Wednesday 19 October 2016

Know Your Wetland Classes, Part 5: Shallow Open Water

Did you know that there are 5 classes of wetland in Canada? Learn to recognize them and get acquainted with the wetlands near you. You can learn about all 5 classes of wetland in greater detail by reading the Canadian Wetland Classification System. This post is Part 5 of a 5 Part series entitled Know Your Wetland Classes.

The theme this week is shallow open water. You can find Part 1 of the series (Fens) here, Part 2 (Bogs) here, Part 3 (Swamps) here and Part 4 (Marshes) here.

Shallow Open Water is a wetland class usually found between lakes and marshes. They are small bodies of standing or gently flowing water usually less than 2 meters deep. Ponds, potholes, oxbows and channels are all different types of shallow open water bodies.  Aquatic macrophytes such as water lilies are often found floating on the surface.  

Shallow open water in Deer Lake, part of the Upper Humber
River Management Unit. 
Shallow open waters can be formed in multiple ways. Irrigation ponds and reservoirs are-man made while others can be a result of beaver damming. However, they are most commonly formed through glacial action. Unlike lakes, these bodies of water have a uniform temperature throughout due to their shallow depth.

Amphibians, reptiles, crustaceans, mammals, and fish can all be found in shallow open waters. They also make excellent breeding grounds for insects such as mosquitos and black flies. In Newfoundland and Labrador, they are a preferred habitat for moose and beavers. Additionally, ponds and prairie potholes provide excellent habitat for diving ducks, such as the lesser scaup, canvasback, ring-necked duck, along with other species of birds.

Monday 3 October 2016

August and September SAM Community Updates

Participants at the SAM Fall Meeting, September 2016

SAM Fall Meeting 2016

Participants at the SAM Fall Meeting
SAM held its Fall 2016 meeting in Happy Valley - Goose Bay on September 23-24. Participants were welcomed on Friday evening at the Labrador North Chamber of Commerce, with opening remarks from Town Councillor (and SAM Vice-President) Tony Chubbs. The business meeting on Saturday included community updates from 19 member municipalities, and was followed by a tour of Birch Island Creek Management Unit, a natural area that is undergoing extensive restoration. SAM President Linda Bailet welcomed the Honorable Perry Trimper, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, who spoke about the provincial government's commitment to a wetland policy strategy. The weekend was capped off with a Sunday morning tour of the Muskrat Falls dam construction site, courtesy of Nalcor. Thank you to all of the municipalities that were able to send a representative, and a big thank you to the Town of Happy Valley - Goose Bay for hosting. See you all at our next AGM, in Spring 2017!

SAM Network News & Updates

  • We are pleased to welcome Laura King as the new SAM Conservation Biologist! Laura is currently working in Mauritius under a Canada's New Noah scholarship with Wildlife Preservation Canada, and will be moving back to Newfoundland and Labrador at the end of October to officially begin her position. Laura will be based in St. John's, and can be reached at
  • During the SAM Meeting in Happy Valley - Goose Bay, SAM VP Tony Chubbs and President Linda Bailet spoke to the CBC about the importance of wetland conservation and the Birch Island Creek restoration project. You can listen to it here
  • This year, the Community Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador's grant program will focus on programs that mark the 150th anniversary of Canada's confederation. This can include celebrations, commemorative projects, arts programs, environmental clean-ups, and other community initiatives that include a new component for 2017. Applications will be accepted for the first round of funding from September 1 to October 31, 2016. Apply here.

Churchill River, Happy Valley - Goose Bay
Mapping Wetlands: Happy Valley - Goose Bay

Fieldwork for the wetland mapping pilot project wrapped up for SAM staff in the Happy Valley - Goose Bay area in early August. The landscape offered an interesting combination of channel fens and large bogs, with the sandy substrate of the Churchill River never far from sight. 

Exploring the Limestone Barrens:Port au Choix and Flower's Cove

Plants on the Limestone Barrens
The municipalities of Port au Choix and Flower's Cove are two examples of communities that signed Species at Risk stewardship agreements. These agreements are designed to protect a rare habitat type called the Limestone Barrens. These calcium-rich environments may indeed look bare at first, but are actually home to an unusually high diversity of plant life, including three species that are found nowhere else on earth.

Thrombolites, Flower's Cove