In a decade, the Peninsula Streams Society has achieved a lot.
The group of mostly volunteers has toiled to bring Hagan Creek back to a salmon habitat, fostered a water quality testing program with Tseycum First Nation and taught hundreds of kids in grades 3 and 6 about protecting watershed ecosystems.
“Things don’t look after themselves. We have to be stewards and advocates for the environment and it’s so much better if the people who live in that neighbourhood take that watershed under their care,” said Ian Bruce, Peninsula Streams’ executive co-ordinator.
On Saturday, July 14, the society celebrated its 10th anniversary with cake, a nature walk and music by Water in the Crawl Space. MP Elizabeth May attended, as well as representatives from Saanich, Central Saanich, North Saanich and Sidney councils. Peninsula Streams was born from four groups that all sought to protect waterways from Saanich to Lands End. Since then, it has produced about 12 offshoots, each with a mandate to protect a certain stream or to tackle a specific environmental hazard.
The society’s goal is “to restore streams and the areas alongside streams to their original and natural conditions,” said Newton Hockey, the society’s chairman. “A lot of farms over the years have built straight ditches and it has changed the landscape altogether and removed habitat. What we will do, we will make a winding stream with riffles so they [it] flow and put in gravel for salmon or trout to spawn, we plant trees to create shade. And we get schoolchildren involved in doing this, Deep Cove school particularly.”
In the coming months and years, Peninsula Streams hopes to increase awareness of its activities in hopes of attracting more funding to keep their work running.
“People should care because the if watersheds, the local environment is healthy, then it’s a reflection on the community,” said Bruce. “If you live in a degraded environment, your community’s not going to be healthy in so many different ways.”
For more information on Peninsula Streams or to get involved, visit peninsulastreams.ca.
The summer for Peninsula Streams:
• channel reconstruction work in Adam Kerr park
• restoring the Waterhouse property at Hagan Creek
• rebuilding habitat at Swan Creek in Saanich, which was hit by a serious oil spill earlier this year
• making the Tetayut Creek culvert under the Pat Bay Highway passable for fish