Saanich resident Dorothy Chambers spotted a blue-green algae bloom at Beaver Lake. (File contributed/Dorothy Chambers)

CRD seeks feedback on Elk/Beaver Lake management plan in effort to reduce algae blooms

Tactics include creek management, goose population control

The Capital Regional District (CRD) is looking for public feedback on its upcoming lake watershed management plan for Elk and Beaver Lake.

For decades the lake has been affected by external factors, resulting in poor water quality, frequent algae blooms, invasive plant growth and poor habitat for the native wildlife.

The CRD has worked with many partners to come up with a remediation process in a two-part approach: an in-lake remediation plan, which will look to reduce high levels of nutrients in the water, and a watershed management plan to address external sources of the nutrients which come in from local land use, both urban and agricultural.

READ MORE: CRD looks to deal with deteriorating water quality of Elk/Beaver Lake in Saanich

According to a CRD report, the lake has been affected by human activity for at least 150 years; in the late 1800s land use in the area changed significantly for forestry, agriculture and increased recreational use. Significant changes came between 1873 and 187 with the installation of three dams, which saw the surface area of the lake rise by 21 per cent.

In 1951, the Pat Bay Highway was built, resulting in the disappearance of small, natural drainages around the lake.

The first concerns about water quality were raised in 1968, and by 1972 it was identified as being “highly eutrophic” or high in nutrients, a process that does occur in lakes naturally but which were expedited by human activity.

It was found that approximately 30 per cent of these nutrients come from run-off, groundwater, air particle and external land areas, while the remaining 70 per cent are accumulated in bottom sediment. Between 11 and 29 per cent of phosphorus comes from external sources, including fertilizer, pet waste, septic systems, house cleaners and non-migratory Canadian geese. Additional sources of excessive nutrients include runoff from O’Donnell Creek, Haliburton Brook, Hamsterly Creek, and Linnet Creek.

ALSO READ: CRD, Island Health lift beach advisory at one beach at Elk Lake

The CRD plans on improving rural and urban land management to reduce the phosphorus outputs, with a primary focus on Haliburton, O’Donnell and Hamsterly sub-watersheds, a move which will include contacting landowners within the area to offer advice. This includes limiting fertilizers, picking up pet waste, caring for septic systems and reducing household products high in phosphorus. It also will include stream restoration and working with the Ministry of Transportation to manage watershed function along the highway.

The CRD also plans on working with the provincial and federal governments to reduce goose populations, with tactics such as habitat modification, scaring them and a population control tactic known as “egg addling” – where experts temporarily remove eggs from nests, terminate viable embryos and put the egg back.

Dog walkers and horse riders in the area will be further encouraged to control animal waste.

The CRD is hosting an online survey to get public feedback on its management plan, which will run until Feb. 27. Both the management plan and the survey are available online at crd.bc.ca/project/elk-beaver-lake-initiative.

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com

Like us on Facebook, send a Tweet to @NicoleCrescenzi
and follow us on Instagram

CRDWastewater treatment

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Shawn Magnus of Sidney Courier has partnered with Sidney Business Improvement Area Society for free commercial delivery for society members. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Sidney business association partners with courier for free commercial delivery

Service started Oct. 26 and extends to a radius of 35 kilometres

The Starbucks at 3849 Cadboro Bay Rd. closed permanently on Sunday, Oct. 25. (Google Maps)
Cadboro Bay Starbucks closes despite petition signed by nearly 250 residents

Closure part of transition to more drive-thru locations, Starbucks spokesperson says

The iconic and well-loved live music venue Logan’s is permanently closing its doors due to impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Google Maps)
Fernwood pub Logan’s permanently closing its doors

Live music venue unable to weather COVID-19 storm

Panthers’ Captain Tanner Wort faces Tory McClintick of the Victoria Cougars during Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League action Friday night at Panorama Recreation Centre. The Panthers lost 3-0, then lost 7-2 Sunday. (Gordon Lee/Submitted)
Peninsula Panthers’ losing streak reaches four games as injuries mount

Injuries have especially hurt the team’s backline with only four defenders available

Leila Bui with her parents Tuan Bui (left) and Kairry Nguyen at the end of the trial that found Tanessa Nikirk guilty of dangerous driving causing bodily harm. Nikirk is back in court for her sentencing hearing. (Black Press file photo)
UPDATED: Court hears letter from driver convicted of hitting Saanich girl

Leila Bui has been in a non-responsive state since she was hit in 2017

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry arrives for briefing on the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020 (B.C. government)
B.C. records 217 more COVID-19 cases, mask use urged

Infection spike continues, 21 senior facilities affected

Los Angeles Dodgers celebrate after defeating the Tampa Bay Rays 3-1 to win the baseball World Series in Game 6 Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
L.A. Dodgers beat Rays 3-1 to win 1st World Series title since 1988

National League champs claim crown in six games

Seven-year-old Aaliyah Rosa was found dead in an apartment in Langley in July. (Langley Advance Times files)
Child’s body cold, no pulse: Off-duty cop testifies in Langley mother’s murder trial

The seven-year-old girl’s mother faces a first-degree murder charge

A picture of John taken at Children’s Hospital Vancouver last week. Photo courtesy, Alicia Sewid.
RCMP investigating after young boy run over by SUV in Campbell River parking lot

The seven-year-old has multiple injuries including a broken pelvis and was admitted to Children’s Hospital in Vancouver

People march during a climate strike in Montreal, Friday, Sept. 27, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Judge rejects 15 youths’ climate change lawsuit against Canadian government

Justice Michael Manson has granted the government’s motion to strike the plaintiffs’ claim

A video message from Mrime Minister Justin Trudeau was streamed to attendees at the State of the Island Economic Summit on Tuesday morning. (Vancouver Island Economic Alliance image)
Prime minister greets Vancouver Island economic summit attendees

Vancouver Island Economic Alliance conference being held virtually this week

A woman walks through check in at WestJet at Pearson International airport during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Strong support for pre-flight COVID testing ahead of upcoming WestJet trial: YVR

Airport is partnering with UBC, which is helping choose the method of pre-flight testing

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau provides an update on the COVID pandemic during a press conference in Ottawa on Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Trudeau says pandemic ‘really sucks,’ and that Christmas gatherings are up in the air

The prime minister encouraged residents to continue to follow the advice of local health authorities

Most Read