Great Big Bog Restoration Cleanup Report
Presented on behalf of the DRBIPA Bog Restoration Committee
Feb 15, 2022
On November 5, 6, and 7, 2021, 88 volunteers worked together to manually remove a total of 5.21 tons of industrial debris from Langley Bog, in Langley Township, BC. Volunteers included student groups, seniors, and local residents. This was the first cleanup event held at Langley Bog since peat harvesting stopped in 1980, not only removing contaminants from this important ecosystem, but raising awareness. Following the cleanup event, local citizens have offered to volunteer for future events.
Over 5 tons of wood waste was removed from Langley Bog. Since the wood was produced prior to 2004, it was likely treated with chromated copper arsenate (CCA) (Government of Canada 2019). CCA-treated wood retains arsenic even after 20 years (Environmental Working Group 2002) and leaches arsenic as well as copper, chromium, and zinc into the surrounding soil (Lebow et al. 2002).
A total of 16 tractor tires were removed from Langley Bog, a marked increase from the original five tires proposed in this grant. In acidic conditions such as the bog, where pH is between 3 and 5, rubber tires leach barium, cadmium, chromium, lead, selenium, and zinc into the surrounding environment (Evans 1997). Rubber tires are also a fire hazard as their high carbon content allows them to absorb heat, making them difficult to extinguish once ignited (US Fire Administration 1998).
Over 500 industrial plastic bags were removed from the peat where they had been buried over one meter deep immediately adjacent to the former processing plant. Plastic bags do not readily decompose and are known to leach heavy metals such as cadmium and lead into the environment (Ohidul et al. 2018).
Appreciation and gratitude go out to all the passionate nature-loving volunteers who came out for this project! Especially for enduring the rain and muddy terrain on the way out of the bog area to higher ground where all the debris was being collected for pickup. Hard work really does pay off...and it was hard! We directly reduced the input of contaminants to help restore the unique PH of the bog wetlands. Bogs are ancient ecosystems that were formed by glaciers during the ice age. One of the most amazing things about bogs, is how bog moss has the ability to absorb and hold accumulated CO2 from the atmosphere. And as the planet continues to warm due to high levels of CO2 in the atmosphere, protecting and restoring peatlands, such as the Langley Bog, is more important than ever.
If you'd like to get involved reach out to us at DRBIPA anytime. We invite park association members to join our Bog Restoration Committee. Donations can also be made to DRBIPA via Pacific Parklands Foundation. Donations support our bog restoration projects and are tax-deductible — just be sure to select Derby Reach Brae Island Parks Association from the list.