Digging up the dirt on Reay Pond

Peninsula Streams plans to sample and study the sediment in Reay Pond

Sediment in Reay Creek Pond outweighs the amount of water flowing through it, says Ian Bruce, and Peninsula Streams want to correct that imbalance.

For the last decade, Peninsula Streams has been working with area residents, the District of North Saanich, the Victoria Airport Authority and other conservation groups to improve the health of the creek and its aquatic wildlife. An ongoing issue for the creek is the amount of sediment in the pond and its potential to do harm to the environment.

In 2006, a disturbance of those sediments caused the release of excessive nutrients into the creek. Bruce, the society’s executive co-ordinator, stated that led to a massive and harmful algal bloom — something Peninsula Streams hopes to avoid in the future.

The society is now proposing to remove a significant amount of sediment from the pond and have sent a letter to residents around it and downstream. It invites them to a meeting tonight (Wednesday, July 17) at 7 p.m. to discuss the condition of the pond and the society’s plans.

“And, myself and Reg Kirkham plan to go door-to-door and let people know,” said Bruce, adding, “you cannot consult enough.”

Peninsula Streams is making extra efforts to inform neighbours of Reay Creek pond about their plans, after residents near Gardner’s Pond in North Saanich reacted unfavourably last month after discovering the society was thinking about installing a berm and other works there.

In the case of Reay Creek, Bruce continued, residents have been aware of Peninsula Streams’ restoration activity for years. Last year, the Airport Authority completed restoration work upstream of the pond, designed to help keep contaminants from flowing into the water course.

Before any work is done, Bruce said they have to test the waters and the sediment. He said they have enlisted the help of a retired scientist who specializes in sediment testing. Core samples will be taken from the pond in September and analyzed for its content — including contaminants. Asked if there are any concerns about what’s in the pond today, Bruce said that’s hard to answer without the right information.

“With all that high-nutrient sediment in there, it’s not a good situation.”

The sampling will also show when the sediment was deposited in the pond.

“Our job is to identify these kinds of things, some up with a possible solution and hopefully get to work.”

The language in Peninsula Streams’ letter to residents is playing it safe, in the was of the communications bungle in North Saanich. In it, they outline plans to do sediment sampling in two months, adding that the results of that work will determine “if removal is warranted or what other strategies may be undertaken.”

More information can be obtained by contacting Peninsula Streams at www.peninsulastreams.ca or calling 250-363-6596.