Biodiversity in the Wetland

Stepping into Nature - Minden Riverwalk

Biodiversity in the Wetland

Minden, Ontario K0M 2A1, Canada

Created By: Haliburton County Master Gardeners


Behind you are 400 meters of boardwalk that takes you through a marsh of Cattails (Typha latifolia), grasses and Buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis), and brings you to the Cultural Centre on your left or the fair grounds on your right. If you have the good fortune to live close to a marsh you will be able to observe the comings and goings of the most biodiverse ecosystem on the planet.

Wetlands are comparable to rainforests and coral reefs for the sheer number of plant and animal species that they support. Some people see swampy land as a breeding ground for mosquitoes with no inherent value. They itch to drain the land, fill in the low spots and use it for agriculture, housing or industry. Around the world such unrestrained uses have changed the climate, released tons of carbon into the air, extinguished untold animal species, created droughts, fouled the water, eroded shorelines and caused destructive and widespread flooding.

The township of Minden has had the foresight to make this wetland into a park. And it’s a good thing because without this wetland, the damage to roads and properties from 3 significant flood events in a recent 6 year period could have been a whole lot worse. The Minden marsh absorbs a great quantity of water during a torrential rain storm. The water spreads out along low lying areas, but if there are no marshes to slow and filter the water then the banks will overflow and the flooding will be more severe. These and other marshes help to balance the level of water throughout the year within the Gull River watershed. The Minden Wetland also filters out pollutants and excess nutrients, reducing the algae growth in Gull Lake and others downstream. Too much algae growth robs the lake of oxygen which can result in the death of fish and is a sign of a system badly out of balance. No one wants to live on a dead lake.

The forested hillsides and shorelands around Minden and its lakes also play a critical role in our health, safety and well-being. Forests filter and regulate the flow of water, namely their leaves capture and slow the fall of rain to the forest floor, which acts like an enormous sponge, absorbing up to 46 centimetres (15 in) of precipitation before gradually releasing it to streams and recharging ground water. On average an untouched forest floor can absorb two-thirds more rain than a cover of suburban turf.

If you have a low spot on your property, think about making it an attractive feature instead of filling it in. If it’s in a sunny area, you might want to plant Blue-eyed Grass or the native bright red Cardinal Flower. If it receives shade, how about planting a fernery? There are any number of native ferns and other moisture loving plants for sun, shade and the in between.

The Haliburton Highlands Land Trust created an informative booklet on protecting wetlands on your property:

Common buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis L.) is found here and is a handsome spreading, multi-branched shrub or sometimes small tree with many branches having balls of showy white flowers resembling pincushions and button-like balls of fruit. Ducks and other water birds and shorebirds consume the seeds. It’s also called a honey plant because butterflies and bees are drawn to its sweet nectar and aromatic flowers. It is suited to very wet soils so consider planting it in a water garden, bog or pond area.

This point of interest is part of the tour: Stepping into Nature - Minden Riverwalk


Leave a Comment



Download the App

Download the PocketSights Tour Guide mobile app to take this self-guided tour on your GPS-enabled mobile device.

iOS Tour Guide Android Tour Guide



Updates and Corrections

Please send change requests to