Threats to Burns Bog

This unique ecosystem is at risk from all sides.

Today, over 500 acres of historic Burns Bog remain as privately owned lots. This land is not protected under the ecological covenant, and is vulnerable to development proposals with appropriate land designations. Current development proposals on these lands include a cold storage facility proposed by Earth King, an industrial development proposed by MK Delta, and an industrial development proposed by Beedie Development Group.

Existing threats to the Bog include the landfill, which can potentially expose Burns Bog to contaminated water and increased nutrients, and highways, which constrain and isolate populations to a shrinking habitat. Peat harvesting also left Burns Bog full of ditches which reduce the water table in Burns Bog. The City of Delta and Metro Vancouver are actively attempting to block these ditches to improve the hydrology of the ecosystem.

The largest natural threat to Burns Bog is fire. Large fires have occurred in 1977, twice in 1990, 1994, 1996, 2005, 2007 and in 2016. While fires naturally occur in terrestrial systems, the rate of fires far exceeds what is expected in a healthy wetland. Frequent fires promote the succession of non-wetland species, drastically altering the ecosystem for both flora and fauna alike. These fires occur frequently due to 2 reasons. The first reason is the altered hydrology of the system. As the system is drained and damaged, it becomes more vulnerable to perturbations. The second reason is the human cause of fires. Many of the fires that have occurred in Burns Bog in recent years have started due to careless human activity. Restoring the hydrology of Burns Bog, and preventing unwanted human fires will greatly increase the ecosystem services of Burns Bog.