Located in the Cinnabar Valley neighbourhood in south Nanaimo, Richard's Marsh Park is an excellent place to enjoy a bit of nature. Featuring a trail and boardwalk with interpretive signage, this serene spot is also an active marsh. It's a great place to birdwatch and view life within a marsh.
Marshes are amongst the most productive ecosystems. As part of a larger watershed, they can reduce the damage caused by floods by slowing and storing flood water. They recharge groundwater supplies and moderate stream flow which is very important during times of drought. Marshes are also natural water filtration systems filtering excess nutrients from surface runoff. With these high levels of nutrients they are able to sustain diverse plant communities which, in turn, support a wide variety of wildlife.
When in Richard's Marsh listen and watch all the activity from the wildlife - especially the birds. You would never know you were in an urban setting. You may even spot a great blue heron, virginia rail, beaver or pacific tree frog. Other wildlife that call this place home include red tailed hawks, piliated woodpeckers, mallard ducks, little brown bats, river otters, long-toed salamanders and voles. Some plants that can be found in Richard's Marsh Park include cattails, reed canary grass, salmonberry, oceanspray, western hemlocks and sword ferns.
World Wetlands Day is held every February 2 marking the adoption of the Convention on Wetlands in the Iranian city of Ramsar in 1971. The day is meant to raise awareness of the importance of wetlands. About 6% of the Earth's surface is covered by wetlands. The total area covered by marshes has severly decreased due to human development. This loss has lead to severe flooding in some areas, slope instability and habitat loss. However, this has lead to the understanding of how important marshes and wetlands are. More wetlands are being conserved, restored and even created to replace the ones lost.
Take a Moment...to birdwatch. Use the Nanaimo Parks Search to find a great birdwatching park near you along with directions on how to get there.