An ambitious five-year plan to restore the salmon habitat in Mount Douglas Creek is nearing completion.
The work underway this week aims to protect the water quality, restore spawning beds and protect the creek banks along an approximately 300-metre stretch of the creek that meanders through Mount Douglas Park, explained Darrell Wick, president of the Friends of Douglas Park.
Workers have dammed off part of the creek in a 100-meter section and pumped the water to a location that affords better protection of water quality while the work is underway, The work was necessitated by the significant increase of urbanization in Gordon Head in the 1980s. Rainwater historically was absorbed into the ground in forested and farmed areas, but the addition of streets, driveways and rooftops no longer allowed a large amount of that water to sink in, Wick noted.
“The engineering solution at the time was to get the rainwater into pipes as soon as possible,” Wick said. “That caused huge storm surges in Mount Douglas Creek that washed out the salmon spawning beds and eroded the banks.”
The work underway by District of Saanich crews is best completed during the summer when water levels are low. Restoration work for this year was made possible by a $10,000 grant from the Pacific Salmon Foundation, Wick said.
Promoting rain gardens, street swales and downspout disconnects will also help mitigate further surges and protect the creek, Wick added.
“The first four years of work have been very successful,” Wick said. “We’ve seen salmon returning each year.”
The Friends of Mount Douglas Park are planning to restore native plants and trees in November and are looking for volunteers to help with the work.
“The goal is to keep the park as natural as possible,” Wick said.
For more information, hike over to mountdouglaspark.ca.