michael Wolfe, Pamela Zevit.
Thank you to the following photographers who contributed photos to this report:
Alex Fraser Research Forest, Kent Brothers, Shannon Cressey, Lori Daniels, Jamie
Fenneman, Robert Forsyth, Karen Golinski, Hugh Griffith, Ashley Horne, Stephen
Ife, Dave Ingram, Mariko Jagger, Brian Klinkenberg, Rose Klinkenberg, Ian Lane,
Fred Lang, Gary Lewis, David Nagorsen, Royal British Columbia Museum, David
Shackleton, Rachel Wiersma, Diane Williamson.
A special thank you to Michael Beck for his long-term survey of the birds in the bog,
and to Kevin Mack and Michael Wolfe for monitoring dipwells in the bog over
extended periods.
Thanks must also go to our contract biologists who carried out our fish and small
mammal trapping and prepared key components of the inventory reports. The
inventory wouldn't have been the same without the contributions of Shannon
Cressey, Bret Jagger and John MacQueen, who worked with small mammals, fish,
birds, land snails and plants.
A Biophysical Inventory and Evaluation of the Lulu Island Bog 1
PART I: INTRODUCTION
AND GEOGRAPHY
A Biophysical Inventory and Evaluation of the Lulu Island Bog 2
A Biophysical Inventory and Evaluation of the Lulu Island Bog 3
CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION
By Rose Klinkenberg and Neil Davis
1.1 Overview
The Lulu Island Bog is a remnant of a once much larger raised bog ecosystem located
on Lulu Island in Richmond, British Columbia. Bog ecosystems are significant in
Richmond and the Fraser River Delta because they support complements of species
and plant communities that differ from the surrounding landscape and are important
elements of regional biodiversity. Worldwide, bogs play a significant role in global
carbon sequestering. For Richmond, the Lulu Island Bog is central in supporting
hundreds of species of plants and animals and occupies a prominent role in local
history.
Photo 1.1: The open expanse of the Lulu Island Bog with dwarfed shore pines,
circa 1929, prior to draining. Photo: City of Richmond Archives.
Most of the original expanse of the Lulu Island Bog has been lost to urban and
agricultural development. The remaining portions are in decline as a result of
drainage and subsequent drying of the bog, with a noticeable shift away from open
heath-dominated
1
1
Plant species in the heath family of plants, the Ericaceae.
bog with low, dwarfed conifers (Photo 1.1), to bog forest. In
recognition of the importance of the bog and the changes it is undergoing, the
Ecology Committee of the Richmond Nature Park Society determined that there was
Chapter 1
A Biophysical Inventory and Evaluation of the Lulu Island Bog 4
a need for an updated, comprehensive inventory in order to build an information base
that could inform future bog management. As Janzen (2000) argues, “inventory is
basic infrastructure for a multitude of expected and unexpected passive and active
management decisions.”
In undertaking a study of the bog, the Committee determined that inventory work
would focus on baseline data gathering as well as evaluation of the bog and its role in
biodiversity representation and regional wildlife support. The inventory was
conducted from 2002 to 2007 with the assistance of more than 40 volunteers from the
Ecology Committee.
In this report, the results of the inventory and evaluation are presented in four parts:
1) introduction, history and geography of the bog, 2) the flora, fauna and vegetation
of the bog, 3) evaluation, understanding and the future of the bog and 4) appendices,
including species checklists.
1.2 Regional Context
The Fraser Lowland
2
(Figure 1.1) or Lower Mainland
3
region of British Columbia is
rich in biodiversity and encompasses a variety of habitat and ecosystem types that
range from large marshlands, such as Sturgeon Banks in Richmond, to the small Garry
Oak ecosystems found near Yale and on Sumas Mountain. The region also includes
other specialty habitats such as hot springs, caves, balds, cliffs, seepage slopes, deep
ravines and bogs. Each of these contributes to the high biodiversity of the region. Of
the many habitat types and ecosystems present in the Fraser Lowland, however, the
bog ecosystems found in the Fraser River Delta (hereafter “Fraser Delta”) stand out.
