I would like to thank Dr. Karen Johnson, Gloria Keleher, Laura Reeves and Gerry Oliver for their generosity in lending their professional expertise to this project. I am especially grateful to Dr. Johnson for her comments and suggestions. Special thanks to Doris Ames for her help with the survey and preparation of this report.
Any errors in this report are strictly the responsibility of the author.
Native Orchid Conservation Inc.
35 St. Michael Road
This report is intended to present the information compiled so far by Native Orchid Conservation Inc. on the native flora of the Gull lake Wetlands. It also includes a brief description of the wetlands and recommendations for their ongoing management.
The Gull Lake Wetlands. 50° 25' N 96° 31' W, is located near the southeast corner of Lake Winnipeg, Manitoba. It is immediately northeast of the Brokenhead First Nations Reserve. A very unusual area, it was first known as the Scanterbury Bog. Scanterbury was a tiny siding on the railroad between East Selkirk and Beaconia (where the railway turns east to Stead and then north to Pine Falls). The southern portion of the wetland is bisected by Highway 59; the main remaining wetlands are just west of Highway 59, north of the junction with secondary highway 219 to Stead. Dr. Karen Johnson has said that these wetlands have more rare and unusual plants, including rare orchids and carnivorous plants, than any other known site in Manitoba.
Description of the Area
The Gull Lake Wetlands are a topographically confined raised bog, with some central ponds and marginal wet troughs (flarks) and a marginal fen. (See aerial photographs - Appendix 1). A fen is a kind of peatland characterized by a high water table with slow internal drainage by seepage down very gradual slopes. This slow moving ground water is enriched by nutrients from upslope materials and thus fens are more mineral rich and less acid than bogs. The pH of the groundwater in this fen is approximately 7.0 to 7.5. Section 34 Township 16 Range 7E comprises the biggest part of the fen and is the most interesting from a botanical perspective. The vegetation has a high proportion of sedges along with many other rare and interesting plants.
Once there were hundreds of filled ponds in the wetland but since
the construction of Highway 59 through the area, only about 15% of the ponds still have water
in them. Some feeder streams were cut off
by the construction but 10 are still active, two of them still keeping some of
the ponds supplied with water. Use of a
well in the nearby gravel pit may also have damaged some of these streams by
drawing down the water table. Two
locations show indications that streams were once present, with one of them
having water coming out of it at present. A more
thorough investigation needs to be done on the sources of the
water supply for these wetlands.
We have collected 350 plant species in the wetlands, including 28 species of native orchids. As well, eight species of insectivorous plants, including the rare Oblong-leaved and Linear-leaved Sundews and Horned Bladderwort, occur here. Twenty-three species of rare plants have thus far been discovered in this fen. One of these, the Bog Adder's Mouth Orchid, is rare in Canada. A complete index to species found at Gull Lake is tabulated in Appendix-2.
Our recommendations for the management of this very special area, based on observations made during this botanical survey, are:
Budd, A. C. 1987 Budd's Flora of the Canadian Prairie Provinces. Research Branch, Agriculture Canada Publication 1662.
Jones, Geoff B., Jason Greenall and Elizabeth Punter 1999 A Preliminary Vegetation Survey of the Gull Lake Wetland Areas Report No. 99-04. Terrestrial Quality Management Section, Manitoba Department of the Environment, Winnipeg
Johnson, Karen L. 1986 Rare Plant Alert! An Orchid List for Manitoba. Manitoba Naturalists Society Bulletin 11(9):13.
Petrie, W. 1981 Guide to Orchids of North America. Hancock House, Vancouver
Scoggan, H.J. 1978 The Flora of Canada. National Museum of Natural Sciences, Publications in Botany, NO. 1 (1-4) National Museums of Canada. Ottawa, ON 4 vols.
White, D. J. and Karen Johnson 1980 The Rare Vascular Plants of Manitoba. Syllogeus 27, National Museums of Canada, Ottawa.
Appendix-1 is not available on this website.
Appendix-3 is not available on this website.