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

Sooke’s Paul Larouche gold snipes along Sooke River, a process in which he uses a mask and snorkel to find pieces of gold. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
Hitting the jackpot: Sooke man finds niche audience by gold-panning on YouTube

Paul Larouche, 29, with over 215,000 subscribers, opens up about his journey

Retiring local politicians Carole James and Andrew Weaver will receive annual payouts estimated at $87,000 and $34,000, respectively, under the pension plan for outgoing MLAs in B.C., according to the Canadian Taxpayers Federation. (Black Press Media file photos)
Taxpayer watchdog howling over outgoing MLAs’ pension payouts

Carole James, Andrew Weaver among Island MLAs whose pensions are calculated by taxpayers federation

An incident on Sooke Road is slowing traffic Wednesday evening. (Courtesy of Mona Hazeldine)
Second driver not found after Sooke Road crash snarls evening traffic

Two vehicles involved in rear-end crash Wednesday evening

An untitled Emily Carr painting of Finlayson Point was donated to the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria by brothers Ian and Andrew Burchett. The painting had been in their family for several decades. (Courtesy of the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria)
Newly public Emily Carr painting depicts well-known Victoria view

Painting among several donated to Art Gallery of Greater Victoria

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count jumps by 287, another senior home outbreak

Two more deaths recorded, community outbreak in Okanagan

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Oct. 27

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Robert Riley Saunders. (File)
Court approves money for B.C. foster children alleging harm from Kelowna social worker

The maximum combined total award for basic payments and elevated damages for an individual is $250,000

MMFN First Nation has said that it will restrict access to portion of Highway 28 that passes through the Nation’s land until a road use agreement is reached. (Black Press file photo)
Vancouver Island First Nation blocks highway access to logging trucks in Gold River

Mowachaht/Muchalaht First Nation restricting access for Western Forest Products pending road deal

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
Rescued bald eagle that came to life in B.C. man’s car had lead poisoning

Bird is on medication and recovering in rehab centre

The B.C. Centre for Disease control is telling people to keep an eye out for the poisonous death cap mushroom, which thrives in fall weather conditions. (Paul Kroeger/BCCDC)
Highly poisonous death cap mushroom discovered in Comox

This marks first discovery on Vancouver Island outside Greater Victoria area

Cowichan Search and Rescue set up near the Silver Bridge in Duncan on Wednesday morning, Oct. 28, 2020 to rescue a dog from the Cowichan River. (Citizen file)
Cowichan Search and Rescue save dog from icy Cowichan River

Search and Rescue’s swiftwater team was called in

Premier-elect John Horgan and cabinet ministers are sworn in for the first time at Government House in Victoria, July 18, 2017. (Arnold Lim/Black Press)
Pandemic payments have to wait for B.C. vote count, swearing-in

Small businesses advised to apply even if they don’t qualify

Most Read