West Swale Wetlands

WORLD WATER DAY

March 22, 2021

Today is World Water Day!   Forests, grasslands and water (wetlands) all play a part acting as a carbon sink, and reduce greenhouse gases.  World Water Day is a United Nations observance.

“The trees and vegetation which cover the land surface of the Earth and delight the eye, are therefore performing vital tasks incumbent upon the vegetable world in nature. The glorious rich, colourful, quilted covering of vegetation is not there merely to feed and please us. Its presence is essential to Earth as an organism. It is the first condition to Earth as an organism. It is the first condition of all life; it is the ‘skin of the Earth, for without it there can be no water and, therefore, no life. ” Richard St. Barbe Baker.

Council of Canadians’ Blue Communities Project encourages us all to take action now.

The Saskatoon Afforestation areas i.e. Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area, George Genereux Urban Regional Park, provide many recreational opportunities in a semi-wilderness setting such a bird watching, cycling, cross-country skiing, nature hikes, and photography. The areas offer significant wildlife habitat and a corridor for movement as they are major parts of a larger natural swale (West Swale) that connects natural habitat north of the Hwy 7 railway overpass and the CN line heading west with the Ducks Unlimited Chappell Marsh Conservation Area on the south. This in turn connects the South Saskatchewan River valley, Saskatoon’s major wildlife corridor. The areas have marshlands as well as lands re-naturalized by tree planting. The area drains into the river upstream from Saskatoon’s water intake, making removal of trash and hazardous waste such as oils and antifreeze which can leach into the soils and water table imperative.

Challenge

For our challenge today, we would like you to email to us at friendsafforestation@gmail.com what you think would belong in a list for the Rights of Rivers! We will revisit the  International Day of Action for Rivers from March 14, think of how you, personally can take action forWorld Water Day! The theme for International Day of Action for Rivers 2021 is celebrating the Rights of RiversWe have a spectacular challenge for our Winter Staycation for you!  Download the World of Water Day Communication Package

Today World Water Day it is a day to think about the South Saskatchewan watershed! What is the South Saskatchewan watershed you say?

South Saskatchewan River Basin Shannon_1 CC4.0

This above picture shows the river basin, the catchment area, or the drainage basin for the South Saskatchewan River. This is a contemporary image of the south Saskatchewan River Basin. The image which follows shows the formation of the West Swale from the Yorath Island Glacial Spillway. The hydrological surface drainage patterns shown in the topological map above are a stark difference to the glacial spillway below which shows that the waters in the Glacial North Saskatchewan combined with Glacial Rice Lake. When the waters from the retreating glacier reached a great volume, the shoreline of Glacial Rice Lake could not contain the water anymore. and there was a sudden surge of spillwaters through the Yorath Island Channel and the Moon Lake Channel cascading in an eruption across the Cory Plains until the waters were stopped in the Glacial South Saskatchewan Lake. Yorath Island was formed from the deposited till and rubble of this Pleistocene Glacial event. Today we create river drainage maps for the North and South Saskatchewan Rivers. The glacial spillway with its huge surge of water created a momentous and catastrophic joining between the two basin areas. Because of the land topography, there are remains of the Yorath Island Channel and the Moon Lake Channel seen today on Google Satellite maps, and they show evidence of the rich and lush riparian waterway which once existed, and which is still connected through underground springs and wetlands.

