Articles | Volume 17, issue 9
Research article
05 Sep 2013
Research article |  | 05 Sep 2013

Regional and local patterns in depth to water table, hydrochemistry and peat properties of bogs and their laggs in coastal British Columbia

S. A. Howie and H. J. van Meerveld

Abstract. In restoration planning for damaged raised bogs, the lagg at the bog margin is often not given considerable weight and is sometimes disregarded entirely. However, the lagg is critical for the proper functioning of the bog, as it supports the water mound in the bog. In order to include the lagg in a restoration plan for a raised bog, it is necessary to understand the hydrological characteristics and functions of this rarely studied transition zone. We studied 13 coastal British Columbia (BC) bogs and identified two different gradients in depth to water table, hydrochemistry and peat properties: (1) a local bog expanse–bog margin gradient, and (2) a regional gradient related to climate and proximity to the ocean. Depth to water table generally increased across the transition from bog expanse to bog margin. In the bog expanse, pH was above 4.2 in the Pacific Oceanic wetland region (cooler and wetter climate) and below 4.3 in the Pacific Temperate wetland region (warmer and drier climate). Both pH and pH-corrected electrical conductivity increased significantly across the transition from bog expanse to bog margin, though not in all cases. Na+ and Mg2+ concentrations were generally highest in exposed, oceanic bogs and lower in inland bogs. Ash content in peat samples increased across the bog expanse–bog margin transition, and appears to be a useful abiotic indicator of the location of the bog margin. The observed variation in the hydrological and hydrochemical gradients across the bog expanse–bog margin transition highlights both local and regional diversity of bogs and their associated laggs.