These colder than normal ecosystems support many northern species of plants not
commonly found in the region. Many of these reach the southern limits of their
distribution in the region. The species found in bogs are often specialists and are
often from the heath family of plants
4
2
The Fraser Lowland Eco-section (hereafter “Fraser Lowland”) is a component of the Lower Mainland
Eco-region, which is part of the Georgia Depression Eco-province. Campbell et al. (1990) define the
Fraser Lowlands as “the Fraser Delta, estuary, lowlands and associated uplands”. For further
information on this region, visit the South Coast Conservation Program web site: http://www.sccp.ca,
and refer to Campbell et al. 1990.
3
The Lower Mainland region of British Columbia is variously defined. In this report, we use the term
synonymously with the Fraser Lowland.
4
Plants in the heath family (
Ericaceae
) are adapted to the cold, wet, acidic conditions found in bogs
that inhibit water absorption and result in “xeric” or desert-like conditions. The thick, waxy leaves of
these plants slow evaporation and retain moisture levels.
(refer to Chapter 2 for more details about bog
structure and function).
Chapter 1
A Biophysical Inventory and Evaluation of the Lulu Island Bog 5
Figure 1.1: The Fraser Lowland Eco-Section of the Georgia Basin Depression.
Source: Buckley and Belec 2005.
Twenty-one historical bogs have been identified in the Fraser Delta (Hebda et al.
2000) (Figure 1.2, Table 1.1). The bogs in the lower Fraser Delta are the largest of
these, and include Burns Bog (Photo 1.2) and the two historical bogs in Richmond:
the Greater Lulu Island Bog and the Lesser Lulu Island Bog. These bogs formed along
the path of the Fraser River as it meandered its way through the delta to the Pacific
Ocean.
Many bogs in the Lower Mainland have been significantly altered and much reduced
in size and condition as a result of urban development, agricultural development, and
peat mining. Loss of bogs in the Fraser Delta has been rapid, particularly in the last
decade, and it has left behind fragmented, disturbed ecosystems, and tiny remnants of
boglands in some areas. These remnants, for the most part, can no longer support the
extensive populations of larger mammals that were once a component of the region’s
bogs. For this reason, Burns Bog, the largest bog in the Lower Mainland, is
tremendously important. It is big enough to continue to support a bear population
(Hebda et al. 2000), big enough to provide an idea of what regional boglands once
looked like in scope and extent, and it provides critical representation of bog habitat
Chapter 1
A Biophysical Inventory and Evaluation of the Lulu Island Bog 6
and a broad variety of bog-related plant communities in the delta. However, while
large bogs offer the best representation of bog ecosystems, and support larger numbers
of species, we hypothesize that even small remnants play a significant role.
Figure 1.2: Historical bogs of the Lower Mainland. Source: Hebda et al. 2000.
Table 1.1: Historical Bogs of the Fraser Delta. Source: Hebda et al. 2000.
Beaver Lake Bog Langley Bog
Blaney Bog Lesser Lulu Island Bog
Burnaby Bend Bog Richmond Northeast Bog Forest
Burns Bog Pitt Meadows Bog
Camosun Bog Pitt Polder Bog
Coquitlam River Port Mann Bog
Cloverdale Bog South Port Mann Bog
Deer Lake Surrey Bend Bog
Greater Lulu Island Bog Trout Lake
Glen Valley Bog Unnamed Bog
Hett Wetlands
Chapter 1
A Biophysical Inventory and Evaluation of the Lulu Island Bog 7
Photo 1.2: Burns Bog, the largest bog in the Fraser Delta and Fraser Lowlands. Photo: David Blevins.
1.3 The City of Richmond and the Lulu Island Bog
The City of Richmond is unusual. It is an island municipality located in the mouth of
the Fraser River, and consists of a series of 24 islands that are currently recognized by
the City (Brownlee pers. comm. 2005) (Figure 1.3). The larger of these include Lulu
Island, Sea Island, Barber Island, Rose Island and Gunn Island. Most of the remaining
islands are small and undeveloped, or have had very limited development and use,
and are comprised primarily of wetlands or bottomland forest subject to tidal
influences and seasonal flooding. The largest of the islands is Lulu Island, which
supports most of the urban and agricultural development in Richmond - the
downtown core, the suburban development and agricultural areas.
