New wetland comes to Oak Bluff West

Jun 14, 2022
OBW phase 5 wetland cover photo

A new wetland is now under construction in Phase 5 of Oak Bluff West. It will be the communities’ first wetland since 2013. Naturalized wetlands have become key features in Oak Bluff West and their construction is a detailed and timely process.

It takes multiple phases or stages that progress over several years for a wetland to reach full maturity. However, once completely established, a naturalized wetland provides many benefits to a community including helping to clean the watershed, providing valuable habitat for local wildlife and plant species, and offering a place of relaxation and recreation for residents and visitors alike.

Take a look below to see how it all begins and grows:
wetland-2 months old An example of a two-month-old naturalized wetland is taking shape.

The wetland depicted above is two months old and the land has been graded or contoured into a series of levels. In this photo, the distinct elevation tiers or ‘shelves’ are obvious as the water level is still very low and remains below the topsoil line.

Wetland- A year old

A year-old wetland in Phase 5 of Oak Bluff West.

This is the wetland in Phase 5 of Oak Bluff West. It was dug in 2020 and in this photo, it is one year old. Wetlands are usually seeded with native plants and grasses after one year of being constructed. With the lengthy process of creating a naturalized wetland, they are typically created during the same year that the surrounding lots are serviced and the communities’ roads are installed.
Wetland- Two years oldWetland trail- Two years old

Examples of a two-year-old naturalized wetland beginning to grow.

These are examples of a two-year-old wetland. In some cases, erosion control blankets are installed over the seeds to protect them from erosion and help them establish successfully. At this stage, as the water levels rise, the lower aquatic plants like bulrushes and sedges begin to grow along the shoreline. Native grasses that are tolerant to fluctuating water levels also begin to establish on the lower banks. Ducks and other small wildlife can be seen on the water, followed by larger birds such as herons and pelicans.

At this stage, lots for homes that surround the naturalized wetland have usually been divided adjacent to the park. Fencing is installed and sod is planted at the rear of the lots. Native grasses bordering a constructed pathway are beginning to take-hold. Park markers, trees and benches are also usually added along the trail network at this point.

OBW wetland-Phase 1

An established naturalized wetland of 10 years in Phase one of Oak Bluff West– SUCCESS-ion.

Oak Bluff West currently has two mature naturalized wetlands to explore. The naturalized wetland in Phase one of Oak Bluff West was dug in 2011 and seeded in 2012, while the wetland in Phase two was dug in 2012 and seeded in 2013. Succession has been fully established in both naturalized wetlands in Phases one and two of Oak Bluff West – meaning native grasses and shrubs including upland species are now sprouting and growing naturally. This process can begin taking place in wetlands as young as four-years-old.

Commonly occurring species along naturalized wetlands include willows at the banks, as well as maples, dogwoods and viburnum near the trails. Additionally, various native prairie flowers begin to appear within the native grasses.

Many species of songbirds (alongside the owls, herons and pelicans) can be seen and heard in the area. Smaller mammals such as foxes and hares now call this mature habitat, home – as do fish, frogs and turtles and many kinds of beneficial insects like dragonflies, butterflies and bees.

OBW trail

Oak Bluff West trail.

These carefully created naturalized wetlands are well worth the wait! Not only do they create stunning natural landscapes that feature native plants and grasses, but they also make our neighbourhood healthier by serving a number of important ecological functions. 

Upon its completion, Oak Bluff West will be home to more than seven acres of wetlands and more than five acres of prairie landscape. From swooping eagles to deer grazing on the horizon, you’ll experience nature at its best while relaxing in your backyard! Lots backing onto the phase 5 wetland are currently for sale through our custom builders. Learn more about the benefits of naturalized wetlands here.