do you know about the watershed you live in?
North Quadra area lies entirely within the Colquitz
River watershed - a fact that is certainly well hidden
to its residents, since most drainage takes place through
underground pipes. Despite this, we are surrounded by three
relatively well-know lake/wetland areas - Swan Lake to the
south, Blenkinsop Lake (formerly Lost Lake) to the east,
and Rithet's Bog to the north.
areas in the eastern parts of our neighbourhood drain into
Blenkinsop Lake or the creek connecting it to Swan Lake.
This creek runs more or less adjacent to the Lochside Trail,
and only runs through pipes under the Mackenzie/Borden intersection
and under Quadra. There is a little-known tributary that
comes down from the southeast slopes of Christmas Hill,
running through the Saanich Yards, and joining the main
creek right under Mackenzie/Borden.
area north of Christmas Hill drains north into Gabo
Creek (aka Rithet's Creek), a virtually unknown and
ignored waterway, which connects Rithet's
Bog with the Colquitz River.The new weir installed
to control water in the Bog spills into a culvert, and few
people seem to know where the water goes. The other end
of the culvert is in a virtually inaccessible location east
of the Quadra exit ramp off the Pat Bay Highway, and behind
residences on Dieppe Road. The Creek is only visible where
Dieppe turns into Douglas, across from the former Fatt's
poultry plant, where it again enters a culvert heading west
under the highway. There is a trail heading west from Glanford,
leading to the ignominiously named Industrial Buffer Park,
where the creek comes back to light. This connects to Copley
Park, where the creek joins the Colquitz River, which runs
from Elk Lake to the Gorge at Tillicum.
of the water systems are know to have river otters, and
Swan Lake has recently (2004) become home to a beaver. As
wetlands they are extremely important in maintaining may
species if plants and animals!
is an "open ditch" running along the east side
of Douglas, north from Rogers. This is in effect a
intermittent stream tributary of Gabo Creek, and collects
much of the surface run-off from the west-sloping land between
Quadra and the highway, north of Christmas Hill.
wander around our neighbourhood, you'll notice many storm
drains with yellow fish painted beside them. These are a
reminder that the water - and any contaminants - flowing
down those drains end up in the above-mentioned creeks.
These drains tend to be the only visible evidence of or
connection to the watershed we live in, in many ways a sad
symbol of how disconnected we are from the natural world.
you are washing your car in your driveway, or think you
are solving a disposal problem by dumping chemicals or waste
petroleum products down those drains, remember that there
is no "away"! The health of those streams is affected
by your actions!
be wonderful if more people would take note of the sparse
evidence of the watershed that we live in and entry points
to the system. As you go on walks around the neighbourhood,
watch for them. Teachers and parents should draw attention
to the watershed to the young and maybe integrate this knowledge
comments or additions to this article would be welcomed.