While Elk/Beaver Lake might look pretty, its water quality is “deteriorating” thanks to excessive nutrients. A an open scheduled for later this month will give interested area residents and groups a chance to comment on the development of a watershed management plan. (Skye Eriksen/Submitted)

CRD looks to deal with deteriorating water quality of Elk/Beaver Lake in Saanich

Open house scheduled for July 31 at Greek Community Hall at 4648 Elk Lake Drive

An open house seeks public input on ways to reverse the “deteriorating” water quality of Elk/Beaver Lake in Saanich.

The event scheduled by the Capital Regional District (CRD) for July 31 at the Greek Community Hall at 4648 Elk Lake Drive affords interested area residents and groups a chance to comment on the development of a watershed management plan. It takes place after the CRD hired temporary staff in 2017 to develop a remediation strategy and to establish a watershed management plan with three goals: reduce blue-algae blooms, improve fish habitat, and manage weed growth to improve recreational use.

Internal CRD research in partnership with an intergovernmental working group (IWG) had found that a high level of nutrients coming from external and internal sources have undermined water quality.

“Studies show the water quality of Elk/Beaver Lake is deteriorating,” said the CRD in a release announcing the forum. “High nutrient levels have contributed to algae blooms, increased invasive aquatic plant growth, low dissolved oxygen levels, and decreasing water clarity. Many levels of government are involved in the lake and are working collaboratively to address the water quality issues.”

RELATED: No more scum at Elk Lake: CRD

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

The upcoming forum on July 31 starts with an open house from 5:30 to 7 p.m., followed by a presentation running until 8 p.m. Interested parties can also submit comments online or take part in a workshop later this summer. A draft watershed management plan will see the public light later in 2019, following the initial feedback. Subsequent feedback will inform the CRD board in developing a final watershed management plan. A separate in-lake remediation plan currently underway will deal with the internal nutrients that have built up in the lake sediments.

The question of water quality has long vexed the CRD. In March 2019, the CRD lifted — not for the first time — a toxic algae advisory that lasted for several months. In June 2018, a senior CRD manager said the region risks losing the social and economic benefits of Elk/Beaver Lake Regional Park without efforts to improve water quality.

“Overall, water quality in the lakes is declining and with cyanobacterial [blue-green algae] blooms increasing in frequency and duration in Elk and Beaver Lakes, the risk to health of humans and pets and park use is rising,” said Glenn Harris, senior manager of environmental protection in a report.

Elk / Beaver Lake Regional Park ranks as the most-used park in the region, generating 1.5 million visits, and hosts several athletic competitions. “These activities can bring significant economic contributions to the region,” said Harris at the time.

RELATED: Rowing Canada will keep some of its oars in Saanich, say officials

RELATED: North Cowichan will host new permanent rowing centre starting October 2020

A technical report prepared by Rowing Canada Aviron had also raised concerns about the ecological state of Elk/Beaver Lake thanks to the frequency of blue-green algae blooms. An official with Rowing Canada Aviron acknowledged this aspect earlier this year, but said the lake’s ecological state was not the decisive factor in Rowing Canada Aviron’s decision to establish a permanent national training centre in North Cowichan instead of Saanich.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

wolfgang.depner@saanichnews.com

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

Just Posted

Victoria council recommends prioritizing housing for people in the area for at least a year

The motion passed unanimously during committee of the whole meeting

Deal Street artist to host front yard art show this weekend

Ojibwe artist inspired by West Coast features and landscapes

Victoria woman to sell masks on wheels after garage stand shut down

Mama’s Masks stand accompanied Moss Street Market

Greater Victoria non-profit advocates for the use of psilocybin for terminal patients

North Saanich psychotherapist pushes for alternative treatment

Gathering marks 10 years since nearly 500 asylum-seekers landed off Victoria shore

The 492 people fleeing violence, war crimes and genocide in Sri Lanka were detained for months

578 British Columbians currently infected with COVID-19

Seventy-eight new cases confirmed in past 24 hours

Captive fawn seized from Island home

Valley resident charged and fined under the Wildlife Act

Bamfield residents, visitors pressure province as anniversary of fatal crash approaches

Letter-writing campaign makes ‘heartfelt, emotional pleas’ to improve road conditions

Pandemic could be driving more parents to get on board with flu shot: study

University of B.C. study gauges willingness for parents to vaccinate children for influenza

Watchdog clears Okanagan RCMP in death of man after arrest over alleged stolen pizzas

The man died in hospital after having difficulty breathing and broken ribs

Have you seen Berleen? B.C. pig destined for sanctuary goes missing

Berleen was less than two weeks from travelling to Manitoba when she vanished

Health Canada says several kids hospitalized after eating edible pot products

People warned not to store cannabis products where children can find them

‘It’s not just about me’: McKenna cites need to protect politicians from threats

Police investigation was launched after someone yelled obscenities at a member of McKenna’s staff

Michigan plans dedicated road lanes for autonomous vehicles

First study of its kind in the U.S. to figure out whether existing lanes or shoulders could be used

Most Read