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

Petition aims to stop handyDART facility from being built in View Royal

‘Save Craigflower Creek’ has gathered over 1,000 signatures within a week

Coast Capital Savings in Saanich to re-open after COVID-19 scare

The branch closed ‘out of an abundance of caution’

Court hears of moments before Victoria father stabbed to death in the middle of Hillside Avenue

Sentencing hearing for Daniel Creagh, charged with manslaughter, began Friday

Saanich launches new tool to help residents learn about the budget

Tool launch will coincide with the Mar. 3 budget meeting

Nominations for Victoria municipal byelection are in

Victoria will elect one councillor

Two law enforcement trucks ‘deliberately’ set on fire in northern B.C., RCMP say

Police say they have video evidence of a person in the area of the truck fires

B.C. mother, daughter return home after coronavirus quarantine in Asia

Jensine Morabito and her daughter were on Holland America’s Westerdam but did not catch the virus

Leap Year means we get an extra day in February, so how are you spending it?

People online have a number of suggestions and plans on how they will be spending Saturday

Greta sticker that drew outrage in Alberta not child pornography: RCMP

X-Site Energy Services has denied having anything to do with the stickers

Bald eagle hit by train in northern B.C. has a chance of survival

The raptor has been taken to OWL in the Lower Mainland for recovery

Cheslatta Carrier Nation and Rio Tinto sign a historic agreement

Co-operation crucial to stem dropping Nechako Reservoir level

Stories of sexual assault at B.C. tree planting camps ‘shocking but not surprising:’ advocate

Contractors’ association is working with trainers to create respectful culture

Lawyer gets house arrest for possessing child porn

Maple Ridge resident gets nine-month term

Most Read