What are wetlands?

Rain falling into a puddle

Wetlands are lands saturated by water for all or most of the year. All wetlands are essential to life and water quality, but not all wetlands are the same.

A swamp is a wetland that is forested, dominated by woody plants such as trees and shrubs. Swamps are often found along the shores of rivers or lakes and depend on water flowing through them to create natural fluctuations in the water level.

A marsh is a wetland dominated by emergent herbaceous (non-
woody) plants like grasses, rushes, or reeds. Emergent plants are rooted underwater but have leaves or stems that reach out above the surface, such as cattails. Marshes are frequently or continually flooded and act as a shoreline transition between the aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. Both swamps and marshes can have aquatic vegetation.

A bog, also known as a quagmire or muskeg, is a peat-depositing wetland that may or may not be connected to a lake or stream. Being fed mostly by rainwater or snow melt, bogs tend to have few nutrients and are acidic. Under these conditions, plants grow and decay slowly. Distinct species

of plants and animals seek out bogs for their homes, and as such bogs provide pockets of exceptional biodiversity.

Fens are similar to bogs as they often have an abundance of peat, however, fens are able to support marsh-like vegetation such as sedges or wildflowers because they are often connected to slow moving water, meaning they will have more nutrients, and can therefore support different wetland species from a bog.

Learn more in the full Lakes of Victoria, BC guidebook.

Cover of Lakes of Victoria, BC.

In the full guidebook, discover where to:

  • Walk: enjoy lakeside strolls & boardwalks.
  • Hike: discover single-track trails & scenic views.
  • Swim: find the best beaches to soak up the sun.
  • Fish: learn about stocking trends and piers.
  • Paddle: explore shorelines, and hidden bays.
  • Bike: plan your next route and hit the trails.

Along the way you will meet the animals and plants that call these lakes and watersheds home, unearth forgotten place names, and learn stories of days past.

The book is full of useful maps, access information, and local trivia to get you started on your next family day or great adventure.

From locals to visitors, everyone will learn something new about the freshwater lakes that bring Victoria to life.