While the Fraser River itself is the heart and soul of Richmond, the bogs of Lulu
Island have played a prominent role in Richmond’s life and history. Other authors
have reported that First Nations used and managed bogs in the area (Cairns 1973).
The bogs have also influenced the pattern of modern settlement on Lulu Island and
shaped how people moved about the landscape. Peat fires, and a mix of fog and
smoke, were historically part of living on Lulu Island. Poet E. Pauline Johnson
immortalized the influence of Lulu Island’s bogs in her poem
“The Ballad of Yada”:
There are fires on Lulu Island, and the sky is opalescent
With the pearl and purple tinting from the smouldering of peat.
And the Dream Hills lift their summits in a sweeping, hazy crescent,
With the Capilano Canyon at their feet.
Chapter 1
A Biophysical Inventory and Evaluation of the Lulu Island Bog 8
There are fires on Lulu Island, and the smoke, uplifting, lingers
In a faded scarf of fragrance as it creeps across the day,
And the Inlet and the Narrows blur beneath its silent fingers,
And the Canyon is enfolded in its grey.
(Johnson 1913)
Figure 1.3: City of Richmond and surrounding islands. Source: City of Richmond 2005.
Lulu Island was home to two large bogs, the formerly extensive Greater Lulu Island
Bog and the Lesser Lulu Island Bog (Figure 1.4). Today, the bogs of Lulu Island have
been severely reduced in size and integrity as a result of direct loss and conversion for
agriculture and urban development. Many cranberry and blueberry farms now
operate on the peatlands of the island. A few significant parcels of boglands remain,
plus many small, scattered fragments. The largest of these parcels are now referred to
as the Northeast Bog Forest and the Lulu Island Bog:
The Northeast Bog Forest: The Northeast Bog Forest is owned by the City of
Richmond, and is a tiny successional remnant (77 ha) (Grenier and Bijsterveld
1982) of the Lesser Lulu Island Bog. It is heavily drained by deep perimeter
ditches and surrounded by active cranberry fields. This site is now
predominantly bog forest, although some typical bog species persist.
Chapter 1
A Biophysical Inventory and Evaluation of the Lulu Island Bog 9
The Lulu Island Bog: The Lulu Island Bog is the largest remnant of the former
Greater Lulu Island Bog, and is comprised of four properties:
o Two properties that constitute the Richmond Nature Park - the city-
owned Richmond Nature Park proper (referred to in this report as the
RNP west) (43 ha) and the adjacent Richmond Nature Study Area
5
o The federally owned Department of National Defence property (DND)
(59 ha);
(referred to in this report as the RNP east) (43 ha);
o The federally owned Department of Fisheries and Oceans property
(DFO)
6
, immediately east of the DND property (55 ha).
Figure 1.4: Historical vegetation of Lulu Island, showing comparison between the remnant
Lulu Island Bog and the original extent of the peatlands. Source: North 1989.
At 200 ha, these combined properties represent the largest remaining fragment of bog
in Richmond. Many smaller fragments and remnants of the Greater Lulu Island Bog
5
This property is variously known as the Richmond Nature Park East Property, Richmond Nature
Study Centre and Richmond Nature Study Area. For the purposes of this report, it will be referred to in
this document as the Richmond Nature Study Area (RNP east).
6
This property is now generally referred to as the Garden City lands.
Chapter 1
A Biophysical Inventory and Evaluation of the Lulu Island Bog 10
persist in the surrounding areas, but these do not function as a single ecological unit.
These patches are mostly strips of drier, drained, bog forest adjacent to agricultural
fields and subdivisions and along roadways.
1.4 The Study Area
The Lulu Island Bog is a primary raised bog
7
Figure 1.5
located in the north-central portion of
Lulu Island. It is comprised of four city blocks bounded by Westminster Highway to
the south, Garden City Road to the west, Alderbridge Way and Highway 91 to the
north, and Jacombs Road to the east ( ). In initiating this inventory, the
Ecology Committee of the Richmond Nature Park Society made the decision to
include only the DND property and the two nature park properties. The federally
owned DFO property was not included in the study because of imminent
development
8
. Thus, throughout this report, the term “study area” to refers to the
three city blocks that include the two Richmond Nature Park properties and the DND
property. It also includes immediately adjacent peripheral habitats, including
perimeter ditches and open field sites around these properties.
