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Laughlin Lake 2

Kuula is a platform that allows you to take virtual tours by exploring a series of 360° photo spheres. Just click anywhere in the image and drag, and you can look around! if you see an icon, click on it, and a small window with text, a picture, and/or a video will pop up. To navigate to the next sphere, look for the 'Forward' and 'Back' arrows on the screen - alternatively, you can click on the slides at the bottom of your window to jump around. This tour has 6 different photo spheres - 3 taken before the wetland was built, and 3 shortly after. Enjoy the tour!

Laughlin Lake is the largest wetland ecosystem on Galiano Island and serves as the headwaters for Greig Creek, the site of the Galiano Conservancy’s coho salmon reintroduction program. The location of the lake puts it between several other protected areas in the Mid-Island Protected Areas Network, making it key to landscape level connectivity. The area is home to several species at risk, including the blue-listed northern red-legged frog (Rana aurora), blue dasher (Pachydiplax longipennis), western pondhawk (Erythemis collocata), and great blue heron (Ardea herodias fannini). The lake is maintained by beavers (Castor canadensis), who have constructed a series of dams along the eastern shoreline. The lake was drained in the 1890s for agricultural purposes. It was not until the 1970s - when beavers re-colonized the area - that standing water began to collect once again in the Laughlin Lake basin. In the late 1970s, the east end of the lake was heavily disturbed by a gravel pit operation that mined up to the water's edge, expanding the lake area by creating a “bay” in the depression left by the gravel extraction. In the 1990s, the construction of Vineyard Way further disturbed the eastern shoreline of the like. By the 1990s the basin had filled to pre-agricultural levels. Between 2002 and 2004, the Galiano Conservancy and community volunteers performed significant restoration treatments along the eastern shoreline of Laughlin Lake. Today, the results of those treatments are a testament to the power of community-based restoration. Click around to explore and learn more!

You are standing at the tip of a peninsula that extends beyond the Eastern shoreline of Laughlin Lake. In the 1980s and 1990s (see photo on the right), human disturbance related to gravel extraction and road construction de-forested most of the Eastern end of Laughlin Lake, including this peninsula. Today (see photo on the right) thanks to the Galiano Conservancy's ongoing restoration of the site, the forests in this area are well on their way to recovery.

For most of the the last century, Laughlin Lake wasn't a lake at all! It was drained sometime in the late 1800s or early 1900s, and as you can see from these aerial photos (taken between 1950 and 1998), the area where the lake is today was an agriculture field, used for food production. At some point in the late 1970s and early 1980s, beavers (Castor canadensis) returned to the area and began to build dams - you can see the field beginning to flood in the photo from 1987. By the 1990's, Laughlin Lake was once again fully flooded. Today, it is maintained by a series of beaver dams located along the Eastern shoreline.

Learn about beavers and wetland ecology with this sing-a-long from our 2020 Holiday Special!

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