Wetlands & Watersheds

The ecological benefits of wetlands are amazing.

Hamilton Marsh

Hamilton Marsh

Hamilton Marsh is the largest body of water in the French Creek Watershed.  The image above is telling for its reach regarding water. The wetland is 36 hectares and sits within 360 hectares of forest.  It’s the most prolific waterfowl brood marsh on Central Vancouver Island a remnant of what once existed.  “Little Hamilton Marsh” as it’s known is Kitty corner (as the crow flies) to Big Hamilton Marsh where Pheasant Glen Golf Resort now sits.

For over 40 years local community groups have tried to preserve and protect Hamilton Marsh. The Friends of French Creek Conservation Society – Hamilton Marsh Committee for the last 12 years.  

The French Creek Watershed is the most stressed watershed on Vancouver Island

See the 2002 French Creek Watershed Study Report: http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/van-island/es/french_creek/index2.htm

 

 

 

Wetlands as Infrastructure:

 

“Wetlands help to reduce the level of sediments, nutrients and toxic chemicals in the water.  Learning from natural wetlands, many communities now use biofiltration wetlands to remove urban and agricultural contaminants before they enter streams.

The economic value of wetlands  has been estimated at more than $22,000 per hectare per year for the hydrological, water quality, habitat and other functions they provide and estuaries are valued at $34,000 per hectare per year.” 

*From brochure now out of print “Saving Wetland Sensitive Ecosystems” sponsored by the Environment Canada, Province of BC Ministry of Environment, and the Habitat Conservation Trust Fund.

Therefore Hamilton Marsh at 36 ha in size could have wetland values of more than 792,000 per year in services.

Here is an excellent article from the Tyee:  New Model Helps Cities Value Natural Assets, Like Wetlands, as infrastructure.

Hamilton Marsh is the largest body of water in the French Creek Watershed.  Read the French Creek Watershed Study.

It also contributes to the Qualicum Beach watershed and has been linked to the Grandon Creek Watershed.

Habitat Values:

*”Most wetlands are nodes of high biological diversity and support a large number of species and plant communities.  They are extremely productive as breeding and feeding areas for wildlife and offer a variety of habitat niches.  For example, a typical wetland might have a central area of open water that supports ducks and geese, a march fringe where herons feed on threespine stickleback and northwester salamanders lay their eggs, and a forested swamp margin where black bears feed on skunk cabbage roots in the spring.  Treed wetlands provide nesting sites for species such as woodpeckers and some species of owls.” 

*From brochure now out of print “Saving Wetland Sensitive Ecosystems” sponsored by the Environment Canada, Province of BC Ministry of Environment, and the Habitat Conservation Trust Fund. 

Hamilton Marsh