Figure 1.5: The Lulu Island Bog study area, showing surrounding urban and agricultural development.
Source: City of Richmond 2005.
7
A primary bog is one that has never been cut for peat extraction.
8
Development has not yet occurred in the DFO lands, as of November 2008. While disturbed and
regularly mowed, the site still functions as bog ecosystem, and continues to support bog species and
provide wildlife habitat.
Chapter 1
A Biophysical Inventory and Evaluation of the Lulu Island Bog 11
In the past, prior to draining and human settlement, the Lulu Island Bog rivaled the
size and scope of Burns Bog. In the photo below (Figure 1.6), the darker colour
patches on Lulu Island illustrate the former extent of the peatlands, much of which
have now been converted to agricultural fields.
Figure 1.6: Lulu Island looking east, showing the study area, former extent of the peatlands
on the island (the darker patches of underlying peat), and proximity and relative size
compared with Burns Bog. Source: Google Maps 2007.
From March 2002 to November 2007, the Ecology Committee coordinated and
carried out a biophysical inventory and evaluation of the remnant Lulu Island Bog.
Following a preliminary assessment of the bog and its role both locally and regionally,
the Ecology Committee identified the following objectives for this study:
To inventory and document the biophysical features of the Lulu Island Bog,
including vegetation, flora, and fauna, in order to develop baseline data;
To identify significant species in the bog, including provincially blue- and red-
listed species
9
, federally listed species under the Species at Risk Act (SARA)
10
9
Blue-listed: any native species considered to be of special concern in BC (formerly designated as
vulnerable). Red-listed: includes any indigenous species or subspecies that have - or are candidates for
- Extirpated, Endangered, or Threatened status in BC. See the BC Species and Ecosystems Explorer for
provincial status designations and definitions (http://a100.gov.bc.ca/pub/eswp/).
,
and other species of concern;
Chapter 1
A Biophysical Inventory and Evaluation of the Lulu Island Bog 12
To develop a geographical understanding of the formation and function of the
bog;
To evaluate the bog as a remnant and to examine its role in regional
biodiversity representation;
To evaluate the importance of the bog for regional wildlife;
To assess the importance of the bog in education;
To assess the historical importance of the bog;
To assess the condition of the bog and the feasibility of restoration.
Data generated from this inventory serves a historical purpose, but will also allow
future comparison between this bog and others in the region. The inventory will
provide valuable data for comparison with earlier survey work in the study area that
will allow us to evaluate change over time in the bog. It will also provide insight into
management needs for this small but important regional representative of bog
ecosystems.
1.5 Inventory Methods
During this inventory of the Lulu Island Bog, our survey team generally followed
provincial inventory (RISC
11
1.6 Evaluating the Bog
) standards and recognized techniques for each wildlife
group wherever possible. Voucher specimens were generally collected for plant
groups and deposited in the UBC Herbarium. Standardized sampling techniques were
used for faunal groups, including small mammal trapping (live trapping by permit),
fish trapping (by permit), and direct pond sampling for insect groups. Insect
specimens were deposited at the University of British Columbia in the Spencer
Entomological Museum. Breeding bird census techniques were used for bird
inventory work. Recognized sampling strategies (pitfall traps and debris cover) were
employed to assess reptile and amphibian presence in the bog. Complete details on
inventory methodologies are included in each chapter.
Evaluating the importance of the Lulu Island Bog, both ecologically and socially, is
one of the objectives of this study. The site was assessed for ecological integrity and
function, its value as a natural area or nature reserve, its role in regional biodiversity,
its role as “green space” in the region and local area, and its importance to outdoor
education and recreation in Richmond.
10
Federal Species at Risk Act 2005.
