Elk/Beaver Lake is a significant natural asset and is the most heavily-used regional park.
Water quality issues at Elk/Beaver Lake were identified in the 1960s and water quality continues to decline, having significant impacts on the environment, social, cultural and recreation values of the lake and surrounding park.
In response to declining water quality, an Intergovernmental Working Group (IWG) was formed to discuss the lake system and develop a strategy to improve water quality. Membership of this group include the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, Island Health, the CRD, and the District of Saanich. Communications and collaboration with local interested groups, lake users and stakeholders are ongoing.
At the direction of the CRD Board, staff formed the Elk/Beaver Lake Initiative (EBLI) in 2016 to chair and coordinate actions with the IWG, and local government and interest groups that would reduce the frequency and toxicity of cyanobacteria, improve fish habitat, manage invasive weed growth and ensure continued recreational use of the lakes.
The primary cause of these issues are high nutrient levels in Elk/Beaver Lake.
This initiative aims to address the source of the issue through the development of two plans:
- The in-lake remediation plan will address internal sources of nutrients (in lake sediments), guided by expert consultants and project partners
- The watershed management plan will address external sources of nutrients in the watershed, guided by public consultation