Colquitz River Watershed


  • As is the case for most of the rural areas of the region, black bears and cougars are occasionally seen in the more remote areas of the watershed. Columbian blacktail deer are common residents throughout.
  • Several bat species are likely residents in the watershed. The three most likely residents are the little brown myotis (Myotis lucifugus), Yuma myotis (Myotis yumanensis) and big brown bat (Eptesicus fuscus). These bats are all small in size and live in large old trees. They feed on insects, especially over and near waterbodies, at the edges of forests, and in clearings.
  • Red squirrels, river otters, voles and mice are also fairly common, along with the introduced eastern grey squirrel.
  • Beaver are resident in certain areas, (e.g. Swan Creek in 2012) although typically in low numbers.


The Colquitz River once supported an abundance and diversity of fish species, including annual runs of several hundred coho and chum salmon. Barriers to fish migration in the upper reaches of the Colquitz (e.g. dams and weirs), habitat degradation and declining water quality (see Concerns) caused these numbers to drop significantly by the early 1990s. Some restoration and enhancement efforts by local stewardship groups and the District of Saanich have helped to increase the number of salmon heading up the river to spawn. This is one of the few remaining salmon spawning runs in the Capital Region.

Fish in the Colquitz River

Common Name Scientific Name Notes
Coho salmon Oncorhynchus keta Native species
Chum salmon Oncorhynchus kisutch Native species
Cutthroat trout Oncorhynchus clarki clarki Native species
Three-spine stickleback Gasterosteus aculeatus Native species
Prickly sculpin Cottus asper Native species
Brown bullhead Ictalurus nebulosus Introduced species
Pumpkinseed Lepomis gibbosus Introduced species
Dolly-Varden char Salvelinus malma Native, extirpated


The tree canopy layer in the Colquitz watershed, although much less extensive than it once was, still includes some mature trees in a variety of habitats. Douglas-fir is common in all except the wettest sites; Garry oak and arbutus are found in dry sites and rocky outcrops; big-leaf maple and red alder are typical in a variety of moisture regimes except the driest; and western redcedar, grand fir and black cottonwood are found in moist to wet sites.

Native species typical of wetland areas include species of sedge and rush; ferns, hardhack (Spiraea douglasii), willow (Salix spp), red-osier dogwood (Cornus stolonifera) and salmonberry (Rubus spectabilis).  

Some of the native plant species in the Colquitz River watershed:

Native Plants Species Common Name Scientific Name
Trees Douglas fir Pseudotsuga menziesii
Western red cedar Thuja plicata
Grand fir Abies grandis
Big leaf maple Acer macrophyllum
Arbutus Arbutus menziesii
Black cottonwood Populus balsamifera ssp. trichocarpa
Red alder Alnus rubra
Willow Salix spp
Shrubs Common snowberry Symphoricarpos albus
Oceanspray Holodiscus discolor
Salal Gaultheria shallon
Oregon grape Mahonia spp
Nootka rose Rosa nutkana
Indian plum Oemleria cerasiformis
Hardhack Spiraea douglasii ssp douglasii
Red osier dogwood Cornus stolonifera
Black hawthorn Cretaegus douglasii
Salmonberry Rubus spectabilis
Herbaceous plants Skunk cabbage Lysichiton americanum
Lady fern Athyrium filix-femina
Sword fern Polystichum munitum
Bracken fern Pteridium aquilinum
Sedges Carex spp
Rushes Juncus spp

Colquitz River Environment



Emergency Contacts

Emergency Management of BC 1.800.663.3456
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