A smaller Onondaga Escarpment runs east – west is located along the northern shoreline of Lake Erie. Consisting of Onondaga limestone cap rock, this escarpment runs through Buffalo, New York and Fort Erie, Ontario. This escarpment is most noticeable east of Buffalo, however rarely rises more than 10 meters.
Substantial breaks in the Onondaga Escarpment have allowed Lake Erie waters to flow into the low lands of the Wainfleet Marsh 10,500 – 11,000 years ago and again 4,000 – 5,000 years ago during periods of time when the water level in the Erie Basin was much higher from the influx of waters from glacial Lake Agassiz.
Other physical breaks in this escarpment can be found at Lowbanks and Highway #58 in Port Colborne.
Between the Niagara Escarpment and the Onondaga Escarpment is a relatively flat and poorly drained lowland called the Tonawanda plain.
The Wainfleet Bog Conservation Area is part of the only bog wetland in the Niagara Peninsula, offering a ‘northern’ like experience. The underlying peat material has live sphagnum moss and other bog plants growing on top, like Labrador tea, cotton grass and leatherleaf, making it different from other wetland areas.
Being relatively young in geologic time, this domed bog was formed between 12,000 and 5,000 years ago as the glaciers from the last Ice Age melted and retreated. Water ponded in the low, flat land behind the adjacent Onondaga Escarpment, which prevented surface water from draining south to Lake Erie. Over time this open water area filled in as plants died and provided a habitat for unique flora and fauna able to withstand the acidic and low nutrient site conditions.
Trails and boardwalks wind you through this wet, wild and wonderful place. You will experience the history of this site, from the peat archives of plant pollen and debris dating back over 5,000 years, to a former peat extraction area and equipment remnants (from the late 1800’s to 1980’s). Bog plants, butterflies, migrating songbirds and animals make their homes in the restored habitat sections. Enjoy your day visit along hiking trails with interpretative signs and ample nature appreciation opportunities. The bog is also an excellent venue for nature photography.
Season: Year round
Operating Hours: 8 a.m. to Dusk
Directions: 20389 Erie Peat/Side Road 4, Wainfleet
For further information on the Wainfleet Bog, Contact:
Kim Frohlich, Ecologist, 905-788-3135 ext 241