Yorath Island Channel, Moon Lake Channel, Sutherland Channel and Cory Plain Channel Pleistocene Era South Sk River Valley 2588000 to 117000 years ago Adapted from Larry Edwin Hodges
Yorath Island Channel, Moon Lake Channel, Sutherland Channel and Cory Plain Channel Pleistocene Era South Sk River Valley 2588000 to 117000 years ago Adapted from Larry Edwin Hodges

This was a contributing factor to the formation of the South Saskatchewan River as we know it today. As you walk in Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation area imagine the Pleistocene ice age mammals startled by the glacial spillway. Imagine this same ice age mammals creating new trails along the two new rivers in the Moon Lake Channel and the Yorath Island Spillway. Wonder as they wandered to the water’s edge for a drink of water. Where would the Palaeo-Indian fit into this scenario? Would they similarly follow the animal trails? Would they hunt the ancient ice age mammoths. Would the Palaeo-Indian find the two new rivers in the Moon Lake Channel and the Yorath Island Spillway handy to help them forage, and find food to eat? There were major encampments found where these channels met the Glacial South Saskatchewan Lake. As you walk in the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area, imagine living during the time of ice age mammoths.

Then, appreciate the semi-wilderness habitat we have in Saskatoon today. Along with the waterfowl, do we have other animals using the West Swale Wetlands named after B.T. Chappell as Chappell Marsh? Have you spotted a muskrat or any ducks, geese, herons, or terns? The West Swale is a geological treasure in the City of Saskatoon.

During this day, International Day of Action for Rivers, think of how you, personally can take action for the International Day of Action for Rivers! The theme for 2021 is celebrating the Rights of Rivers

Today think of geology, and geography, and the history of ancient rivers which formed today’s rivers which we appreciated so much.

For our Winter Staycation challenge today, we would like you to email to us at friendsafforestation@gmail.com what you think would belong in a list for the Rights of Rivers!

Download our local wetlands bird checklist Pamphlet

The areas have 17 acres of wetland marshes as well as 143 acres of woodlands re-naturalized by tree planting. The area drains into the river upstream from Saskatoon’s water intake, bringing to the forefront a call for environmental stewardship. The eco-system management programme monitors substances which leach into the soils and water table.

For directions as to how to drive to “George Genereux” Urban Regional Park

For directions on how to drive to Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area

  Canada Helps

For more information:

Blairmore Sector Plan Report; planning for the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area,  George Genereux Urban Regional Park and West Swale and areas around them inside of Saskatoon city limits

P4G Saskatoon North Partnership for Growth The P4G consists of the Cities of Saskatoon, Warman, and Martensville, the Town of Osler and the Rural Municipality of Corman Park; planning for areas around the afforestation area and West Swale outside of Saskatoon city limits

Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area is located in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada north of Cedar Villa Road, within city limits, in the furthest south west area of the city. 52° 06′ 106° 45′
Addresses:
Part SE 23-36-6 – Afforestation Area – 241 Township Road 362-A
Part SE 23-36-6 – SW Off-Leash Recreation Area (Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area ) – 355 Township Road 362-A
S ½ 22-36-6 Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area (West of SW OLRA) – 467 Township Road 362-A
NE 21-36-6 “George Genereux” Afforestation Area – 133 Range Road 3063
Wikimapia Map: type in Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area
Google Maps South West Off Leash area location pin at parking lot
Web page: https://stbarbebaker.wordpress.com
Where is the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area? with map
Where is the George Genereux Urban Regional Park (Afforestation Area)? with map

Pinterest richardstbarbeb

Facebook Group Page: Users of the George Genereux Urban Regional Park

Facebook: StBarbeBaker

Facebook group page : Users of the St Barbe Baker Afforestation Area

Facebook: South West OLRA

Twitter: StBarbeBaker

Please help protect / enhance your afforestation areas, please contact the Friends of the Saskatoon Afforestation Areas Inc. (e-mail)

1./ Learn.

