The many resources of the Colquitz River watershed have been valued for thousands of years by the Coast Salish First Nations people. The salmon and other fish, birds and mammals, trees and other plants of this large watershed provided food, medicines and other resources for people living in the region.

Soon after European settlement, a dam was constructed in 1860 at the outlet of Beaver Lake to store water for a saw mill operation nearby. Starting in the early 1870s, several more dams were constructed on Beaver Lake to provide a drinking water supply for Victoria. This resulted in Elk and Beaver lakes being effectively joined as a single water body, as they still are today.

As more farms became established in the area, the creek supplied water for crop irrigation and livestock. Several industries and commercial operations adjacent to the Colquitz also used significant amounts of water. Early residents valued the Colquitz for the excellent swimming holes and trout fishing along its banks. Until the mid-1950s many people regularly fished all along the length of the Colquitz right up to the dam at Beaver Lake. Cutthroat trout were the main target, as well as the salmon during the fall spawning run.

In 1967, the District of Saanich began a long-range project to acquire land along the Colquitz, and construct a trail to eventually join Elk/Beaver Lake to Portage Inlet. When complete, this trail will be about 25km long. Many sections are now complete, and thousands of people walk and cycle next to this urban creek. Riparian vegetation is being restored in some sections, and in 2012 the CRD installed a flow meter in the creek to monitor water flow and other parameters such as temperature, pH, and turbidity.

Additional Information:

Colquitz River Environment



Emergency Contacts

Emergency Management of BC 1.800.663.3456
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