Saanich resident Dorothy Chambers spotted a blue-green algae bloom at Beaver Lake. (File contributed/Dorothy Chambers)

CRD seeks feedback on Elk/Beaver Lake management plan in effort to reduce algae blooms

Tactics include creek management, goose population control

The Capital Regional District (CRD) is looking for public feedback on its upcoming lake watershed management plan for Elk and Beaver Lake.

For decades the lake has been affected by external factors, resulting in poor water quality, frequent algae blooms, invasive plant growth and poor habitat for the native wildlife.

The CRD has worked with many partners to come up with a remediation process in a two-part approach: an in-lake remediation plan, which will look to reduce high levels of nutrients in the water, and a watershed management plan to address external sources of the nutrients which come in from local land use, both urban and agricultural.

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

According to a CRD report, the lake has been affected by human activity for at least 150 years; in the late 1800s land use in the area changed significantly for forestry, agriculture and increased recreational use. Significant changes came between 1873 and 187 with the installation of three dams, which saw the surface area of the lake rise by 21 per cent.

In 1951, the Pat Bay Highway was built, resulting in the disappearance of small, natural drainages around the lake.

The first concerns about water quality were raised in 1968, and by 1972 it was identified as being “highly eutrophic” or high in nutrients, a process that does occur in lakes naturally but which were expedited by human activity.

It was found that approximately 30 per cent of these nutrients come from run-off, groundwater, air particle and external land areas, while the remaining 70 per cent are accumulated in bottom sediment. Between 11 and 29 per cent of phosphorus comes from external sources, including fertilizer, pet waste, septic systems, house cleaners and non-migratory Canadian geese. Additional sources of excessive nutrients include runoff from O’Donnell Creek, Haliburton Brook, Hamsterly Creek, and Linnet Creek.

ALSO READ: CRD, Island Health lift beach advisory at one beach at Elk Lake

The CRD plans on improving rural and urban land management to reduce the phosphorus outputs, with a primary focus on Haliburton, O’Donnell and Hamsterly sub-watersheds, a move which will include contacting landowners within the area to offer advice. This includes limiting fertilizers, picking up pet waste, caring for septic systems and reducing household products high in phosphorus. It also will include stream restoration and working with the Ministry of Transportation to manage watershed function along the highway.

The CRD also plans on working with the provincial and federal governments to reduce goose populations, with tactics such as habitat modification, scaring them and a population control tactic known as “egg addling” – where experts temporarily remove eggs from nests, terminate viable embryos and put the egg back.

Dog walkers and horse riders in the area will be further encouraged to control animal waste.

The CRD is hosting an online survey to get public feedback on its management plan, which will run until Feb. 27. Both the management plan and the survey are available online at crd.bc.ca/project/elk-beaver-lake-initiative.

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com

Like us on Facebook, send a Tweet to @NicoleCrescenzi
and follow us on Instagram

CRDWastewater treatment

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

Just Posted

Killing of Discovery Island wolf was legal, says BC Conservation Service

Takaya was shot and killed by hunters on March 24

Anti-racism rally takes to the streets of downtown Victoria

Vigil for George Floyd planned at B.C. Legislature for 7 p.m.

Pub seeks 55-seat patio on Oak Bay Avenue

Oak Bay invites businesses to expand onto sidewalks, parking spots

B.C. Conservation kills bear in Langford amid growing problem of habituation

Officer demands garbage lockdown for residents in bear territory

PHOTOS: Greater Victoria School District reports 50 per cent of students back in class

Students are on a rotational schedule alternating two days a week

VIDEO: A Vancouver Island black bear takes weekend nap in eagle tree

Videos captured by Terry Eissfeldt shows the bear arriving Saturday night and sleeping in on Sunday

COVID-19 birthday drive-by celebrations snuffed out in Island community

Bylaw officer visit with threats of a fine mean parade trucks taken off the road

Vancouver Island Regional Libraries to offer ‘takeout’ style services

VIRL will offer the service on a branch-by-branch basis

George Floyd asphyxiated by sustained pressure: family autopsy

Death sparked a wave of protests across the U.S. and abroad

COVID-19: B.C. commercial landlords can’t evict if they decline rent assistance

Emergency order ‘incentive’ for federal program, Carole James says

B.C. Hockey League prepping for 2020-21

League reviewing different scenarios and start times in compliance with provincial regulations

Duncan’s Queen Margaret’s School pioneers thermal imaging in school reopening

Private school is first in B.C. to use new tech post-COVID-19

Investigators probe death of CN employee at Surrey rail yard

Transportation Safety Board is investigating an ‘occurrence that took place during switching operations’

Most Read