Elk and Beaver Lake Park suffering from nutrient build up, Saanich staff and council to address the problem. (Christine van Reeuwyk/News Staff)

Elk and Beaver Lake Park suffering from nutrient build up, Saanich staff and council to address the problem. (Christine van Reeuwyk/News Staff)

District of Saanich to play leading role in cleaning up water at Elk/Beaver Lake

Delicate health of ecosystem declining, increased human activity in the Colquitz watershed blamed

Saanich council wants to see water quality improved at Elk/Beaver Lake where the delicate ecosystem is suffering from nutrient buildup.

At a July 12 special council meeting, a unanimous decision determined that plans will move forward to improve the poor quality of the water at the regional park.

The ecosystem is in trouble as a result of increased human activity in the Colquitz River watershed. According to a report by Saanich staff, the water quality has deteriorated in the lake because nutrients – primarily phosphorus – have accumulated from the surrounding watershed due to agricultural and residential activities.

In February 2020, the CRD released a draft plan titled Elk/Beaver Lake Watershed Management Plan that focused on external sources of nutrient pollution to be complemented by an in-lake remediation plan.

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However, at the July 12 Saanich council meeting, council and staff agreed it will be up to Saanich to take a leadership role in this initiative.

“It’ll take all of us to bring this watershed and lake back to health,” said Coun. Judy Brownoff, adding that residents and park users must also play a role.

Some of the solutions proposed by Saanich staff to improve the problem are to address rural and urban land management practices, to ensure proper function of septic and sewage systems to reduce phosphorus, and restoration of stream and watershed function.


Do you have a story tip? Email: megan.atkinsbaker@saanichnews.com.

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