11
Resources Information Standards Committee (RISC)
Chapter 1
A Biophysical Inventory and Evaluation of the Lulu Island Bog 13
In gaining insight into these topics, some specific questions that were asked during
the study included:
How disturbed is the bog?
What effects have urbanization had on the bog?
How viable is this bog remnant as an ecosystem in an urban matrix?
How large does the bog need to be to retain viability?
What function does the bog play in maintaining wildlife populations?
What influence has fragmentation had on the bog?
How connected is it to other natural areas?
Is there species exchange? Are source-sink dynamics at work? Can population
recruitment occur from outside the bog?
Is the bog a viable natural area or nature reserve?
Is active management of the bog required to maintain the current extent of the
bog ecosystems?
Can the bog be restored towards more historical bog conditions?
What role does the bog play in education and recreation?
How important is the bog as a green space?
What is the historical importance of the bog?
These questions and more are explored in this report.
Chapter 1
A Biophysical Inventory and Evaluation of the Lulu Island Bog 14
A Biophysical Inventory and Evaluation of the Lulu Island Bog 15
CHAPTER 2: WHAT IS A BOG?
By Neil Davis and Rachel Wiersma
2.1 Introduction
Bogs are the most common type of wetland in northern Canada and are very common
across the entire northern hemisphere in previously glaciated areas. Bogs receive
water only from precipitation (Charman 2002). This separates them from other
wetlands, such as fens, that receive other inflows of water. This restricted source of
water results in a low availability of nutrients in bogs (Dennison and Berry 1993).
Similar to Burns Bog, the Lulu Island Bog is a raised bog (Hebda pers. comm. 2006); a
type of bog also referred to as an ombrotrophic or domed bog (Photo 2.1). It shows
the typical characteristics of a raised bog, including a dome shape: “a peat mound
raised above the marginal wetland surfaces, an internal water mound raised above the
regional water table, acidic nutrient-poor water derived directly from precipitation, a
two-layered peat deposit (acrotelm and catotelm) … and peatland communities
dominated by
Sphagnum
and members of the heath family (Ericaceae)” (Whitfield et
al. 2006, citing Hebda and Biggs 1981).
Photo 2.1: Burns Bog is the largest raised bog in the region. Photo: David Blevins.
The morphology of this type of bog is such that a raised or domed centre causes water
to drain from the centre radially outwards. The environmental conditions in which
raised bogs form are dominated by climatic boundaries where the precipitation is
greater than the evapotransporation by 100 - 150 mm per year (Damman 1977,
Proctor 1995), the local humid, temperate climate facilitates
Sphagnum
peat
Chapter 2
A Biophysical Inventory and Evaluation of the Lulu Island Bog 16
accumulation (Clymo 1992, Giller and Wheeler 1986) and the water table is at or near
the ground surface year round (Ingram 1982, Schouwenaars and Vink 1992).
Bogs are typified by acidic (low pH) growing conditions and very little water flow.
These conditions create very specialized habitats dominated by mosses and supporting
many heath species.
Sphagnum
moss species are competitively dominant in acidic
growing conditions and play a central role in bog formation (Dennison and Berry
1993, Vitt 1994, Van Breeman 1995).
Sphagnum
is capable of floating on the water
surface due to a high concentration of air in its cells, and forms a mat that can expand
over adjacent areas (Dennison and Berry 1993); eventually developing what is known
as a quaking bog
1
Peatlands in general have distinctive thermal climates (Oke pers. comm. 2006). Bogs
are colder than the surrounding landscape and other ecosystems. They support many
species of plants that are more commonly found further north. The lower
temperature of bogs often results in fogs, a feature that once typified Lulu Island,
when bogs were a predominant and undisturbed feature of the Richmond landscape
(Photo 2.2).
. It also contributes to the acidification of the bog environment, a
positive feedback mechanism that serves to reinforce growing conditions favourable
for bog development (Vitt 1994).
Photo 2.2: Lulu Island Bog in winter. Photo: David Blevins.
1
Quaking bogs are wetlands that have formed over the surface of shallow ponds, creating unstable
quaking surfaces. The Lulu Island Bog is a quaking bog.
