The Ecosystems

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The Wetlands
Swan Lake was formed 12,000 years ago when the last glacier receded. The underlying bedrock, exaggerated by the scouring action of the glacier, provided the basin which defines the lake boundary.

Today, the lake is shallow warm and flourishing with life despite the pollution created by urbanization of the surrounding area The lake is fed by a large watershed to the north and east which includes Blenkinsop Lake. The water drains westward from the lake into the Colquitz River to Portage inlet and meets the ocean at the Victoria Harbour. Consisting of 48 hectares the lake area includes streams, small forested areas, woody shrubs and large areas of grass.

As the seasons change so do the plants and animals that are here. During the winter months, the lake and flooded fields provide resting and feeding areas for a variety of grebes, ducks, and other waterfowl. In spring and summer the forests and blooming hedgerows are filled with nesting birds such as warblers, sparrows, wrens and finches. The fields of cattails and marsh grass are alive with calling red-winged blackbirds and marsh wrens. Muskrat, river otter and mink make their homes in the rock walls and quarry beside the lake and are found here year round. The threatened Western Painted Turtle can be seen in and around the lake.

Christmas Hill…The Garry Oak Meadow
Christmas Hill includes diverse assemblages of some of the region’s rarest plant communities, including deep-soil Douglas Fir and Garry oak woodland, rock outcrop, and vernal pond communities. The Hill is home to approximately 250 plant species and eight plant species at risk. Bedrock formations typical of the geology of this region have shaped the character of Christmas Hill.

The main management activities on Christmas Hill to date have been the removal and control of invasive exotic plants. Over time, natural succession has changed the environmental structure of many of the lower elevation ecosystems from open woodlands and meadows to forested thickets. These ecological changes threaten the continued growth of some meadow species as well as some plant species at risk.

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