Elk/Beaver Lake was formed in the 1870’s when a dam was installed at the south end of Beaver Lake to provide a water source for the young city of Victoria. The lakes and its small watershed comprise the headwaters of the Colquitz River which originates at the dam.
Almost the entire Colquitz River watershed is located in the District of Saanich and it has a significant run of over one thousand Coho salmon and a smaller run of Cutthroat trout.
For the last three years we have been the lead volunteer organization in a joint collaboration with an Intergovernmental Steering Committee comprised of the BC government, Capital Regional District (CRD), and District of Saanich Municipality to conduct scientific research to address serious water quality issues at Elk/Beaver Lake Regional Park.
Our club was successful in raising $30,000 from six different sources and mobilizing volunteers from fishing, rowing, and environmental groups, who contributed over 2,000 hours of volunteer labour for water quality sampling and scientific studies. We organized a public forum about the lake with University of Victoria Environmental Law Centre in October 2015, attended by over 200 members of the public. We made presentations to both the Environmental Services and Regional Parks committees of the CRD and toured the Chairs of those committees on the lake to demonstrate the terrible weed and water quality conditions. The BCLSS and Peninsula Streams supported us in these efforts and there was considerable media coverage of the issues.
As a result of our determination and hard work, the CRD invested over $200,000 in a new weed harvester and has hired a half time coordinator, Lisa Rodgers, to chair the Intergovernmental Steering Committee and lead the restoration efforts. In order to reduce toxic blue green algae and increase oxygen – levels aeration technology, possibly combined with an application of Phoslock™, is currently being considered. To implement such measures will require further investments in the lake environment in the $1 – 2 million range. Our club is committed to support such efforts through fundraising and public outreach activities in cooperation with the CRD.
In June 2016 GRR were honoured to receive the Saanich Environmental Award in the group category for our work on the Elk/Beaver Lake Initiative to establish, through sound science, the lake’s water quality, and to research restoration methods.