2./ Experience

3./ Do Something: ***

Forget yourself. Become one with eternity. Become part of your environment.~ Yayoi Kusama

“This is not a partisan debate; it is a human one. Clean air and water, and a livable climate are inalienable human rights. And solving this crisis is not a question of politics. It is our moral obligation.” — Leonardo DiCaprio

Water ~ critical long range planning

Water quality month

 

 

The trees and vegetation, which cover the land surface of the Earth and delight the eye, are performing vital tasks incumbent upon the vegetable world in nature. Its presence is essential to earth as an organism. It is the first condition of all life; it it the ‘skin’ of the earth, for without it there can be no water, and therefore, no life.~Richard St. Barbe Baker

On this blue planet, there is water, a lot of water. According to the U.S. Department of the Interior | U.S. Geological Survey the Earth’s surface is covered with around 71 percent of water, and of this huge vast body of water 96.5 percent of the water on earth is in the oceans. So these leaves 3.5 percent as fresh water as streams, rivers, lakes, and groundwater. Did you know that when considering “total freshwater, over 68 percent is locked up in ice and glaciers. Another 30 percent of freshwater is in the ground.source

“When the well is dry, we learn the worth of water.” ~ Benjamin Franklin

What does this mean when it comes to the afforestation areas of Saskatoon? Botanists consider the entirety of the lands designated as afforestation areas as wetlands. Of the wetlands, only a small portion are class IV permanent wetlands which may also be termed the north end of Chappell Marsh. The remaining land mass of the afforestation areas are, well, forest to the average visitor to this amazing area of Saskatoon.

“Water is the most critical resource issue of our lifetime and our children’s lifetime.The health of our waters is the principal measure of how we live on the land.” ~ Luna Leopold

The Chappell Marsh wetlands of the West Swale are teeming with ducks and waterfowl. As one of the only sites in Saskatchewan to view the Ruddy Duck, it possesses the capacity to provide foraging, and breeding grounds for many other species, Blue heron, Black crowned Night Heron, Pelicans.

“We forget that the water cycle and the life cycle are one.” ~ Jacques Cousteau

What will happen with Saskatoon’s growing population? The West Swale is a low lying area with its confluence at the South Saskatchewan River. The trajectory of the West Swale connects the North Saskatchewan River through Rice Lake, Grandora through to Saskatoon. Where the intermittent streams on the surface flow towards the South Saskatchewan River, the bedrock aquifer – the groundwater flows towards the North Saskatchewan River, making the West Swale vitally important to the water hydrology of Saskatchewan, and all communities down stream.

“Anything else you’re interested in is not going to happen if you can’t breathe the air and drink the water. Don’t sit this one out. Do something. You are by accident of fate alive at an absolutely critical moment in the history of our planet.” ~ Carl Sagan

It is quite intriguing to watch the city’s long-range plans. When new neighbourhoods are being planned and developed for Saskatoon’s Growth Plan to Half a Million what percentage of the wetlands are being conserved by developers to sustain water quality for the booming city. How does housing density and formulas for neighbourhood population conserve and interact with area previously designated as wetlands? If a wetlands is not in a preservation or conservation zone, what percentage of wetlands is deemed prudent to maintain? If approximately 570 acres of land are set aside for development of a neighbourhood to be home to around and about 10,000 residents, what happens if this land happens to have wetlands in it? Have any cities set precedents in regards to percentage of wetlands conservation areas as urban centres expand outwards?

Calgary:
“In 1981,it was estimated that 78 per cent of the pre-settlement wetlands in Calgary had been lost. Today, the estimate is closer to 90 per cent. Urban development
is now extending into areas of significant wetland complexes, some of which are considered provincially and nationally significant to breeding waterfowl.”Source

The Calgary wetland conservation policy ensures that there is “No Net Loss” of Calgary Wetlands by promoting their conservation and/or mitigation within areas of future urban development and within transportation and utility corridors.”

Edmonton:

“The City will dedicate permanent, semi-permanent, and seasonal wetlands (i.e., Class III, IV, and V Wetlands in the Stewart and Kantrud system) and all peatlands as Environmental Reserve upon subdivision of land. (The Way We Green 3.5.2)” In addition to this, Edmonton sets aside municipal reserves, environmental reserves and public lands of water beds and shores.Source

Is it more prudent to infill the wetlands and construct a housing neighbourhood with the pre-requisite low, medium or high density population no matter what the geographical terrain?  Is 23% of existing wetlands inventory maintained as constructed wetlands an acceptable environmental resource for urban growth in contemporary times?