Chapter 2
A Biophysical Inventory and Evaluation of the Lulu Island Bog 17
Additionally, because of their unique conditions (acidic, cold, low nutrient
environment), they support species that are bog specialists--species that thrive in
these unusual conditions and are not found outside of them. In spite of being
saturated with water, little water in a bog is actually available to most of the plant
species that grow there. The low pH of bogs inhibits water uptake, resulting in what
is ecologically a xeric, or dry, habitat. The high and stable water table, low water
flow and low nutrient content typical of healthy bogs create very slow rates of
decomposition which leads to the accumulation of dead organic matter, called peat,
which is another key feature of bogs. Peat is the organic soil that forms the bog
substrate. Because only bog specialists can grow under bog conditions, bogs tend to be
low in species diversity. However, the species and plant communities found in bogs
are not commonly found in other ecosystems. So while they have low diversity, the
species they support are rare at lower latitudes.
Bogs are found across the north temperate zone of North America, Europe and Asia
(Dennison and Berry 1993). Wetlands, of which bogs are one type, cover
approximately 6% of B.C., and are commonly found in low-lying areas where water
accumulates. These areas are also frequently the most subject to agricultural,
industrial and urban development. In the Lower Mainland, developments like this
have led to significant alteration and destruction of bogs (Banner and Mackenzie
2000).
2.2 Bog Classification
At the national level, numerous wetland classification systems have been developed
to serve different purposes for different end users. To create a common foundation
that would foster understanding across different user groups, the Canadian Wetland
Classification System was developed based on the categorization of key ecosystem
processes such as water budget, carbon budget, and water quality (Zoltai and Vitt
1995). Bogs are one of the five classes of wetlands defined in this system.
The provincial wetland classification method in British Columbia integrates several
classification systems to reflect the importance of numerous factors including climate,
hydrology and geomorphology, each of which is cited as a driver of environmental
variables in wetlands (Dennison and Berry 1993, NWWG 1993 as cited in Banner and
MacKenzie 2000). In British Columbia, the Biogeoclimatic Ecosystem Classification
(BEC)--originally developed for terrestrial ecosystems--is the primary tool for
classifying wetland features, with standard BEC criteria modified to better describe
wetland site associations (MacKenzie and Banner 1995). The environmental gradients
used to define wetlands include Soil Nutrient Regime, Soil Moisture Regime, pH/Base
Cations ratio and Hydrodynamic Index (Vitt 1994 as cited in Banner and Mackenzie
Chapter 2
A Biophysical Inventory and Evaluation of the Lulu Island Bog 18
2000) (Figure 2.1). Physical characteristics important in determining wetland type,
such as hydrophysical form and hydrogeomorphic form, are also incorporated into
classification (Banner and MacKenzie 2000). Hydrophysical form describes the
hydrological landscape feature. Hydrogeomorphology describes topographic position
in relation to hydrological factors.
Figure 2.1: Environmental gradients shaping wetland ecosystems. Source: Vitt 1994, as
modified in Banner and MacKenzie 2000.
A Biophysical Inventory and Evaluation of the Lulu Island Bog 19
CHAPTER 3: A GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE ON BOGS
By Lori Bartley and Neil Davis
3.1 The Global Issue
The global issue facing bogs/peatlands is their destruction. Over 50% of the earth’s
wetlands are bog ecosystems and they are considered threatened internationally
(International Mire Conservation Group 1984). They are the targets of development
for agriculture, forestry, horticulture, fuel and other commercial ventures around the
world. On a global scale, all natural bogs have been eliminated in the Netherlands
and Poland. Switzerland and Germany each have only 500 hectares of remaining
bogs. In the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland, nearly 90% of the
peatlands have been destroyed (Irish Peatland Conservation Council 2002).
Photo 3.1: Cultivated or highbush blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum), an eastern species,
is grown as a blueberry crop in Richmond. Photo: Brian Klinkenberg.
Agriculture has greatly affected peatlands. Millions of hectares have been drained
and converted into farms around the world. Much of the land in the United Kingdom
that is currently used for agriculture was once peatland. In other parts of the world,
peatlands have been converted to pastures for grazing anima