As far back as 1888, William Ralph mapped “The Great Beaver Swamp” in a survey of District Lot 61. Since his 1888 survey, the beaver dam has been breached and this wetland was briefly used as pasture in the middle of the 20th century. In its more recent history, the beaver have returned to the area and have restored the “Great Beaver Dam” so that the approximately 6 hectare wetland system is today a similar size to that described by William Ralph in 1888.
The Great Beaver Swamp is one of the largest wetlands on Galiano, an island where surface water is scarce – especially in the summer months. It provides valuable habitat for birds and amphibians and is a regular watering hole for Black-tailed deer, River Otter, Mink and other mammals. It is also the source of Beaver Creek which flows northeast to Cable Bay on the Georgia Straight side of Galiano.
|“[The Great Beaver Swamp] is an excellent example of landscape and watershed-level conservation planning that ensures protection of not just an individual wetland or stream, but the entire wetland complex, stream and riparian areas.”|
|The BC Conservation Data Centre|
The acquisition of the Great Beaver Swamp is an integral component in the protection of the Beaver Creek Watershed, which is protected by both Crown land and Conservancy land in the Pebble Beach Reserve. With the acquisition of the Great Beaver Swamp completed, it will now become a part of the Pebble Beach Reserve, and is an integral part of the Mid Galiano Island Protected Areas Network.
The acquisition of the Great Beaver Swamp and the adjoining Pebble Beach Reserve has been supported by the Galiano Community, Nature Conservancy of Canada, Islands Trust Fund and Pacific Marine Heritage Legacy.