Rowers make their way across Elk Lake at sunset. (Arnold Lim/News staff)

Algae bloom at Elk Lake prompts CRD advisory notice

Reappearance of blue-green algae lethal to dogs a constant concern for water quality

Evidence of blue-green algae has once again been found in samples taken from Eagle Beach at Elk Lake, prompting an advisory notice from the Capital Regional District.

In a release, the CRD said the samples tested positive for a type of blue-green algae that can produce cyanotoxins.

These algae – detected at the park before – can also cause headaches and abdominal pain in humans or lead to liver damage in dogs, if the water is ingested.

RELATED: Environmental concerns could sink Saanich’s bid to host Rowing Canada’s national training centre

The CRD is warning visitors not to swim at Elk Lake and keep animals on a leash to prevent them from drinking or swimming in the lake. Currently, no algae has been detected in Beaver Lake, despite the bodies of water being connected.

According to the release, the algae usually produce a visible blue-green sheen, which appears as surface scum.

“Not all blooms are easy to see and toxins can still be present in the water even if you cannot see the blooms,” it reads. “Blooms are unpredictable and may occur at any time.”

RELATED: CRD steps up efforts to improve Elk/Beaver Lake water quality

The health of Elk and Beaver lakes has been deteriorating for years and is threatening its recreational uses.

In June, Glenn Harris, senior manager of CRD’s environmental protection said the region risks losing the social and economic benefits of Elk/Beaver Lake Regional Park if substantial efforts to improve the water quality are not taken.

The District of Saanich currently awaits a decision from the national committee of Rowing Canada after they bid to make Elk Lake the location of the organization’s training centre and there is concern the water quality could sink those efforts.

The algae – last found in the lake in 2017 – and geese droppings are also an annual threat for the two triathlons held there each summer.

In 2016, two triathletes from California who flew to Vancouver Island to compete in the Ironman 70.3 suffered mild complications after a practice swim in Beaver Lake and chose not to compete.

In 2011, the CRD lifted a health advisory from Elk Lake just two days before more than 300 participants dove in at Hamsterly Beach for the Self Transcendence Triathlon.

RELATED: Saanich councillor says efforts to improve Elk/Beaver Lake underway

For updates on the advisory, visit or follow them on Twitter @crd_bc.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Elk Lake

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Area residents concerned about aftermath of McKenzie interchange construction

Ministry says neighbours’ concerns being heard, will be addressed

West Shore’s 10 worst intersections for crashes in 2019

Millstream Road, Veterans Memorial Parkway area continues to be a hotspot

One dead as fish boat sinks off southern Vancouver Island

Shawnigan Lake-registered Arctic Fox II went down off Cape Flattery, west of Victoria

Saanich council seeks more information after hearing Uptown-Douglas plan

Council asks for further reports on economic, housing, transportation plans for corridor

Three active COVID-19 cases on Vancouver Island

Since July 24, Central island has had five new cases, North one, South none

Man arrested after stabbing incident at makeshift camp near Vancouver Island mall

RCMP in Parksville report 28-year-old man taken into custody without incident

Canucks ride momentum into NHL playoff series against defending Stanley Cup champs

PREVIEW: Vancouver opens against St. Louis on Wednesday

Man, 54, charged in connection with fatal attack of Red Deer doctor

Doctor was killed in his walk-in clinic on Monday

Landlord takes front door, windows after single B.C. mom late with rent

Maple Ridge mom gets help from community generosity and government

42 more people test positive for COVID-19 in B.C.

The province has recorded no new deaths in recent days

Joe Biden selects California Sen. Kamala Harris as running mate

Harris and Biden plan to deliver remarks Wednesday in Wilmington

Lawsuit launched after Florida child handcuffed, booked and briefly jailed

Suit alleges “deliberate indifference” to what should have been handled as a behavioural issue

Russia approves vaccine, Putin hopes to begin mass production

Critic calls decision to proceed without thorough testing ‘dangerous and grossly immoral’

Most Read