The wetlands existing in the afforestation areas may be “preserved in perpetuity.” However, there are wetlands in the West Swale not in a preserved area for example west of Sk Highway 7 near the West compost depot. What has happened for example in the long range planning of the wetlands in regards to Saskatoon’s neighbourhoods ~ what percent of the wetlands inventory were conserved?  What will happen to the expanses of West Swale wetlands water areas ~ these wetlands outside of preservation zones?

Ask the City of Saskatoon, the Mayor or your city councillor today.

“Thousands have lived without love, not one without water.” ~ W.H. Auden

“In the setting of standards, agencies make political and technical/scientific decisions about how the water will be used. In the case of natural water bodies, they also make some reasonable estimate of pristine conditions. Natural water bodies will vary in response to environmental conditions. Environmental scientists work to understand how these systems function, which in turn helps to identify the sources and fates of contaminants. Environmental lawyers and policymakers work to define legislation with the intention that water is maintained at an appropriate quality for its identified use.Source” We need to conserve, and carve out a place for wetlands for future generations to ensure water quality.

Remember World water Day is celebrated on 22nd of March and Water Quality Month is August.

“Water, thou hast no taste, no color, no odor; canst not be defined, art relished while ever mysterious. Not necessary to life, but rather life itself, thou fillest us with a gratification that exceeds the delight of the senses.” ~ Antoine de Saint-Exupery

while knowledge about nature is vital; passion is the long-distance fuel for the struggle to save what is left of our natural heritage and ~ through an emerging green urbanism ~ to reconstitute lost land and water. Passion does not arrive on videotape or on a CD; passion is personal. Passion is lifted from the earth itself by the muddy hands of the young; it travels along grass-stained sleeves to the heart. If we are going to save environmentalism and the environment, we must also save an endangered indicator species: the child in nature. ~Richard Louv.

FURTHER NOTES
Saskatoon Wetlands policy.

Saskatoon Wetland policy document wetlands design guidelines?

Growth Plan Half a Million City of Saskatoon.
For more information:

Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area is located in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada north of Cedar Villa Road, within city limits, in the furthest south west area of the city. 52° 06′ 106° 45′
Addresses:
Part SE 23-36-6 – Afforestation Area – 241 Township Road 362-A
Part SW 23-36-6 – SW Off-Leash Recreation Area (Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area ) – 355 Township Road 362-A
S ½ 22-36-6 Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area (West of SW OLRA) – 467 Township Road 362-A
NE 21-36-6 “George Genereux” Afforestation Area – 133 Range Road 3063
Wikimapia Map: type in Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area
Google Maps South West Off Leash area location pin at parking lot
Web page: https://stbarbebaker.wordpress.com
Where is the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area? with map
Where is the George Genereux Urban Regional Park (Afforestation Area)? with map

Pinterest richardstbarbeb

Facebook Group Page: Users of the George Genereux Urban Regional Park

Facebook: StBarbeBaker

Facebook group page : Users of the St Barbe Baker Afforestation Area

Facebook: South West OLRA

Twitter: StBarbeBaker

Please help protect / enhance /commemorate your afforestation areas, please contact the Friends of the Saskatoon Afforestation Areas Inc. (e-mail)

Support the afforestation areas with your donation or membership ($20.00/year).  Please donate by paypal using the e-mail friendsafforestation AT gmail.com, or by using e-transfers  Please and thank you!  Your donation and membership is greatly appreciated.  Members e-mail your contact information to be kept up to date!

QR Code FOR PAYPAL DONATIONS to the Friends of the Saskatoon Afforestation Areas Inc.
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Payment Options
Membership : $20.00 CAD – yearly
Membership with donation : $50.00 CAD
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Twitter: StBarbeBaker

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