"Wetlands is a comprehensive term for landforms such as salt marshes, swamps, bogs,
prairie potholes, and vernal pools (shallow depressions that seasonally hold water). Their common feature is that they
are wet at least part of the year and as a result have a particulr types of vegetation and soil." (Botkin and Keller, 1998)
Where are the wetlands in the Cypress Hills?
There are three main bodies of water in the Cypress Hills:
There are also two smaller reservoirs (Bullshead Reservoir and Michelle Reservoir), three main creeks (Beaver Creek, Battle Creek, and
Graburn Creek), and numerous springs and sloughs.
Postcard. Photograph by O. Tarnasky
What function to wetlands serve?
Wetlands serve a variety of services for ecosystems and people, such as being:
- a natural sponge to absorb water during floods and release it later.
- an area of groundwarer recharge and discharge.
- a nursery for fish, shellfish, aquatic birds, and other animals.
- a natural filter to help purify water.
- a highly productive system for cycling nutrients and chemicals.
- a coastal buffer from storms.
- a storage site for organic carbon.
- aesthetically pleasing places for humans. (Botkin and Keller, 1995)
Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park, Alberta.
What animals might you find in a wetland?
Depending what type of wetland you are visiting, you may find different animals. Many fish
and amphibians (such as the Northern Leopard Frog
and Boreal Chorus Frog) live in the water of wetlands for all or part of their lives.
beavers build dams and lodges
in lakes and large creeks. The Red-winged Blackbird and Yellow-headed Blackbird are two birds that most visitors to lakes will hear singing their territorial songs and see
perched on tall bullrushes (cattails). Some other birds which live in wetlands include:
Solitary Sandpiper and Spotted Sandpiper
and many species of ducks and mergansers.
(Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park, Alberta, pamphlets)
Great Blue Heron
Great Blue Heron - Canadian Wildlife Service
Trumpeter Swan - Canadian Wildlife Service
Canadian Goose - Canadian Wildlife Service
Beaver - Canadian Wildlife Service
Picture of Beaver
Moose - Canadian Wildlife Service
Picture of Moose
Where can you visit wetlands in the Cypress Hills?
Day 1 - Lakeshore Trail along the edge of Elkwater Lake
Day 2 - Beaver Creek
Day 3 - Reesor Reservoir, Battle Creek, and Graburn Creek
Prairie Wetland Ecology Team
Wetland Ecology Research at the Devonian Botanical Garden
Wetlands - Canadian Wildlife Service
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